A Score that Really Matters: Your Credit Score

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Before lenders decide to give you a loan, they have to know that you're willing and able to repay that loan. To assess your ability to pay back the loan, lenders look at your debt-to-income ratio. To calculate your willingness to repay the mortgage loan, they look at your credit score.

The most widely used credit scores are FICO scores, which were developed by Fair Isaac & Company, Inc. The FICO score ranges from 350 (very high risk) to 850 (low risk). For details on FICO, read more here.

Your credit score comes from your history of repayment. They don't consider income or personal characteristics. Fair Isaac invented FICO specifically to exclude demographic factors. "Profiling" was as bad a word when FICO scores were first invented as it is in the present day. Credit scoring was developed as a way to consider only that which was relevant to a borrower's willingness to pay back the lender.

Your current debt level, past late payments, length of your credit history, and other factors are considered. Your score is calculated from the good and the bad of your credit report. Late payments count against your score, but a record of paying on time will improve it.

Your credit report should have at least one account which has been open for six months or more, and at least one account that has been updated in the past six months for you to get a credit score. This payment history ensures that there is sufficient information in your report to assign a score. Some people don't have a long enough credit history to get a credit score. They may need to build up a credit history before they apply.

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