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Before deciding on what terms they will offer you a loan, lenders need to discover two things about you: whether you can repay the loan, and how committed you are to repay the loan. To assess whether you can repay, they assess your income and debt ratio. To assess your willingness to repay, they use your credit score.
Fair Isaac and Company formulated the original FICO score to help lenders assess creditworthiness. We've written a lot more about FICO here.
Credit scores only take into account the info in your credit reports. They don't consider income, savings, down payment amount, or factors like sex ethnicity, national origin or marital status. These scores were invented specifically for this reason. "Profiling" was as bad a word when these scores were first invented as it is in the present day. Credit scoring was developed to assess a borrower's willingness to pay without considering other irrelevant factors.
Past delinquencies, payment behavior, current debt level, length of credit history, types of credit and number of credit inquiries are all calculated into credit scores. Your score reflects both the good and the bad of your credit history. Late payments count against your score, but a record of paying on time will improve it.
To get a credit score, borrowers must have an active credit account with a payment history of six months. This payment history ensures that there is enough information in your report to build an accurate score. Should you not meet the minimum criteria for getting a credit score, you may need to work on a credit history before you apply for a mortgage loan.