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Before lenders make the decision to lend you money, they must know if you are willing and able to repay that loan. To assess your ability to repay, they assess your income and debt ratio. To assess your willingness to repay, they use your credit score.
Fair Isaac and Company developed the original FICO score to assess creditworthiness. We've written more about FICO here.
Credit scores only consider the information contained in your credit profile. They don't take into account income, savings, down payment amount, or demographic factors like gender, race, nationality or marital status. These scores were invented specifically for this reason. Credit scoring was developed to assess a borrower's willingness to repay the loan while specifically excluding other demographic factors.
Your current debt level, past late payments, length of your credit history, and other factors are considered. Your score is calculated with both positive and negative information in your credit report. Late payments will lower your credit score, but consistently making future payments on time will improve your score.
To get a credit score, borrowers must have an active credit account with six months of payment history. This history ensures that there is enough information in your report to generate an accurate score. If you don't meet the criteria for getting a score, you might need to establish a credit history before you apply for a mortgage.