Credit Score

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What is a 'Credit Score'

A credit score is a statistically derived numeric expression of a person's creditworthiness that is used by lenders to access the likelihood that a person will repay his or her debts. A credit score is based on, among other things, a person's past credit history. It is a number between 300 and 850 - the higher the number, the more creditworthy the person is deemed to be.

BREAKING DOWN 'Credit Score'

A FICO score is the most widely used credit scoring system. FICO is an acronym for Fair Isaac Corporation, the company that provides the credit score model to financial institutions. There are other providers of credit scoring systems as well. Consumers can typically keep their credit scores high by maintaining a long history of always paying their bills on time and not having too much debt.

A credit score plays a large role in a lender's decision to extend credit and under what terms. For example, borrowers with a credit score that is under 600 will be unable to receive a prime mortgage and will typically need to go to a subprime lender for a subprime mortgage, which will typically have a higher interest rate.

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