What is a credit score?

A credit score is a three-digit number that the various credit bureaus use to rank your credit worthiness. It takes into account all of the information in your credit report – things like late payments, for example – compares you to other borrowers, and tries to predict how likely you are to default on a loan. The higher the score, the less of a “risk” the credit bureau thinks you represent to lenders who might want to offer you a loan or credit card.

Credit scores may differ from one source to the next because different lenders use different credit scoring models. And your score can go up if, for example, you pay off debt. It can also go down if, for example, you’re using too much of your available credit or don’t pay some of your bills on time.