A credit rating evaluates the credit worthiness of an issuer of specific types of debt, specifically, debt issued by a business enterprise such as a corporation or a government. It is an evaluation made by credit rating agency of the debt issuer’s likelihood of default. Credit ratings are determined by credit ratings agencies. The credit rating represents the credit rating agency's evaluation of qualitative and quantitative information for a company or government; including non-public information obtained by the credit rating agencies analysts. Credit ratings are not based on mathematical formulas. Instead, credit rating agencies use their judgment and experience in determining what public and private information should be considered in giving a rating to a particular company or government. The credit rating is used by individuals and entities that purchase the bonds issued by companies and governments to determine the likelihood that the government will pay its bond obligations.
Credit ratings are often confused with credit scores. Credit scores are the output of mathematical algorithms that assign numerical values to information in an individual’s credit report. The credit report contains information regarding the financial history and current assets and liabilities of an individual. A bank or credit card company will use the credit score to estimate the probability that the individual will pay back loan or will pay back charges on a credit card. However, in recent years, credit scores have also been used to adjust insurance premiums, determine employment eligibility, as a factor considered in obtaining security clearances and establish the amount of a utility or leasing deposit.
A poor credit rating indicates a credit rating agency's opinion that the company or government has a high risk of defaulting, based on the agency's analysis of the entity's history and analysis of long term economic prospects. A poor credit score indicates that in the past, other individuals with similar credit reports defaulted on loans at a high rate. The credit score does not take into account future prospects or changed circumstances. For example, if an individual received a credit score of 400 on Monday because he had a history of defaults, and then won the Powerball on Tuesday, his credit score would remain 400 on Tuesday because his credit report does not take into account his improved future prospects.
An individual's credit score, along with his credit report, affects his or her ability to borrow money through financial institutions such as banks
The factors that may influence a person's credit score are:
ability to pay a loan
amount of credit used
In different parts of the world different personal credit score systems exist.