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A credit rating is used to categorise customers in very broad terms of their creditworthiness. 1 star reflects a very weak credit score, and is often referred to as 'sub prime'. A 5 star credit rating applies to those with a very low risk of defaulting. Most people fall in the 3 star credit rating category- the average.
Your credit score is your credit report boiled down to one number. A credit score is a statistical measure of your creditworthiness, on a range of 0-1000 where 0 is awful and 1000 is excellent. The average credit score is 750 out of 1000.
In simple terms, your credit score directly relates to the probability that you will successfully maintain the credit that you are applying for.
To be competitive on interest rates, a lender is likely to need to know how much risk they are taking on, so will only lend to customers who score more than a certain credit score - known as a 'cut off score'. They will automatically accept those applicants who have credit scores in excess of their determined cut-off score, and will decline all others.
Different lenders have different cut-off scores, and can vary them depending on how hungry they are for new business, and how much risk they are prepared to take.
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