Credit score is a number that lenders use to determine the risk of lending you money. It is used primarily by credit card companies, mortgage bankers, and auto dealerships; however, insurance companies, landlords, and even employers may want to look at your credit score to see how financially responsible you are.

There are numerous factors that affect your credit score. The following are the main four:
1. Payment history. Paying all your bills on time is the best way to make this look good. If that hasn't been the case, lenders will want to see how late you were on paying them. Charge offs, debt settlements, bankruptcies, foreclosures, and suits are usually red flags.
2. Amount owned. How much of your total available credit is being used? How much do you owe on specific types of accounts? Credit software companies like to see that you have a mix of different credit types and that you manage them all responsibly without taking on a huge amount of debt.
3. Length of credit history. The longer the better, if it isn't marred by late payments and other negative items; but a short history is okay too as long as you've made your payments on time and don't owe a great amount.
4. New credit. How many new accounts do you have? Too many is usually interpreted as a sign that you are planning to take on lots of debt or are experiencing cash flow problems and may deter lenders from granting you a loan.

If you meet the minimum income requirement for a loan or have sufficient credit, you'll be able to finance a loan on your own without the need for a co-signer. However, if the lender believes that granting you a loan presents too high of a risk, it may request that a co-signer assume responsibility for you in the event that you can't pay off the debt yourself.