For a three-digit number, a credit score carries a lot of weight. Lenders, credit card issuers, and others use your credit score to decide your credit risk— if you’re worthy of a credit card, loan, or apartment. Although several credit scoring models are used to determine credit scores, most creditors use the FICO® Score. What is considered a good FICO Score? Keep reading to learn about FICO Score credit score ranges and how to tell if you have a good credit score.
What Is a Good FICO® Score?
A credit scoring model is software that analyzes information in your credit report to come up with a three-digit credit score. This number reflects how likely you are to default on debt. FICO has several different credit scoring models. There are “base” FICO Scores for general use and industry-specific scores used by creditors in industries such as auto financing, mortgage financing, and credit card companies.
Experian Free Credit Score
As with any software, new versions of credit scoring models are released from time to time. The most common version of the base FICO Score model is FICO Score 8. However, there are also two newer models: FICO Score 9 and the FICO Score 10 Suite.
Base FICO® Scores can range from 300 to 850. A “good” FICO Score falls within the 670 to 739 range.
What Is a Good VantageScore?
VantageScore is another credit scoring model that’s less widely used than FICO Scores. The two credit scoring models weigh information in your credit report slightly differently. For example, the most important factors in your VantageScore credit score are your total credit usage (your current credit balance and available credit), credit mix, and credit experience. The most important factor in your FICO Score is your payment history.
The most recent VantageScore credit scoring models, VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0, use a credit score range of 300 to 850. A “good” VantageScore falls within the 661 to 780 range.
Credit Score Ranges
Credit score ranges vary depending on the credit scoring model used. Therefore, depending on the model you will have different credit scores and what may be considered a good credit score range. Here are the credit score ranges for the base FICO Score and the VantageScore.
What is a Bad Credit Score?
There’s no specific credit score range designated “bad.” In general, however, a score in the “fair,” “poor,” or “very poor” range isn’t good. Such scores can make it harder to get approved for credit, get a loan or rent an apartment. If you do qualify for credit cards or loans, you’ll generally pay higher interest rates. A FICO Score of 669 or less or a VantageScore of 660 or less can be considered “bad.”
What is a Poor Credit Score?
- A FICO Score of 300 to 579 is considered poor.
- A VantageScore of 500 to 600 is considered poor; a score of 300 to 499 is considered very poor.
What is a Good Credit Score?
- A FICO Score of 670 to 739 is considered good; a score of 740 to 799 is considered very good.
- A VantageScore of 661 to 780 is considered good.
Experian Free Credit Score
What is an Excellent Credit Score?
- A FICO Score of 800 to 850 is considered exceptional.
- A VantageScore of 781 to 850 is considered excellent.
What is a Fair Credit Score?
- A FICO Score of 580 to 669 is considered fair.
- A VantageScore of 601 to 660 is considered fair.
How Can You Check Your Credit Score?
You can get your free base FICO® Score from a variety of sources. Your bank, credit card company, or credit union may offer access through the FICO® Score Open Access program. You can also check your credit score for free at Experian‘s website.
In addition to checking your credit score, you should review your credit report at least once a year. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com or check your Experian credit report at Experian’s website. If you discover missing or inaccurate information in your credit report, file a dispute with the relevant credit bureau to have information added or corrected.
What Affects Your Credit Score?
No matter what type of credit scoring model is used, all credit scores take five key factors into account.
- Payment history: Do you make your payments on time, or do you have a history of late payments, missed payments, or accounts in collections?
- Credit utilization: Revolving credit (such as credit cards) allows you to carry a balance from one month to the next. Using too much of your available revolving credit will negatively affect your credit score, as it may signal that you are struggling financially. Therefore, having a low utilization rate can help your credit scores.
- Length of your credit history: Credit scoring models consider the average age of all your credit accounts and the age of your oldest and newest accounts so the length of credit history is a factor to consider. The longer you’ve had credit, the more beneficial to your credit score.
- Credit mix: Having both revolving credit and installment credit (such as auto or student loans) can boost your credit score.
- Recent credit activity: Applying for new credit or opening new accounts generates a “hard inquiry” on your credit. Even one hard inquiry can cause a slight dip in your credit scores; several hard inquiries may cause a more significant drop. Applying for a lot of credit at once may indicate to lenders that you’re in financial trouble.
How Can You Improve Your Credit Scores?
Assuming your credit report is accurate, here are some things you can do to help you with building credit and ultimately improve your credit score.
- Pay your bills on time: Bring any past due accounts current. Going forward, be sure to make all your monthly payments on time. Set up auto-pay if you have trouble remembering due dates.
- Pay down revolving credit: If you have high credit card balances, pay them off. Aim to carry balances of no more than 30% of your available credit limit; better yet, don’t carry a balance at all.
- Avoid applying for new credit: When you apply for credit cards or loans, the resulting hard inquiry into your credit report can cause your credit score to drop.
FAQs About FICO Score
A FICO Score in the range of 670 to 739 is considered good. According to Experian data, the average FICO Score in the U.S. is currently 711, which means the average American has good credit.
You generally need a FICO Score of 620 or higher to qualify for a conventional mortgage loan. (You can get some government-backed mortgages with lower FICO Scores.) However, higher scores can qualify you for lower interest rates, saving thousands of dollars over the life of your home loan. According to Experian, the average FICO® Score among Americans with a home loan is currently 753.
FICO Score 9 is a credit scoring model released in 2014. Key differences from previous FICO Score versions include:
Third-party collections won’t negatively affect your credit score after they are paid off.
Unpaid medical debt has a less negative impact on your credit score.
Any rental payments your landlord reports to credit bureaus will be factored into your credit score.
A FICO Score of 669 or less or a VantageScore of 660 or less can be considered “bad.” However, technically these scores are designated as “fair,” “poor,” or “very poor,” depending on the specific score ranges and the credit scoring models
Most mortgage lenders use older FICO Score credit scoring models and pull data from all three credit bureaus for your credit scores. Typically, home lenders will use your FICO Score 2 based on Experian data, FICO Score 5 based on Equifax data, and FICO Score 4 based on TransUnion data.