Sign up for your free Credit.com account    Sign Up Now
From the Experts at Credit.com

What is a Good Credit Score?

August 8, 2013 by Gerri Detweiler

What is a good credit score?

A good credit score is what each of us aspires to. After all, a credit score is one of the important determining factors when it comes to borrowing money - and getting a low rate when you do.

But trying to pin down a specific number that means your credit score is "good" can be tricky. When it comes to figuring out what makes a good credit score, there are a few different schools of thought.

Credit Score Range

Most credit scores - including the FICO score and the latest version of the VantageScore - operate within the range of 301 to 850. Within that range, there are different categories, from bad to excellent.

  • Excellent Credit: 750+
  • Good Credit: 700-749
  • Fair Credit: 650-699
  • Poor Credit: 600-649
  • Bad Credit: below 599

But even these aren't set in stone. That's because lenders all have their own definitions of what is a good credit score. One lender that is looking to approve more borrowers might approve applicants with credit scores of 680 or higher. Another might be more selective and only approve those with scores of 750 or higher. Or both lenders might offer credit to anyone with a score of at least 650, but charge consumers with scores below 700 a higher interest rate!

What's Your Score?

Don't assume your score is good (or isn't) just because you have always paid your bills on time (or haven't.) The only way to know whether you have a good credit score is to check. You can get your credit score free once a month using Credit.com's Credit Report Card. This is a truly free credit score - no payment information is requested. In addition to the number, you'll see a breakdown of the factors that affect your score and get recommendations for making your credit as strong as possible.

How are credit scores generated?

Credit scores are computed based on mathematical models that interpret and analyze information in your credit reports. Credit scores compare factors like payment history, debt levels and the age of credit accounts to figure out what consumers who pay their bills on time have in common. The goal is to predict now new and existing customers will handle credit.

Ultimately, then a credit score summarizes the information in your credit report, which makes it easier and faster for a lender to process a loan application and make a determination as to how likely you are to pay back the loan in question.

The Benefits of a Good Credit Score

A good credit score will help you borrow money for a car or home, or open a credit card with a comparatively lower interest rate. That means you will pay less over time for the money. Get your free credit score and Credit Report Card now.

Consider this: if you're buying a $300,000 house with a 30 year fixed mortgage, and you have bad credit, then you could end up paying more than $90,000 more for that house over the life of the loan than if you had good credit.

So, in the end, it really pays to have good credit.


Sign up for your free Credit.com account. Learn More

Meet Our Experts

Gerri Detweiler Gerri Detweiler is Credit.com's Director of Consumer Education. She focuses on helping people understand their credit and debt, and writes about those issues, as well as financial legislation, budgeting, debt recovery and savings strategies. She is also the co-author of Debt Collection Answers: How to Use Debt Collection Laws to Protect Your Rights, and Reduce Stress: Real-Life Solutions for Solving Your Credit Crisis as well as host of TalkCreditRadio.com.

Recommended links