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From the Experts at Credit.com

What is a Good Credit Score?

by Gerri Detweiler

A good credit score can save you money by lowering interest rates. Learn what is considered to be a good credit score number from the experts at Credit.com

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.

The Credit Score Range Scale

There are many different credit scores available to lenders, and they each develop their own credit score range. Why is that important? Because if you get your credit score, you need to know the credit score range you are looking at so you understand where your number fits in.

The Credit Score Range Using Various Scoring Models:

  • FICO Score range: 300-850
  • VantageScore 3.0 range: 300–850
  • VantageScore scale (versions 1.0 and 2.0): 501–990
  • PLUS Score: 330-830
  • TransRisk Score: 100-900
  • Equifax Credit Score: 280–850

With all of the scores listed above, the higher the number the lower the risk. That means consumers with higher scores are more likely to get approved for credit, and to get the best interest rates when they do. And they are more likely to get discounts on insurance. What is considered a “high” score depends on what type of score is being used.

If your FICO score is 840, for example, you’re just 10 points shy of the highest score possible and your credit is “superprime.” But if you have an 840 VantageScore (using version 2.0), it’s not as spectacular because you’re 150 points away from the highest possible score.

How Do I Rate?

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.

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  • Excellent Credit: 781 – 850
  • Good Credit: 661-780
  • Fair Credit: 601-660
  • Poor Credit: 501-600
  • Bad Credit: below 500

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 at Credit.com. 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 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 how 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.

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 understand your credit scores and to make them as strong as possible.


  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I know some of these score factors can seem very frustrating. First of all, it sounds like you are on the right track in terms of getting your credit together after your divorce. So congratulations for that.

    What are your grades for the other factors that make up your score such as mix of credit and inquiries? (You can find out here: get your free credit score). Debt ratio sounds pretty good but if it’s your utilization ratio then bringing it down a bit further might help, depending on the scoring model being used.

    As far as the “age of credit” factor goes, the only thing you could possibly do there is to piggyback on someone else’s card with a long credit history, but even then it’s not certain that you’d see an increase (especially if that person wasn’t a relative at your same address). And that strategy has risks – if they pay late your credit can suffer.

    I am not sure which scoring model you are looking at, but it certainly sounds as if you continue on the track you are on you should definitely see improvement over time.

    • FLBiker77

      Sounds like a good idea but doesn’t work so well. My score is 742 because of lack of credit! I had the income, etc. but thought paying for everything was the smartest thing I could do. Boy was I wrong. I had amex and a couple of cap one cards. Amex is 36 yrs old. Well, I seen how all of the big credit companies wanted people with many credit cards, diverse credit, and high CL’s. So I went out and got a several good cc’s with high limits. Charged them carefully for Christmas and will pay them off in January. The 36 yr history combined with the new cc’s brought my overall cc history down to just under 4 yrs! But I now have a great mix of credit (all but a student loan), many cc’s with high limits (using responsibly), and feel like all I need to to is rotate my cards and pay in full and hope to see a score as close to 850 as I can get. I will try try to always keep a mtg payment, car payment, etc. It seems they want to see us in debt & managing it well. And yes, it appears income does play a role in this as well. But I have seen some students with 18K incomes and very high CL’s & ficos.

  • CR

    Actually you’re just off the mark in some areas. I have a 8 year history with no loans just 3 credit cards the newest of which is about 4 years old and 1 credit unquiry for a utility recently. My score is is between 780 and 810 (depending upon the credit agency). I would suggest a few things, first get your debt ratio down to about 15% (under 20%) that makes a big difference. Second try not to use all your credit cards, limit the use to one credit card or maybe 2. (this also helps your auto insurance score). Third never let your debit limit per month cross 20% to get top notch scores. I pay off my card mid month if I’ve made some large purchases. With this you should see a good increase in your score in a few months.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    A debit card can be convenient for ordering online and so forth, but it won’t help you build credit. If your parents have good credit, you could ask to become an authorized user on one of their cards. You could also consider using your savings to get a secured credit card. In that case, the amount you put on deposit (minus any fees) becomes your credit limit. If you can keep your balance at less than 30% of that amount, you’ll help yourself establish a good score. You’ll find more information here:

    How to Build Credit the Smart Way

    Everything You Need to Know About Authorized Users

    • Engineered Reality

      That’s pretty solid advice. Also, taking out a secured loan from a bank or credit union is a great way to build credit and to maintain a positive credit history. I don’t just give credit advice, I also have an 820 credit score.

      • Jules

        You keep bragging about your 820 credit score. Geesh!

      • Dan

        Putting money in a savings account and then borrowing against it (“secured loan”) in order to build or maintain credit is one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever heard. If you’re not a banker or a financier of some sort, you ought to be. What you are saying, in effect, is that you’re willing to give the banks your money (via interest) in order to maintain what is ultimately a completely arbitrary credit score.

        There is absolutely no need to do this and, again, it’s hard to imagine this coming from anyone but a financier who stands to benefit from it.

        Rather than putting money into an account and then borrowing against it (which will entail interest payments), a person should apply for a secured credit card and pay off the balance in full each month. This will help build credit. Once a credit history is established, then decide if you want to apply for a few other credit cards in order to build a more substantial credit history.

        Always pay credit card balances off in full each month. There is absolutely no reason, ever, to pay interest to the banks (neither credit card interest nor “secured loan” interest) in order to build or maintain credit.

        The only time to ever consider carrying a balance month-to-month on a credit card is if you have a card that has an introductory offfer of zero percent APR for a given amount of time (usually 6-18 months). In this case, you can use it as an interest-free loan. For example, you could get a card that has zero APR for 12 months and put $1200 on it, knowing that you can easily afford to pay $100 per month. You diligently pay the $100 each month and, at the end of the year, it’s completely paid off and you’ve paid absolutely no interest on it. This only works if you don’t charge anything else to the card or, if you do, if you pay off whatever you charge in full each month, in addition to paying the $100. This isn’t a good habit to get into, and it certainly isn’t recommended for frivolous purchases, but it is a nice way to beat the banks at their own game.

        • JJ

          A “Secured CC” is almost exactly the same as a “Secured Loan”! Only difference is that you can use the card repeatedly until you withdraw the deposit. With the SCC you always have you $$$ tied up. With the loan, once you’ve paid it off you have all of your $$$ back and the score is recorded (which is actually a better scenario).

          • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

            One difference would be is that they give you different types of credit — revolving and installment credit. Once the loan is paid off, you also no longer have an active credit account. Assuming the secured card is paid responsibly and the balance is kept low (relative to limit), you should be able to qualify for an unsecured card reasonably soon.

          • Dan

            It is not the same. The point is that you are paying interest on the secured loan, whereas with the secured credit card you are not, provided of course that you pay off the balance in full each month. Once you build some credit by making payments on time each month (and in full, to avoid interest charges), you can then apply for an unsecured credit card and, once approved, you can cancel the secured card and get your money back, just as you would have with the loan – with the advantage being that you won’t have paid any interest at all to the bankers. Again, the point is to avoid paying interest.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable for the landlord to request this. He or she doesn’t know there is nothing to report. You can ask the landlord if he will accept your son’t report from AnnualCreditReport.com (and if there is no report he should get a notice to that effect which you could potentially share with him.) But the reports landlords order sometimes include criminal background checks as well, and that wouldn’t show up there.

    Depending on how tight the rental market is where you live trying to challenge this requirement may just make the landlord move on to someone else.

  • Engineered Reality

    I’d have to know more about your situation to give advice, but Social Security payments and retirement annuity payments both count as income.

  • jac

    When I was 16 I had a credit card in my name that was connected to my parents account. Because of this I had enough credit when I was on my own. Then when I shared apartments I made sure to have a utility in my name. You can get a credit card with maybe $1000 limit but do not charge more than 10% off that limit a month! That’s how I started out my credit and my first score was 750! Years later after building I’m at 812. You can’t get much higher than that.

    • Bluffguy

      Actually, yes you can, but that does not mean it is not a very good score !

  • kenny

    Engineered Reality, what do mean “by taking out a secured loan against himself.” I am out of bankruptcy for over a year now and tryin to rebuilt my credit. these past few monthsn I have seen my credit score jump from 649 to 682 now.

    • Mike

      You can take out a secured loan. That means you secure the loan with a savings account in the same amount. So, you put $1,000 in a savings and borrow a $1,000. The savings account pays for the loan and if you set it up on auto draft then you will never be late. Just make sure you include the interest.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    It can be done. There are attorneys who specialize in credit damage lawsuits.

  • thegr8_1

    My credit was destroyed early on during my time in the Marine Corps (hello predatory lending) somehow, My score is in the “good” range, yet I’m still turned down by Ebert credit card I apply for. And I don’t apply for many because of that reason. Pretty soon I’ll be down in the depths because of student loans. Hopefully I can get a job out of college (I chose a skill that is actually in demand -computer science) instead of a liberal arts degree that is not usable in the real world.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Very sorry to hear what you been through, especially as a result of predatory lenders while you were serving our country. Have you thought about trying to rebuild your credit using a secured credit card? If you have your free credit score, which areas of your credit are strong, and which are getting low grades?

  • Bluffguy

    Suggest that you avoid debit card. Get a secured credit card ( you pay a certain amount up front ) and pay it down 100% every month. You will start to establish a credit history. Most young people do not have bad credit, they just have no credit history. You can’t start off with a car loan, start off small with credit card and build it from there. Banks and credit rating agencies want to see a history of paying back loans, and income to support continued repayment of loans.

  • Karinnkade

    I have credit cards that have been compromised. The bank issued me new ones. My credit report has two cards, the two different numbers. The problem is they are the same account. My credit report lists them as two separate accounts. So it looks like I am in higher debt than I am. Does anyone know how to get the duplicate accounts removed? Thanks

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Yes, you’ll need to dispute it with the credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Here’s how to do it: A Step-By-Step Guide to Disputing Credit Report Mistakes.

      If you follow the steps, you should be able to get it resolved relatively quickly. And good for you for checking. It’s a good habit to get in to protect your credit.

    • Barb

      This is the quickest way to deal with this problem. Contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) online or by phone. File a complaint by following the directions (doesn’t take very long at all…). The CFPB will contact the company for you and they have to respond to the CFPB within 2 weeks and take action. If the company/credit bureau’s have violated your rights, the CFPB will forward your complaint to the proper authorities and they may be in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
      Basically, if the credit card is from the same company, with a duplicate card with another cc number, you would file your complaint against the credit card company and ask them to remove the ‘duplicate’ account # from your credit reports. The cc company should be able to do this very quickly and easily for you.
      Don’t worry about getting your credit card company in trouble. It’s not a big deal… They will just fix the problem quickly through the CFPB, that’s all…

  • worried mom

    My 21 year old son wants to get a credit card, he’s been turned down because he doesn’t have a credit history. I’ve been thinking about making him a co-signer on one of my credit cards, however I have very bad credit (a bankruptcy & a foreclosure) will my bad credit follow him afterwards?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Do you mean an authorized user? (A co-signer generally uses his or own good credit to help someone with little or no credit history get a card, while an authorized user is allowed to use an account but has no responsibility for paying it off.) And yes, your poor credit could hurt him. Another way to help him get a credit history would be to get a secured card. Here are a couple of Credit.com resources that may be useful to you:
      How Secured Cards Help Build Credit
      How to Give Your Kid a Good Credit Score

    • Barb

      I don’t think that I would add your son as an authorized user. That means that your bankruptcy and foreclosure will become his. He will inherit your negative credit. He can just get a $300 secured credit card and start from there…

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Yes I noted that it’s a risky strategy and I wasn’t necessarily recommending it. I was simply pointing out that it’s about the only way to affect the age of credit factor other than waiting for current accounts to age.

  • John

    Good article. I guess the metrics can vary between different scoring models… The metric’s on FICO’s website is little bit different then what you’ve posted. They have poor credit listed between 350 – 599, fair credit as 600 – 659, good credit at 660 – 719, and excellent credit at 720 – 850.

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Right. That’s why if you are checking your own credit, it’s a good idea to use the same model consistently.

    • SandiBeach22

      That’s what they use for most everything except mortgages. If your score is 780 or higher, you can get the lowest possible rate.

  • eddie

    Amen

  • Brnet

    Consider your credit score a “Debt Score”. Your score really reflects your ability to STAY IN DEBT, and of course, pay bills on time. When the data breach at Target happened, I checked my balances often and was actually downgraded 20 to 30 points on my fico score for accessing my bank balance too many times. How silly is that. Credit scores are a joke. Work hard, save hard and pay with cash. Over a lifetime, the average joe would save $1000’s if not $10’s of thousands in interest charges.

    • Susan

      I have never ever heard of a credit score dropping for accessing a bank balance. Reporting agencies wouldn’t even know about that; are you certain that is the reason? The data breach affected me as well, and I have always been one to check my balance every day, just to keep an eye out for fraud.

      • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

        Susan —
        Checking your balance will not hurt your credit score, and we recommend doing it. It helps with catching fraud or identity theft early.

  • Riceburner1

    Actually you have no clue why you are down ! I am retired have my house paid for 12 years now. Buy new cars every 10-12 years weather I need one or not. I have 4 credit cards all for different purpose that I pay off every month fully.. My score is 817 and my better half is 827. Hers is higher because she is a female! BTW I have not had any credit in 12 years other then my credit cards !!!

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    We can’t tell you that with any certainty. Credit scores fluctuate (so even if you get it there, it won’t stay). Things like what your balance is on a credit card on the day it is checked can affect your score. And there are so many variables in play that credit is generally classified within ranges — it’s best not to obsess over a few points up or down. For more, see:
    Why a Perfect Credit Score Doesn’t Matter

  • papasan173

    After reading this blog I can see that the average American has no clue as to how credit and credit scores work. If you don’t know how something works it is very hard to fix, or improve, it. No wonder the country is in such a poor financial shape.

  • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

    You may have put your finger on the problem. Co-signing puts you on the hook for the full amount of your niece’s loans, and those will be considered debt obligations that you owe. However, it is possible to appeal a credit card rejection. Here’s information that may be useful to you:

    How Co-Signing Can Affect More Than Just Your Credit Score

    The Art of Overturning a Credit Card Rejection

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    It can be tricky with low limit cards like that but you are on the right track. Do you know what the closing date is for your statement? If you can pay that balance before the statement closing date your credit report should show a zero balance and then it definitely won’t be a factor!

  • Dave

    Ron, I’m thinking the drop in score is because of the addition of the inquiry necessary to get any credit card, not because of the balance. If you pay the balance before the statement it will show $0 on your statement and they will not report the payment made on time because I did that the first month with my secured card and found that out. Your score will improve, just remember to keep your inquiries in check just like your debt percentage and payment history.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      That’s a good point – the inquiry could cause a temporary drop. Not sure what you mean about not reporting the payment on time when you made the payment early. Did they report you late?

      • Dave

        Gerri, since the statement had a $0 balance, there was nothing reported for the payment. It wasn’t reported late, they simply reported nothing since there was no balance on the statement to be paid. I thought it odd, then just waited until the statement came out and paid it, sure enough they reported on time payment. I am using several different sites to follow my score, each showing different variations, but all have been rising in the 10 months since I started tracking them, I started below around and below 650 on all, and have seen changes to 677 here and a transunion score that isn’t showing my older late stuff that will be removed in 2017 is currently showing a 751 score. That shows just how varied scores can be from one reporting agency to the next.

      • La Fawn

        Do inquires fall off??? After a certain amount of time? Or no

        • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

          Inquiries are only reported for two years.

        • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

          Soft inquiries (when you check your own score) are never reported. Hard inquiries (when you apply for credit) stay on for two years, but in most scoring models, they have no impact on your score after 6 months.

  • rkmtt

    credit scores are manufactured by those that have no clue….

    if one never uses credit but has 2 million in liquid assets he /she probably would rate a poor rating

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Exactly. Because the amount of assets doesn’t accurately predict the likelihood that a lender will be repaid. Habits over time are much more predictive (though income is certainly a consideration in credit decisions).

  • Rose

    My credit was excellent and then I decided to get a new car, motorcycle & some of those cc’s with good points, rewards. That dropped my score down to bac down fair at the moment! I have quite a few cc’s and all are paid in full each month. So I know my score will go back up. Actually, I”m trying to raise it as high to 850 as I can. It seems after following these forums, you can see what you need to do to have an excellent score. I had a mortgage a couple cc’s. Not enough to get that “excellent” score. I’m starting to see they want you to be able to “handle” your credit very wisely. A higher cl but a very low utilization seems to do the trick with a various mix of loans. Thanks everyone for your input. I would be stuck in the 600’s forever if I didn’t start reading this forum!

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Glad it’s helping Rose.

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Ronald – Paying off an installment loan shouldn’t typically cause your credit score to drop significantly. Paid installment loans don’t get removed from your credit reports, so the payment history and age of the account still help. What service are you using to monitor your credit scores? Do you have other open credit accounts?

  • Greg

    It seems that one of the measures of success in life, is how good we are at owing other people money. Is it just me, or is that a little warped?

    • SandiBeach22

      It sure seems that way! Looks like the new way of doing business. As long as we don’t owe anyone any money on those cc’s, we’re okay. And if you get any of the new ones out there, you can get some great rewards.

  • ned

    I went through quicken loans for a refinance and my credit score got slammed and I got turned down double slam cause I don’t owe over a $100,000.,can’t win either way you go. From 725 down to 620,i’ll pay off what I have and the hell with this credit score crap and disappear and don’t give a dam what it ever becomes.

  • Suzy Realist

    We just bought a car yesterday, and were delighted to have the finance woman tell us she’d never seen such a high credit score before (850)!
    Woo Hoo!

  • Mills

    I’d love the credit card companies to update twice a month!

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    Paying your bills in full is a smart move and definitely doesn’t hurt your credit score. And the scores you cite sound like excellent scores. Do the scores that you received show you where you fall in comparison to other consumers (fair vs. good vs. excellent for example)?

  • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

    A secured card can be a good way to rebuild credit, and there is no need to carry a balance and pay interest. In fact, I’d recommend you make sure that a balance of no more than 10% of your available credit be reported on your credit reports. You can fill up your tank once a month and pay it off in full and that will help as far as that card is concerned. It might not be a bad idea for you to get a second card now to establish a payment history. Perhaps you can get a retail card or another secured card. Do the same thing with that card.

    Have you obtained your free credit score from Credit.com? If so what are each of the five grades? Also if you haven’t reviewed your credit reports yet, you may want to do that and dispute anything that is inaccurate or incomplete. Any accounts that aren’t confirmed by the source must be deleted.

    This article may also be helpful:
    How to Rebuild Credit

  • SandiBeach22

    Never reported? That’s just not right!!! I’m going to try and keep a car payment for a while longer. It’s sure not like your cc’s where you can pay them in full. But will give them what they want to see. 30 years old and still on your credit! Sounds like you need to dispute it. I would keep disputing with the credit agency over and over again. This is FLBiker’s wife. I found a $67.00 collection that we didn’t owe & had a time trying to remove it. I just kept on disputing it until they finally realized I wasn’t going away & I wanted it removed! Never give up! You will get out of debt. :-)

  • SandiBeach22

    Debit is good & it gives you a good standing with the banks. Cap One has been my 2nd card & 3rd cards. They should start you off with a small limit but will raise it if you pay on time. Make sure you never, ever go over the 30% ratio as this will give you a higher score down the road & shows them your responsible.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      SandiBeach – just to clarify debit cards aren’t reported to the credit reporting agencies. Secured cards are considered credit cards though and they do help.

      Thanks for sharing your experiences!

      • susanunion

        I think they meant ‘Debt’. ;)

      • Sandibeach22

        Yes, I know. I started with them but now have prime cards with good rewards. I did want to say that my score has never gone over 750 with just the mtg, car payment & cap one card. I have good cash in the bank. But only use my cards for what I would normally pay for with my debit cards. Now I get rewards with these cards. I did do well for Xmas. Still collecting rewards!!! I hope the new cards & car payment will get my score over 800 & as close to 850 as possible. Thank you for all of your help.

  • SandiBeach22

    You know why auto payments will make your score go down? It’s the minimum payment. They want to see you pay in full or make large payments. They have everything covered I’ve been trying to figure this whole thing out & they want a mix of credit, cc’s, & some other type of loan. Not to mention, you really shouldn’t move too much. Even if you own your home. Anything over 5 years will get you a higher score. My hubby (FLBiker) & I built our last home 3 yrs ago & wanted to do a little more to it. Wanted to charge about 10k and not touch our savings. So I actually had to get some new cc’s so our utilization was over 20%! But I knew that our score would plummet if it went past 20%. Now he rotates the cards to buy lunch so they all get used a bit. Seems like we’re jumping through hoops?lol

  • SandiBeach

    I will let you know if my score goes up after I pay down my 10K furniture loan. I have various other cards but try and pay all in full every month for the same reasons. Not giving anyone interest! This furniture loan is 12 months same as cash. I do agree. I think they’re wanting people to fail.

  • Barb

    If you have something on your credit bureau that is 30 years old, it has to come off. It is quite easy to do these days. Just contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and file a report against the company holding your credit hostage (if the credit bureaus are the one’s refusing to remove it, then file the complaint against them. If the debtor company is refusing to remove it, then file the complaint against them…or both).
    ….You select ‘credit’ (if that is what it is?), then select the radio dial button that says *been over 7 years and follow the rest of the instructions. It doesn’t take long at all. The CFPB will contact this company personally and they will have to respond within 2 weeks and adhere to the laws of removing after 7 years. They will also be reported to the proper authorities for failing to follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). If you’re not sure how to do it, just Google Credit Financial Protection Bureau and give them a call.

  • Evilhemp

    I didn’t have a job or credit when I graduated from high school. So I applied for a capital one credit card and listed “poet” as my occupation. They approved me for a credit card with a $500 limit.

  • Brent

    Um, not exactly true. I am over 50, have not had a car loan in a decade and all of my homes have been paid in full for almost 10 years. I literally have zero debt except for using credit cards. I use credit cards, paid off each month, instead of carrying much cash and my FICO score, as of today, is 840.

  • Ballistic

    Im a junior in college with loans and 2 credit cards, currently my credit score is 759. I am planning on working over the summer and I intend on buying a car, do you think I should wait for a bit longer and try to increase my score, or do you think I will be able to get decent rates with what I currently have?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Certainly working on your credit won’t hurt. (A bigger down payment can also mean you will pay less in interest.) Consider talking with a bank or credit union beforehand to get approved for a loan. (Any time you apply, your credit can take a small, temporary hit. So rather than have every dealership run your credit, it can be smart to walk in with a loan already approved.) And well before you plan to buy, check your free annual credit reports to be sure they are error-free. If you see something that needs to be corrected, you’ll have time to dispute it before your lending application is evaluated. Here’s how: A Step-By-Step Guide to Disputing Credit Report Mistakes. Good luck to you — and you’re smart to be considering these questions well ahead of time.

  • cyndi

    can you buy a house after bankruptcy if your credit score is 700

  • aldi

    i just got a sapphire chase credit card a month ago at $95 annual fee. But i already have 2 free chase cards . Can i cancel my sapphire card without damaging my credit score ( wich is excelent )

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      If your score is excellent closing one account you don’t want should not significantly hurt your credit scores in the long run.

  • guest

    Excellent advice, and should be the most obvious too many, but often is not! There are some moronic credit forums out there with participants that have delusional state of supremacy about having as many trade lines with the highest possible limits. Morons with a capital “MO”. The FICO forums are on top of the list with “credit gardening fairies”. They are surreal entertainment, but boring after a while. Establish no more trade lines than you truly need, and don’t carry balances. Banks/credit card companies are to make money, there is nothing friendly about them. Never charge a debt you can not satisfactorily service EVER. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Keep the upper hand and do not give it. Debt is indeed a slave. Stay out of debt, and truly live free!

  • Rrg

    Until Credit Bureaus are truly regulated and focus on cleaning up their error riddled database consisting of anyone using unverified methods of submitting often false or mis-represented credit information to all three credit bureaus. These bureaus have a financial incentive to focus on selling those, who simply want their credit corrected, overpriced worthless monitoring products while making the effort of correcting false reported info difficult and based solely upon “their members” verification. The FCRA needs amended to overhaul the entire credit reporting system and place oversight under ONE entity with power to significantly fine up to $5 mil in egregious errors that are robbing consumers of billions of dollars and lining the pockets of both the creditors and the bureaus. Republicans are blind to the real underlying issues and the current regulations simply need to be enforced.

  • wakeup

    I paid off and canceled all of my credit cards. I just made a $15,000 payment towards $55,000 of debt. My debt will be paid off within the next 7 months and my credit score will skyrocket during the process. When my debt is gone, my score will disappear and it will be one of the most joyous experiences of my life, aside from the birth of my son. I will be on the path for true financial excellence. You should all try it.

  • Ron

    It is exactly catch 22 !! I have every type of loan and 1 late payment my score dropped 100 points.They want to keep you in debt.You have to read between their lines.

  • ken

    Divorce, bankruptcy two years ago. Car loan four months after at 5.2 percent and paying cash for everything. Double to triple payments on the car. Will never own a house again and proud of it. Have more money in my pocket then ever before. You really don’t need the bank’s so if you can just stay away from the headaches. Life is a lot easier. Just believe in your self.

  • ken

    You go girl, the truth is cash is king and till more people realize this they will not be a slave to the bank’s

  • mike

    My problem too! You can’t win with credit system we have. It is a wonder why people give up trying. The current credit industry should be outlawed…really.

  • John Scior

    I’d say get a car loan for a/2 the value of your car and put the money in the credit union savings acct and have auto payments deducted from that acount to establish a loan payment other than credit cards. or you could take the car loan amount and pay off the credit card so your unsecured credit cards are not as maxed out and you have now a fixed rate loan on your credit report.

  • Lily

    My credit score 625 has been for the past year I hsbe car note about 5 cards I psy on time I’m trying to start the process for a house loan but would like to to something to get my credit score higher do you have any suggestions ?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Lily —
      Paying on time is the No. 1 thing you can do to help your credit score. The second is keeping debt levels low. Ideally, that means keeping the balances on your credit cards at less than 10% of your credit limit. (Thirty percent should be as high as they EVER get.) If yours are higher, you could lower them one of two ways. You could ask the creditor for a higher limit (no guarantees this will work, but it sometimes does) or you could pay the cards down until you are paying off the balance each month. You can read more here:
      How to Fix Your Credit Score When Buying a Home

  • Matthew

    First credit scores and the bureau’s are the biggest jokes out there. How come they only look at loans and credit cards. Why not look at everyone’s normal bills like rent or mortgage, gas bills, electric bills and you get the drift. It’s a scam out there. Then if you have bad credit you can find someone with good credit and have them put you on there credit cards without even using it. The credit world is bad and that’s why the big banks are hurting.

  • swisschamp

    Credit Score System sucks. If you’re not from U.S. even when you bring 1 Mio to U.S. you don’t get a simple credit card from most of the banks.

  • Deb

    How long does it take for your credit score to go up after you have opened up new accounts made payment and pd it off.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      As with all things credit score-related, it depends! It depends on whether and how much this factor (lack of revolving accounts, or mix of credit, for example) is affecting your credit scores.

  • Linda McDonald Birdsall

    I had a car dealer apply for a loan thru 2 different banks. I got approved with both but went with the lower interest one. after about 3 months with my new car, I started receiving letters from the bank I didn’t have a loan with telling me I was late on my payments. I called them and told them I didn’t have a loan with them which they said yes you do. I ended up having to get a lawyer and I still could not get it removed from my Credit report. I disputed it and everything. Unreal. Come to find out the lawyer I hired played golf with the car dealer.. They were both worthless..

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Wow! Have you tried filing a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? (And perhaps with the local bar association!)

  • Chris

    I have a collection account on my credit reports for a Best Buy credit card through HSBC Bank that I never applied for, therefor never used. I have formally disputed this account numerous times with the CRA’s asking for some sort of proof that I was the one using the account. All times I have successfully won the dispute and am informed that the account will be removed from my report….which does happen. HOWEVER, within a couple of months of the removal the account shows back up on my credit reports under a different collection agency. Not to mention, the original account is over 11 years old and should have been removed due to statute of limitations here in California. What can I do to keep this ugly, incorrect monster from reappearing? Thank you.

    • http://www.Credit.com/ Gerri Detweiler

      Talk with a consumer law attorney. You may have a case for credit damage and their actions may violate debt collection laws too. California in particular has a strong state law – the Rosenthal Act – in addition to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

  • Go Tama

    I have a score of 812


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  • Meet Our Expert

    gerri_detweiler GravatarGerri 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.
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