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From the Experts at Credit.com

What is a Good Credit Score?

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.


  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.


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