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From the Experts at Credit.com

What is the Average Credit Score?

by Gerri Detweiler

What Is Average Credit Score

If you’re wondering what the average credit score is, you’re probably really wondering how your credit score compares to others. You may also be wondering if it’s good enough to get approved for a loan or a credit account.

While the average credit score sounds like a simple enough figure to pin down, it’s a little more complicated than you may realize.

What’s My Score?

First things first. If you want to know how strong your credit is, you’ll need to know your credit score. You can find out by using Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card. Not only will you get a truly free credit score, you’ll also find out how your credit score compares to state and national averages.

Which Score?

Another thing you’ll need to know when comparing your number to others is which credit score model is being used to calculate the score, and what credit score range is being used.

There are many different credit score models, including versions of VantageScore, FICO scores and even educational credit scores. Some of these have different credit score ranges, so while VantageScore 3.0 and FICO scores run from 300 – 850, there are others that run from 501-990 or 360 – 840, for example.

What’s A Good Score?

Again, different models have different ranges, and lenders make their own decisions about what they consider acceptable. The scores typically range form 301 to 850, with categories from bad to excellent.

Want to see how your score compares to others?
Find out now for FREE.

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

Again, what’s considered a good or fair credit score will depend on how the lender views it, but you can get an idea of how lenders are likely to view your applications by checking your score and seeing how it compares to others.

Average Credit Score

Still hoping to find some numbers?

As of the 2nd quarter of 2013, the average VantageScore for consumers with an existing auto loan and lease was 761; for those with a bankcard it was 796 and for those with a mortgage it was 819. (This is using the classic version of the VantageScore which runs on a scale from 501-990. Data from Experian’s IntelliView tool.)

As of October 2012, the average FICO score is 689 according to MyFICO.com.

For up to date credit score averages – including how your score compares to others in your state and nationwide, sign up for Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card.


  • Liz

    Anonymous, you hit it right on the nail. My family and I are very loyal to our homeowner, who we’ve been renting a home from for almost 9 years (all payments made on time), and we now have to move. However, we’ve been having difficulty getting a loan due to our bad credit scores (though we all work very hard). Maybe one day we’ll own a house, though we can only hope.

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

      I know it can seem really daunting to build credit. Things are moving in the direction to include rent on credit reports. Eventually that will help renters like you who pay on time.

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

    It was actually 689 the last time that FICO released that number about a year and a half ago.

  • tim

    Credit score is just another way corporations can extract rent from consumers.

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

    Pippy – It’s very hard to tell. Have you ordered copies of your credit reports? It’s possible there is a mistake on them. Or their could be a collection account you aren’t aware of (such as a medical bill that went to collections). Here’s how to get your free annual credit reports. That’s where I suggest you start.

    • the6mule

      Well believe it or not I don’t know what revolving credit is and I still have a 789 cs.

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

        Revolving credit is credit that rolls over and can be used again (like a credit card). It is different from installment credit (like a car loan), which must be paid until the balance is zero and is not reusable. Hope that helps explain it

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

    It sounds like you are taking the right steps. As the information gets older is does have less impact. Have you obtained your free credit score from Credit.com? If so I’ll be happy to try to help you understand it.

  • Mike johnson

    i was “up there” with a 798 credit score ..not a single late payment from 18-33..after buying a home and having a car loan..i lost my job and was unable to find related work at a comparable compensation : story? bankruptcy a pay cut and a now 640 credit score …i used to have pride like you ..until fate dealt my a nice blow..so be careful how you gloat

    • Realist

      You’re seriously overlooking the whole point of what banks are doing. Your statement proved exactly why you are considered high risk. You had a high paying job, and bought a home and car that reflected that HIGH PAYING JOB income. Then you lost your high paying job. AND HAD NO WAY TO KEEP THE SAME LIFESTYLE. Aka you didn’t prepare for what the future could potentially bring. That by definition is A RISK to a bank. I just got a six figure job. Does that mean I go buy an even more expensive house right now? HELL NO. Because guess how much trouble I’m in when I potentially lose that job? It would spiral downward exponentially faster. Guess when you can go get that even more expensive house? When you have enough backup money saved up for any amount of long term you could potentially be “out of work” while achieving another position of equal value.

      You’re wrong, it was consequence of not preparing for the future that dealt you your blow.

  • B. Bissonette

    I disagree strongly. The FICO system isn’t biased. It is a good indicator of ones ability to pay back debt. It’s also possible to have a very poor credit rating and within 7 years have an excellent rating. As already mentioned paying your monthly payment on time and staying under 20% of open credit line will benefit huge. It’s takes several years to get an excellent credit score and about 90 days to have a poor score. People that have paid their debts on time and show a long history of this should get the best rates. They earned it. It wasn’t just given to them. While it is true that those with hits on their credit will pay a much higher interest rate they will also be required to put down a substantial down payment and have co-signer(s) willing to put up collateral. Their past history will typically follow suit. Lenders want people to pay their loans. They aren’t in the business to foreclose or recover assets from non paying borrowers. If the general public would smarten up and stop living paycheck to paycheck burdened with debt and get ahead of it then they would never have to worry about if they are approved. If they stopped missing payments and filing for bankruptcy protection the interest rates would drop down for everyone and borrowing would be much easier. It’s already been proven that having a lot of high risk loans has a huge detrimental impact when they aren’t paid back. Housing bubble = huge lending mistake. People were approved for mortgages that shouldn’t have been period. This caused a surge in real estate price then pop. Here we are now. All they did is just set back all the debtors who borrowed during that time and didn’t default on their loans. Instead they are upside down in their mortgage. What are they getting from the government? Not a thing. Instead their property value will barely cover the inflation rate for years to come.

    • rwmasengale

      It’s not easy to just ‘quit living paycheck to paycheck’. Most people that do don’t have a choice because they don’t have the money to do otherwise. Granted, they are unlikely to be a safe bet to loan money to, but that’s the way it is. It is far too easy to talk about people just doing things differently when you don’t live the same way as they do. Paycheck to paycheck is *the* reality for a lot of people.

  • B. Bissonette

    You should have cleared the debt before the marriage was dissolved. There’s nothing written that will physically force a person to do something. Having anything written into a divorce decree such as former spouse assuming all responsibility of paying the debt are not worth the paper they are written on as you now realize. You had a joint loan and it will always be a joint loan till the debt is payed and the line of credit closed married or not.

    • formericelaker

      I hate it when people are expected to play by rules they don’t know & that nobody has bothered to tell them.

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

    Have you looked at your score since you got the secured card? (Here’s how to monitor your credit score for free.) You’re not far from having a score that is considered “fair” (650-699) rather than poor, and that will give you more options for credit cards. And yes, a higher limit could help, because part of your credit score is related to how much of your available credit you are actually using. (Try to keep is below 30%; below 10% is even better.) But paying on time, which you are already doing, is the very best thing you can do for your credit. You’ll find other tips here:
    How to Build Credit the Smart Way

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

    We’re not sure where you are getting the information that you need to carry a balance — and we disagree. It is a popular misconception though. We wrote about it here: Can Paying Off Debt Hurt My Credit?

  • Realist

    Making the average score “poor” is a way to get you to pay for credit reports and credit activity reports. You need to improve, and pay us money.

  • Rosalea Moore

    I don’t think she knows how arrogant she sounds. Give her a break.

    • formericelaker

      Thank you. The tone was unintentional.

      • Andee Sparrow

        I thought u sounded fine and my credit sucks. It’s true that everyone handles money differently. I’m jealous that you are able to pay so efficiently and timely. I actually picked up a few pointers. Thanks for the info.

  • Rosalea Moore

    Pride cometh before a fall, my dear. I know. I was like you at one time and never ever would I’ve thought my credit would sink to what it is today. Today, I am a more humble person as I work to re-build my credit.

  • MollyMcGuier

    Wow, when i bought my house back in 99, over 600 was a decent credit score…. Sitting at 700 only because of my wife’s due diligence I thought that I was KING of the credit score… After paying my house off 19 years early JP Morgan-Chase thought it would be funny to place a foreclosure and bankruptcy upon my credit report. I am NOT kidding. The worst thing I ever did regarding my home loan was to be maybe a week late with a payment. I only noticed this egregious error after agreeing to co-sign a loan for my brother-in-law. I am still thinking of suing. A year later after many phone calls and one where I asked for a manager telling her she was being recorded and That I was being filmed for a Michael Moore movie did i finally get results. So where was I? Well it’s 2014 the kids are getting older and my wife wants a new kitchen and siding on the house. Me? I’d rather live in the woods in a trailer. Anyway, she is my queen and i am her fool so she gets what she wants. Securing 30k while living in a house wort 200k should be no problem, or so I thought. With under 7k in debt besides my wife’s auto loan I figured that I would be the shot caller on this loan. Yes, the banks wanted to give but they wanted to give way more than the 30k i was seeking. They also wanted 15 year agreements… Things went south quick and i headed to the SAFE HAVEN of a CREDIT UNION. Nope! I’ve been done with banks for years and NOW—– I plan on keeping it that way. At the credit union I was a PERSON. I actually knew the loan officer and a few board members. Not that this insured my loan but it gave me great confidence that my voice would be heard even with the mathematical formulas that decide your credit score and ones ability to re-pay loans. We all know what happens when banks lend in a predatory manner… Think 2008…. The credit union is not in the business of loosing money nor is it in the business of making your life a living hell like Jp Morgan did for me.
    After a little back and forth we settled on a 6 year loan of 30k at 4.25% interest. Sounds great but that interest is front end loaded and guarantees the Union will make about 3k by the time I pay them back. I accept this as the price of doing business. At 10 or 15 years that 3k would increase substantially. I wanted a 7 year loan they countered with 6 hoping I would take the 10. I didn’t need to do the math. I was expecting 5 and i would have taken that. I pretended to take 24hr to think about it. So here I sit with 30k and can’t find a damn decent contractor to do any work!! Oh the irony of life… By my calculations, this loan and my wife’s handling of my Paypal account and 1 credit card should secure me a 750-790 within the next 5 years. I am not one who likes to dwell on financial issues and I thank God every day for my wife and her keeping of our finances. To those of you who are young and just starting out… The best advice I can offer is to live within your means. You do not have to keep up with anyone. A home is a home. If I had millions I still wouldn’t move. Get a credit card that you can pay off monthly or keep a very small balance. SAVE, SAVE, and SAVE. Do not invest in anything! The stock market is going to CRASH BAD within the next 10 years. keep your 401k’s in the lowest safest place they can be. Do not listen to the BS of riding it out for the long run…. I saw people loose fortunes. Lastly and most importantly,—— KNOW your NEEDS from your WANTS…. You will be amazed by what you could live without…. Good Luck

    • just my point of view

      It is interesting to me how some place blame or accuse others of gloating. Really it is what it is. We try and ssucceed or possibly fail. It doesnt always go well and thats just the way it is. There are outside forces beyond anyones control that can divert a perfect path to an imperfect path. Take it with a grain of salt, keep a good attitude and fight the good fight. No one gets through life with no troubles. Accept it without placing blame, thats life.Blessings.

      • MollyMcGuier

        Acceptance, gratitude, & LOVE my brother… If only I had the humility & humble pie to go along with them. On my best days I DO. Knowledge meets wisdom and melds in my mind. Maybe I get a good start on a short story. Maybe I can verbalize to my wife how much that I love her and all that she means to me. Maybe, just maybe, on the best of the best days my kids WANT to hear what I have to say. Maybe they ask for advice. maybe they thank me for previous advice. Maybe they just say, “I love you Dad…(?) Happy holidays my friend

  • itsme

    We shouldn’t use our credit cards as an instant loan for things we can’t afford? What happens when you need something right away like a car repair and don’t have the money? Save up for it instead? What if you don’t make enough money to save? It’s so easy to say you can pay off credit card(s) in full every month when you have the sufficient income to do so but what do you do when you lose a job at no fault of your own and can’t get another one right away to pay your bills on time or at all? BTW, my elders did a fantastic job at raising me, religiously or not; the true problem lies with those in the work place who can’t seem to accept and allow people to remain at a job which reasonably leads to people defaulting on their credit!

    • mrcontinental

      Her statements are correct.

      Debt is a trap that is meant to keep you enslaved.

      There is no requirement that says that you have to have a car, but if you do have one you need to be able to maintain it and if you can’t maintain it that means that you cannot afford one. Cars break down when they are not maintained so the money people think they are saving skipping maintenance always comes back to bite them in the end.

      I know people who take on massive car notes for 5 or more years on a car that will have lost 70 percent or more of it’s value in that amount of time – bad decision so they save nothing.

      Or the person who saves $5000 for a vehicle and instead of buying a $3000 vehicle and saving some for expenses they spend it all – bad decision so they save nothing.

      A person doesn’t have to make a lot of money to save, they just need to not become a debt slave and not spend what they don’t have.

  • formericelaker

    Oh my. Didn’t expect the backlash my original comment caused. Just wanted to a) tell people how I manage to have an excellent score, and b) give credit where it’s due — who taught me this way.

    As for, “What about when unexpected expenses like a car repair comes up?” Both before & after marriage I always kept (& continue to set aside) some money in savings as a “rainy day fund” for just this sort of thing. Financial experts recommend “pay yourself first” I.E. Set aside 10% of your pay in savings as a cushion against the unexpected. Most of the time that’s been what I did. Same after marriage. Before I married I never earned more than $30k per year, so it’s not like I was wealthy or something.

    I’m mainly letting people know how I do it.

    When I wrote “Except it’s not for many people,” that was meant to acknowledge that I understand it’s a struggle for many and that I’ve been blest in many ways that others haven’t.

    • Jeff

      You were not being at all arrogant, just giving great advice. Too many people want to demonize people that are responsible and sensible in order to lessen the burden of their own poor decisions. Lost your job? Where is your savings? Why are you in such debt that you can’t recover from being out of work for a period of time, etc… I’m definitely not prepared to lose an income, but I realize that it’s my own decision making in the past that would put me in jeopardy… If you play with fire…

    • jhonny come lately

      Not for nothing. My credit score fell by over 100 points because I never failed to pay on time and in full. In a nutshell I was not making the lenders any money …thus a deadbeat.

  • amphibia

    I salute you formericelaker! I will keep that in mind! That’s the right way to do and we all know that and we should learn to discipline and ourselves!

  • windyblue

    yea mine is worse than that and I am working on getting it better. I just pray I do.

  • kimirose

    I’m guessing you are lucky enough to have a high-paying job, Ray? I was at one time making six-figures and had a credit score of over 800. When my job was sent overseas, I had to short sell my house and sell everything. I am back on track now but with a much lower-paying job. I pay ALL of my bills on time, sometimes early, and always pay over the minimum payment on my credit card. Yet somehow, I am still only considered average in terms of credit risk because of the short sell due to my job being outsourced – completely out of my control. I still maintain the same financially responsible habits, have for nearly six years since my layoff, yet my score is still only “Fair.” I’m not whining, and I work extremely hard 40 hours a week to make ends meet, so please don’t make the assumption that everybody who has a “fair” credit score is some kind of lazy bum. That is an extremely arrogant assumption.

    • matt

      Yeah …all americans didnt keep there jobs in 08/09 crash…got laid off high paid job after new president got in..cut defence budget..wife lost her job also same time…very tough times…but m the worthless bum that couldnt make payments sitting at home trying to find work..years later trying to pay back debt from the hand we were dealt we finally got credit up to average…

      • Domo Ariagato

        That’s a tough break man and I feel for you, but that kinda drives the point home. This isn’t a debate about fairness of job opportunities and longevity. In that situation you are a risk to a lender. Someone in a bad situation who you can’t be certain can pay back the loan. The score is a risk factor rating. The simplest example I can give is breaking it down to it’s most basic form. Someone wants to borrow money from you. A complete stranger. It’s not about how much you want to help someone in need. You have to decide based on how likely it is that person can pay you back when they’re supposed to. Are you more or less likely to believe they can pay you when they don’t have a job and already have outstanding debt and/or a plethora of other financial obligations?

        • Chris Mens

          I understand where you’re coming from, however you make it seem as though most of us are put in a situation where we are always asking to borrow money. I mean seriously, who likes owing someone else money. Most, if not all, credit card companies send out information about why you should obtain their credit cards and borrow their money. They also put the high spiked interest rates so that it takes longer to pay and collect more money over time. One of the main problems is the fact that you have to have an available credit balance that’s 10,000 dollars plus in order to possibly get over 700, in which time would barley put you in the “good” credit bracket. The only way to obtain that is if you’re making six figures if not that then the extremely high 5 figures. And at that point would there really be any need to have that type of credit balance. What’s happening is their giving money to people who don’t need it and calling it high risk to people who do. I currently make six figures but i refuse to get a lot of credit because of this ignorant outlook on these so called powerful companies.

    • Guy

      You had to short sell your house due to losing your six figure income? So you hadn’t considered what could happen if you lost your six figure income? You assumed that job and income would always be there for you? You didn’t have any backup saved up for X amount of months backup salary?

      And PS, when my brother short sold his home, his credit took a 50pt hit for about a year, then actually increased higher than it originally started (due to less in-debtness afterward). So you definitely have more going on than you speak of….

    • Sensia

      This happened to millions of people in America back in 08 to 2010. The banks wouldn’t work with people on reworking their payments on their loans because the banks knew they could make more money allowing those mortgages to go into default. They got paid from the insurance on the CDOs and got paid several times over on faulty loans, so many banks were purposefully letting people default. Read the book “greedy bastards”, its a real eye opener on this subject.

      • BubbaShrimp

        And we, the taxpayers, bailed them out. That’s the icing on the cake. And Congress, the REAL bastards who were supposed to be on our side, didn’t force these banks to renegotiate the loans so Americans could keep their houses. These politicians smile in your face, shake your hand, and claim to feel your pain—in reality: they have NO IDEA what it’s like to struggle to pay their bills because we, the people, pay their bills every month.

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

    We try to use the blog as a place to help consumers get answers to their credit questions rather than a place to point fingers (in either direction). So I’d asked that we close this discussion so we can focus on answering questions for consumers to have them. Thank you.

  • Brandon Hedger

    I went to prison and mine dropped over 150 points due to unpaid bills….
    I wish I could come up with a simple solution to solve this now I not only have bad credit I have extremely bad credit. I don’t have a chance in the world of regaining what was taken from me…

    I was just trying to help!!! Oppp’s

    The point is usually to take a bad guy and make him good…
    Instead they tried a different approach and made a good guy bad…
    I can’t even find a good enough job to get started……
    I went from making $100000+ a year, to nothing what a transition…

    I only have god and my morals left…
    Other than that the still have my hands behind my back and they refuse to cut the chain in fact I believe they are trying to tighten them…

    Coming from a World wide artist…
    You think it would be easier to get these things taken care of…
    All I need is a paint brush….
    Maybe some money would be nice…

    I was the artist of the portraits on the USD currency…
    You’d think they would have a higher role for someone like me…
    I mean my signature isn’t worth much now, but like most times in society you don’t realise what you missed out on til it’s gone.

    If there where only some way for me to make this right…
    I don’t believe it start’s with me yet, Then again maybe it does…
    It’s only our currency….

    And yet people have yet to ask me the question as to why I got to take on this role. I may not understand fully.

    I know that a list of my accomplishments goes on for quite some time….
    I wouldn’t know where to start…..

    My credit is that of an average american I tried to get a loan and had to go through a loan shark… One who charges an illegal interest rate..

    That should be noted……

    Things are not as bad as they seem if you look into the legalities of everything….

    I will find the best solution possible, if I die trying…..

  • formericelaker

    True that. Midwest city of about 400,000.

    • mjkaylor

      my credit sucks….and part of it is my fault….part not….i have always been in low paying jobs…struggling…..had a nice house….then my now ex decided not to pay the mortgage and not tell me…..then i remarried to a man making 60,000 up a year driving a truck…..had another house, car payment, i stayed home with the kids (day care was more than i earned)…..oops….husband developed parkinson’s disease…..can no longer drive…..so of course, i went back to work…..but what i could earn…..would not pay the bills…..lost the house, returned the car to the bank…..found a cheaper house that my salary could pay….end of story…now owe less than 10,000 on the house we are buying from a private person…..never been late on a house payment in 7 years…..have not had any utilites turned off….do not use credit at all……so my credit score is under 600….because the house is not reported.

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

        Could we suggest getting your free credit score from Credit.com? It comes with a personalized explanation of why your score is what it is. That is a low score for no issues other than the house sale not being reported. You should also take a look at your free credit reports (one from each of the three major credit reporting agencies) and dispute any errors. Here’s how to get your free annual credit reports. Should you find mistakes, here’s how to dispute them:
        A Step-By-Step Guide to Disputing Credit Report Mistakes

      • jgsanfrancisco

        THIS is exactly what I’m talking about. Life happens to people and it can be really harsh. Some people seem to think they’re immune to misfortune but it can happen to anyone, anytime. I wish you luck. I’m working on my credit score now (after a lot of similarities) and it’s slowly going up. Best wishes to you!

  • rwmasengale

    I have to agree with you, jgsanfrancisco.

    Even working as a defense contractor isn’t a guarantee. I am working in that realm now, but my credit score moved from 400 to 750 in the first few years after my divorce, then plummeted back down to 450 due to college being rough financially. My wife doesn’t have the ability to work due to disability, and I have 3 kids. I was only able to afford school because I’m a disabled veteran who had a couple of low paying jobs, had to get food stamps, and I used my credit cards a lot during the tough months. (Breaks between semesters don’t pay out at all, including Winter Break.) Even with summer classes, I was scrambling for at least 4 months out of the year.

    I know I’ll be able to build back up, but it’s going to be a hard road until I get my debt paid off.

    Growing up, my family couldn’t really help me understand how to save money as they were never that great at it. Even in the military most low rank soldiers lived paycheck to paycheck if they had a family. Outside the military I didn’t know ANYONE that didn’t live close to paycheck to paycheck (including business owners) until I started working in IT (after school).

    It’s a new environment for me; being surrounded by people who aren’t doing poorly. I won’t be doing as well as those whose spouses can work as well as themselves, but my family will build back up, and be stronger for it.

    I still don’t really have savings (outside of the 401k I just started and can’t really touch), and don’t really expect to be able to properly invest in a proper emergency fund for about a year. I am pushing to raise my credit now because I’d like to have the ability to actually buy a home. It won’t be easy, but it’s cheaper than renting.

    Demonizing those who struggle is easy to do when you aren’t… Until you are… Then you gain empathy. It’s easy to feel like you are stable enough to never have to worry until you are laid off because of a medical issue or a recession and it takes you months, possibly years, to recover because you are forced to work minimum wage (if you can find a job like that) and dwindle your savings while looking for a job that you qualify for. The recession taught many people that it can happen to anybody, regardless of forethought, preparation, or current stability.

    I do applaud those who are still floating relatively well after the recession’s worst times. It is a hell of an accomplishment. It’s just necessary to understand that not everyone did.

  • rwmasengale

    Because simply paying your bills isn’t enough to show that you are ‘worth the risk’. You have to have loans… a car payment, a mortgage, a few loans from your bank. At the same time, you have to keep a decent debt to credit ratio, ensuring you still make enough compared to your debt to be able to afford more debt.

    If you don’t take any risks, then you are less likely to be trusted with risks (as that’s what loans are, and that’s what your credit score is for).

  • rwmasengale

    When my ex left, she just left. She didn’t care about the credit cards, hardly asked about her daughter, and I had to change bank accounts just to stop her from taking money from me. I had no choice but to take all the debt on for both of us, as she wasn’t working on any of it (as far as I could tell).

    It took years to fix my credit from that, but it can be done.

    • MollyMcGuier

      So cool to see you hanging TUFF!! Most of us, “GUYS” end up looking like the idiots…. Stay at home dad for 12 years now… I have no problem cooking up some bacon for the bread winner… 19 years this June. Hope ya find the right one bro!!!

  • tim simms

    But I’m on the computer making money. Would you have me change my profession?

  • tim simms

    You say that,”our assumption is the arrogant one.” It’s clear that your assumption is, but you’ve used the first person plural, which indicates that you are not alone in your arrogance. Who is with you?

    • Devlin

      lol

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

    Thanks for sharing your story – sounds like you have a great attitude!

  • Pete

    No, Credit Score reflects the discipline and responsibility characteristics of a person. I started at 690 after my divorce, through discipline and hard work I have raised my credit FICO score to 840. Discipline, accountability and responsibility unfortunately are terms our “liberal” society does not want to address!!

  • MollyMcGuier

    Hope you see this. It has been almost half a year. 6 more months and my equity loan becomes a CAR LOAN. SOME credit unions will accept certified notary papers explaining your predicament and WILL consider such in any decisions concerning loans. You can and SHOULD also have an addendum added to your FICO or credit report. You may need a lawyer for this. It will be a lot faster and cheaper than TRYING to have the ex’s obligations removed. If i were to see your divorce papers i could advise you better but the man stating that you are still responsible could be mistaken. I am NOT an expert in finance. I practice criminal behavior. Any lawyer worth his spit will tell you.. “If you can afford it i can make it happen” Sorry, just trying to make you smile. 616 is not the end of the world and certainly better than MANY AMERICANS TODAY! I HATE CREDIT CARDS. I advise 12 month loans of 1.5-2k from a credit union. Have the loans paid directly out of your checking or savings. To be sure there is NO MISTAKES. Ask for your exact total interest payment. Be certain you add this to the account that will be paying off the loan. Be smart. Make sure there are no other fees or costs.Check on your loan at least once a month. At a decent credit union a loan like $1500 shouldn’t cost you more than $150 for the year and the next one less and less… 616? you may even end up paying way less on a 12 month loan… Anyway, that is how I did it. Or should i say my wife?? Think of this. Every year I have a giant 4th of July party. Every June I take a personal loan of $1500 from my CU. I purchase fireworks wholesale and set up a stand. By the time of my party on the first Saturday AFTER the 4th of July. I have not only financed the entire party but also have all the money to pay back my loan. These loans usually cost me $40. Now imagine I did this with a credit card instead? Let’s say the standard store credit finance charge of 29%. That is making me sick….. So, GOOD LUCK…. let me know how you made out.

  • MollyMcGuier

    Very similar beginnings you and I. The medical bills ALWAYS GET PAID LAST. Bro, if your at 639 I am sure you have learned enough to stop paying that $100 a month. Here is a trick to boost the score without adding debt and costing WAY less. Join a credit union. Do you own a car? it doesn’t matter… Join the CU and take out 12 month loans of $1500. Once you get the loan put it in the checking account and FORGET IT IS EVEN THERE. Set the payment so it is auto drafted from your account and just make sure you remember to deposit the interest. repeat the following year. If you can get a no fee credit card or maybe a $25 a year CC that you WILL BE ABLE TO PAY IN FULL EVERY MONTH. Use the CC like you would your check book. Balance and DO NOT buy what you do NOT need. Pay in full every month. WAIT! Want a free lunch? lol On that card it is a MUST to leave a small balance. The bank has to get something from you… Take the wife and kid to a fancy restaurant like WENDY’S…lol…. Try to carry a 60-70 dollar balance. Good Luck! my oldest just turned 18. I always worried about raising them, not letting them go.. Peace OUT!

    • Richyrich

      @MollyMcGuier What you mean by “Set the payment so it is auto drafted from your account and just make sure you remember to deposit the interest.” Are you suggesting to use the same money from the loan to pay it off? What interest is being deposited, and it is going back into that same checking account or into savings?

      • MollyMcGuier

        YES> The bank doesn’t care and it builds credit without having to pay. Anyone can fix their credit score for free! All you need is a little self education. People say “YOU” need a credit card for emergencies… BS! Good credit and a good credit union will beat a credit card any day of the week!!!

  • Jeffrey Spence

    Pay your bills and don’t borrow more than you can handle. Credit scores can relate to one’s life style.

  • DJWFLORIDA

    Why does my FICO scre continue to change? It fluctuates fron 832 to 826. I do nothing different…..pay my cards of constantly and some have negative balances (meaning I overpaid and the CC owes me money).

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

      The score is calculated with information available at that time. Since your information fluctuates each month (balances, age of accounts etc.) your score fluctuates. It sounds like you have an excellent score and those small differences won’t mean anything when it comes to getting the best rates. So I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you.

  • Guy

    Everyones credit is falling. Why? Because the average american lives wayyyy beyond their means. They extend themselves via their credit cards as far as they can moderately hold in front of themselves while BARELY maintaining stability. Hence why when the slightest hickup comes along, credit scores come crashing quickly. We all know we do this, why do we pretend we don’t? The fact that we even use credit cards beyond 5-10% utilization PROVES that we live beyond our means. When bad times happen, you weren’t prepared for it financially. Hence why you use your CC more.

  • Break the banks

    Never borrow what you can pay back with a unemployment check. And if it’s not a emergency. Save for it. Don’t charge. You might not get your flat panel TV today but when you do it will actually cost you less so you can buy a bigger one. The banks broke your country by manipulating you into to having it now. So let’s break the banks by putting your cash in your pocket instead of thier pockets.

  • http://dillonfletcher.com Dillon Fletcher

    Ray, Fist let me say I agree with everything you’ve said so far on this blog… hard for many people to hear and maybe even harder for them to even comprehend, but very true, most people live far beyond their means. That being said please look at the process of the securitization of loans which offloaded this risk of loans from banks to an intermediary which are then grouped and sold to investors as MBS (mortgage backed securities) often backed by further layers of securitization. The boom in this practice of offloading risk from banks is the primary cause of the sub-prime mortgage crises.

  • Chickenlittle

    I disagree. I do live in the Bay Area and have a credit score in the 800’s. I pay my student loans on time and any extra money I have I throw at them to cut the principal down as fast as possible. I don’t use my credit card unless I half to. I also pay my bills on time.

    • jgsanfrancisco

      Well then you clearly have a high salary and don’t have to worry. And, by the way, you missed my whole point. People sometimes find themselves in financial predicaments through no fault of their own – job loss, illness, divorce, etc. – that can make life less than perfect and certainly not as neat and tidy as you seem to think it will always be. Life has a way of tossing serious curveballs at people. And if you live in a place like the Bay Area, that can knock you off course pretty harshly and very fast even if you think you’re ‘prepared.’

  • Deano

    when things really crash, the proud will be with the humble. All will have little, who will do the most crying?

  • Court

    Hi I am actually taking a money management class at my local college, it is what actually led me here. I find it to be a very interesting and insightful class. Every school should have a few.

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

      Glad you’re finding it useful!

  • Aggravated

    It is almost impossible to get a good credit score with TransUnion. I pay everything ahead of time and never late. My husband and I have a 6 figure job. We are never late, with any bill. It is being made harder and harder to keep your score higher with the changing in FICO, ADVANTAGE, or PLUS SCORE. Who knows which way a lender is going to choose. A person with a good job, who pays their bills on time everytime can still get screwed! Saddest part, we are far from being over extended! But you do have to keep an eye on your credit reports, because open and in good standing accounts can go to closed and derogatory. I am still cleaning up 3 student loans on all 3 credit bureaus that happened to me. I tried to fix it, had to hire someone to do it for me. Happened in January, dropped my score over 70 points. So you have to keep an eye on the credit bureaus. It’s all a game, they keep your scores low so businesses sell at higher interest rates and they get kick backs. Name of the game. You just have to be better at it than them!

  • Sensia

    630 to 640 is fair and not that bad. But it is the banks and lenders who are pushing what THEY consider good and bad credit. So even if it appears that someone has pretty fair or decent credit scoring, the banks control how the scores are determined and whether or not they want to lend based on those scores. It is often arbitrarily changed from bank to bank, lender to lender. In my opinion we shouldn’t allow banks to control the credit scoring and terms of what is good and bad. Because as it stands now they are the ones in control of the scoring and the system. The middle class and poor do get slammed and the whole thing is rigged plain and simple. There is nothing fair about what big banks do in this regard.

  • Sensia

    Ray the banks set people up to fail by making unreasonable often times high interest rates that are purpotrated on the poor or middle class. If a poor person was given a low interest rate and reasonable payments like the rich often get then I guarantee you they wouldn’t be struggling or failing in paying back loans. In addition the whole system is rigged. There are numerous articles out you can find online that talk about how banks want people to fail on their loans. The reason being is they actually make money on bank loan defaults and foreclosures. That is why they won’t work with people on better monthly terms to salvage people who are struggling in payments due to unexpected economic downturns or losses. You can even read about this in the book called “Greedy Bastards” by Dylan Ratigan who talks about this. It is called “extractionism”. What they did that helped cause the crash of 08 was take their “risky loans” and bundle them up with Triple A rated loans and sell them off to unsuspecting people who were investing in the market. They bought insurance on the faulty loans because they knew they would be loans that would default so that not only did they get money selling them, they got money on the insurance default of those loans. They got paid billions on all those bad loans. They set it up that way on purpose and use the excuse that people who are poor are higher risk, which in fact is not always true. Many people in the US have bought into this crap about “well they are higher risk therefore we charge them more”. Just like people bought into the “trickle down” economics.

  • fred

    They take a higher risk because they charge such outrageous interest that they are setting up the lendee to fail. They increase their own risk. It is not fair nor smart business. It is an easy way to gouge people and then foreclose and recoup a large percentage of the loan and write the rest off and recoup the rest in tax write offs. Win win for the lender either way. Has nothing to do with risk and everything to do with gouging those who can least afford it.

  • fred

    You are an arrogant one. Many people have been killed credit wise by medical bills and other unpredictable events. Yet you claim they chose that road and now have to live with it. Taking advantage of people because of life is a scummy game, yet you and lenders would have us believe it’s fair. Just because it is mathematical it is correct? Talk about a lemming. I don’t need to think for myself they already did it. The king has no clothes. Gouging people increases the lenders risk by setting up the lendee to fail. It is a business model that is a win win for the lender and a lot of risk for the lendee.

  • BubbaShrimp

    There was a time when banks were reluctant to give home loans to Americans. Thanks to FHA loans, many Americans got the opportunity to buy a house. Buying on credit used to be something you did at your local general store or department store—and you had to build a relationship of trust with the managers of the store before you got that kind of deal. I think our modern generation doesn’t understand why credit is a luxury rather than an entitlement. It’s still a system of trust—-although it has been tainted by the mortgage scandals of the late 2000s. The older generation of Americans saved up their money and bought stuff with one payment. Credit cards didn’t exist. We are very lucky to have access to credit, but it’s not a necessity.

  • Scott Parvin

    So hopefully people may read this and get some hope. Unfortunately over the last 2 decades I have had to file bankrupt not once but twice. Both times been loss of really good paying jobs and the economy shifting to overseas slave labor. So really partly my fault living for the times not looking too far ahead. However both times I was not only able to still buy a brand new car “3 months after bankrupt” I was able to thrive financially. In fact just 6 years ago was my last file and I now have a new house new car and about 7 low interest credit cards. I started out the 2nd time slow with a high interest $300 credit card and a high interest local finance loan. Paid perfect for a year then went to my credit union got a low interest loan to pay both off. Credit unions are a great place to get you back up after only a year or 2 of being credit broke. Most banks wont even look at your app as soon as they see chapt 7 or 11 your app is trashed. Building a good re-poor with your local credit union you have a much better chance. Direct deposit to them is always a plus in there consideration. Sure you are going to eat 25-31% interest for year or 2 until you can flip it over. Your Fico score is extremely important if your looking for a home loan. You can look it up but basically is your middle score of the three major credit reporting agencies. So by the time we were ready buy a new house my credit cards were actually dragging my score down over 40pts. Carrying high balances is really bad for your credit health. After much reading I found paying them all down to less than 30% usage got my score where I needed it. Over all when I started the process of buying a new house my Fico was 589 I needed a 640 to get my VA backed loan. There was a few things in my report that were wrong 2 things I got removed and paying the credit cards down in 6 weeks I went to a 646. DONT ever be afraid to challenge a credit agency and dont ever stop disputing an item if you feel its incorrect remember thats you they are broadcasting about and all the lenders care about is that score. Forgot to add the first house we got 20 years ago almost now. I was turned down over 22 times by lenders. The 23rd call I got financed be very persistent and dont take no for an answer. They will tell you that hard credit hits in a short time is bad actually thats not true. The credit agencies will compensate hits as long as its in a short time window and for the same type of credit ask. So basically you can shop around to several banks for a home loan but not a home loan credit card and car loan. Good luck hope you all find any of my ventures useful.

  • j4ckl3

    Cut all mine in half 20 years ago, paid them all off. Never went back. Married, 2 kids, 4 cars and a decent mortgage rate. Live on cash and savings and lay away plans. In 20 years I have learned one thing, credit cards are GARBAGE. Live within your means even if its poor and making balogna sandwiches for lunch and telling people at the office “Nope, packed my lunch.” and driving a beat up car. Trust me. Never went back, have more left on my paycheck to save and put away and best thing I ever did. I still can buy a car and house juuust fine. The offers come in the mail, I rip then in 1/2 and throw them in the trash without a second thought.


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    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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