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What’s a Good Credit Score Range?

What is Considered a Good Credit Score

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A good credit score could quite literally save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars over your lifetime. Everybody knows you need good credit to qualify for the best rates on loans but what’s considered a “good” credit score? And what does it take to join the ranks of the credit elite and enjoy a richer life? It’s a bit more complicated than just “good” vs. “bad” and, among other things, it will take time and patience to build your credit.

For one thing, you don’t have just one score. There’s your FICO score, which is the most well-known and widely used by lenders. All three of the credit reporting bureausExperian, Equifax and TransUnion — each have their own version of this score. Then there’s the VantageScore, which was developed by Experian to compete with FICO. Some lenders also have their own custom scoring models that they use to rate consumers.

With so many different scores floating around, figuring out what counts as “good” credit can be confusing to say the least. Unfortunately, there is not a consistent credit score definition for the various ranges, which makes it all the more difficult to understand and build your credit. However, the point of a credit score is the same across all boards. If you’ve ever applied for a credit card, an auto loan, a mortgage — or any type of financing— you know how important this three-digit number is to your bottom line. The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to qualify for the best interest rates and terms a lender has to offer. The lower your credit score, the more you’ll pay in interest on everything you finance. And in some cases, if your score is too low, you may not qualify at all.

Credit Score Ranges

There are various credit score models and versions, which have various credit score ranges.

  • VantageScore 3.0 range: 300–850
  • PLUS Score range: 330-830
  • TransRisk Score range: 100-900
  • Equifax Credit Score range: 280–850
  • Experian National Risk Model range: 360 to 840.

Here is a quick credit score chart from CNN Money.

credit_score_chart

VantageScore scale (versions 1.0 and 2.0): 501–990

  • A-901-990
  • B-801-900
  • C-701-800
  • D-601-700
  • F-501-600

FICO system scores range from 300-850

  • Elite-740-& up
  • Prime-700-739
  • Preferred-660-699
  • Standard-625-659
  • Sub-prime-624-& under

Vantage 3.0 system scores range from 300-850

  • A-751-850
  • B-701-750
  • C-641-700
  • D-581-640
  • F-300-580

VantageScores, by comparison, use two different number ranges. The older version goes from 501 at the lowest end and tops out at 990, with anything over 800 being good credit. VantageScore 3.0 uses the same range of 300-850 as FICO but because the model is so new, it’s tough to pinpoint exactly what a good score is.

Anything above 760 is generally considered to be excellent credit while anything less than 680 falls into the fair or bad credit category. That narrow gap in-between is what is a good credit score number. On the other hand, 850 is the best FICO credit score possible. But is a perfect score really necessary? The answer is no, and striving for perfection could cause more damage than good if you’re not careful. A perfect 850 credit score is attainable, but most consumers just need an “excellent” credit score to reap most of the financial benefits. The fact is lenders aren’t looking for perfection. They’re looking for good credit risk, or rather, a borrower who will pay a loan back in full and on time. Even if you have a score of 800+, or somehow manage to reach that ever elusive 850, you’ll still qualify for the same interest rates as someone with a 780. Be aware, it is important to note that credit score ranges can change as the lending practice changes.  “Probably a few years ago, a 720 was a pretty good score,” said Steve Ely, president of North American Personal Solutions at Equifax. “Today’s 760 is what a 720 used to be.”

What Affects Your Score the Most

FICO scores and VantageScores aren’t just made up numbers. They’re calculated using the information that’s in your credit report. That includes things like your account balances and your payment history. If you want to get your score into “good” or “excellent” territory, you have to know what can push it up or down.

Earning a credit score of 800 or higher will put you well within the ranks of the credit elite. No one else will receive a better loan than you, and no one will pay lower interest rates. How do you join the credit elite? It starts with developing the right credit habits and then gradually allowing them to build over time. Here are seven habits that will help pave your way to the 800+ club:

How to Get Good Credit

  1. Always pay on time— no exceptions. Your payment history is the single most important factor in determining your credit score, accounting for 35 percent of the total. If you’re striving for perfection – or close to it, the last thing you want to do is miss a payment or pay late.
  2. Watch your credit card balances—less is more for your credit score. The proportion of your balances in relation to their credit limits on your credit cards can have a drastic impact on your credit score. For optimum results, aim to keep your credit card utilization to 10 percent or less.
  3. Apply for credit sparingly. How often you apply for new credit accounts for 10 percent of your score. Too many inquiries in a short period of time can wreak havoc on your credit score. While not a large percentage, every point counts when you’re aiming high.
  4. Live within your means. When you apply for credit, only apply for what you can realistically afford and never spend more than you earn. This will keep you from overextending yourself financially. Over time, these positive accounts will help you build a solid, lengthy credit history — another habit that will push you toward your goal.
  5. Mix it up and diversify. Credit scoring models love to see that you’re able to manage and maintain a variety of accounts. By gradually adding various types of accounts — credit cards, auto loans, student loans, or a mortgage — you’ll be well on your way to reaching your goal.
  6. Focus on the long haul. The longer you’ve had credit, and the older your credit accounts get, the better for your credit score. Credit scores love stability and to break into the 800s, they want to see a history of accounts that have been open for ten years or more.
  7. Wash, rinse, repeat — and track your progress. With credit scores, consistency is key. This means repeating the steps and staying the course. Over time these habits will insure that you reach your goal. And to make sure you stay on track, it’s also wise to periodically check your credit score and monitor your progress.

These points will not only help learn how to build good credit, but more importantly how to maintain good credit. Most people get credit hungry after they hit that top bracket and begin to fall back down when they overreach their ability to pay of debt. They end up either having too many balances, making late payments, or worse. So make sure you are on top of your finances and sustain that success by being responsible.

Is Good Credit Good Enough?

People tend to get fixed on what counts as “good credit” or “bad credit” but the better question is how far will a good credit score really take you? While you can get approved for loans with a FICO score in the 680-760 range, you’re not necessarily going to get the lowest rates. For that, you’d need a higher score.

Aiming for a minimum FICO score of 760 can translate to easier approvals and less interest you’re going to pay on credit cards or loans. Once you get to this point, it’s not a huge leap to push your score into the 800+ range. If you can do that, then you’re pretty much guaranteed to get the best rates on anything you borrow.

But there is another reason why you should aim for a higher score: employment. Randy S. Strauss, managing partner of recruiting firm Strauss Group Inc, says there are several reasons why job applicants are ‘scored’ for their credit worthiness. “The primary reason is to give the hiring authority a ‘measure’ of reliability about the individual.” Strauss says being responsible or reliable is difficult to assess with a resume. But a poor credit report may indicate that the individual is not acting responsibly in their personal life.  It can also be an indicator of how that person views responsibility, including how the individual follows rules, respects authority, is organized, etc., says Strauss. You’ve got to grant a prospective employer permission to check your credit. But saying no isn’t always an option. Some experts say refusing is akin to refusing a breathalyzer test. Your resistance will imply you’ve got something to hide.

If you do have good credit and are looking to make a job change, these careers and industries might be for you:

  • Finance – Excellent credit is king in the finance industry, especially if money issues are dealt with on a daily basis (like in banking), says Caroline Ceniza, a career coach and recruiter who teaches professional development at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and Salary Negotiation at Barnard College. “The thinking is that [credit] is a signal of that person’s financial ability and the employer wants to make sure a potential employee doesn’t have a conflict to doing a good job. Money troubles may cloud their thinking about the company’s money issues.” But demonstrating you’re adept at handling your own finances tells hiring managers in the banking and finance industry that you’re the person for the job to help keep customer’s finances on the right track, too.
  • Secret Service/Spy – Many government institutions, such as the CIA and FBI, scrutinize credit information and financial disclosures when granting security clearances says Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations for Freedom Financial Network. The thinking here is also based on the demonstration of stability. If you’re stressed out worrying about past due notices, you might not be able to keep your cool in the field. A solid credit profile also sends the message that you’re responsible and dependable. All things super spies definitely need to be!
  • Manager – Gallegos says although it varies by company, anyone applying for mid-level management positions and above should expect a prospective employer to want to run a credit check and to expect an applicant has good credit. Employers want their leaders to be fiscally sound. That’s because if you can’t manage your finances and stick to a personal budget, you might not be able to keep the company from running into the red or spotting where and how to trim the fat should the company get into a financial bind.

The Bottom Line

Whether or not you’ve got a good credit score is all about perspective. If you’re not planning to take on any new loans or lines of credit, you might be satisfied with a score that straddles the line between “fair” and “excellent”.

On the other hand, if you’re planning to get a mortgage or open a new credit card then the difference between “good” and “excellent” becomes a lot more important. Ultimately, a good credit score is the one that qualifies you for the best rates possible. Once you reach that bracket you can get into the credit cards for good credit range and reap the rewards of having a great financial standing.

Get Your Free Credit Score

Knowing what score you need, though, is only half the equation—you also need to do the legwork to get the score. Credit Sesame gives you access to a free credit score, with free updates every month so that you can track and monitor your credit score progress. To help you along the way, there are some fundamentals that will earn you a credit score that will land you the best lenders have to offer.

With a few key steps and some due diligence, an excellent credit score—and the interest rates that come with them—can be yours!

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54 responses to “What’s a Good Credit Score Range?”

  1. Naomi says:

    I am confused by the credit score definition often time. not mentioned the credit score range. what is a excellent credit score v.s good credit score. Is 680 always a excellent credit score?

    • Pauly says:

      Hi Naomi, although I’m no credit expert, I have learned in the past that a good credit score number to have is really determined by the economic situation, whether in the US or other countries in the world that have strong economic ties to the US – ie. Canada, UK, etc. Building a good credit score is always important, and should be done regardless – but different times will determine if it is worth giving a loan, mortgage, etc. from banks or other instituations. I have had a credit score of 720 and was defined a mortgage from a bank, but again this was post 2008 – I’m sure prior to that you would could of been approved with a score like that quite easily from most places.

      Hope that helps!

    • Lynn says:

      I am new to this country and I would like to ask is a high credit score good or bad? I am thinking based on the above charts that I want a high score…I am more likely to get approved for credit if my credit score is higher. So if my credit score is higher then my risk is lower. Is this right? Thank you in advance.

    • Ruby says:

      Judging between a good or bad credit score might be more helpful than debating whether a score is good or really good. What is a good or bad credit score depends on a number of variables, but if you are simply looking for what is the range of a good credit score vs. a bad credit score, check out the following:

      -Excellent: 750+
      -Good: 700-749
      -Fair: 650-699
      -Poor: 550-649
      -Bad: 550-

  2. Bruce says:

    My credit score range varies from 720 to 780 over the past a few months. I shopped and opened up a credit line. During the holiday season, my credit score usually dip down. I didn’t use a high percentage of credit. What happened?

    • Grace says:

      I believe anything in that range (720-780) can be considered good credit scores. You will likely qualify for most loans and lines of credit you apply for. Just make sure you pay off all your holidays spending debt and keep your credit utilization around 30% on that new card of yours! Anything above 700 are good credit score ranges so keep up the good work!

  3. Jeremiah says:

    is 650 a good credit score? I received a different grades from websites. C,D. I wish the credit score scale and ratings are standardized

    • Shea says:

      I agree! It’s very hard to tell whats good credit score when I get different scores from different credit bureaus. Which score is the most accurate??

  4. Thomas says:

    What is the average credit score in United states. Is a fair credit score or good credit score considered as an average credit score? How can I build a high credit score fast

  5. Kimberely says:

    Whats a good credit score for someone who just finished college and has over 50K in student loan debt? I want to compare to others as I want to know how big a whole I dug myself before I go into the workign world.

    • Maureen says:

      Hi Kimberly,

      It’s hard to know what credit score is considered good. I also had student loans (around $75,000) and I didn’t start paying them off until after graduation. However, I found that as long as I paid at least the monthly minimum on time every month, my credit score did not take a nose dive. I’m not so sure about college graduates, but I have read from multiple sources that most young adults (age 20-30) have a credit score in the 600s. I would recommend checking your credit report to get a better look at your financial situation and make sure you don’t have any outstanding, late payments as they hurt your credit score the most. Hope this helps!

  6. Yovanna says:

    Is 600 a good credit score to have when applying for a house loan? I’ve recently had some credit trouble and dropped back down but working hard to get a good credit score rating again. I have collected pay stubs, utility bills, and other financial documents that will show that I’ve been financially responsible with my credit. Will that help me get approved? How good is my credit score for a loan?

    • James says:

      Just wondering if an expert can help me. Is 630 a good credit score? With having that type of credit rating what can I expect in terms of loans? or if I got a mortgage for a house? Should I wait until it’s higher or will the interest rates be manageable?

      Thanks for the help CS!

  7. Frankie says:

    Is 680 a good credit score to get a car loan? I know it isn’t all that high, but I’ve heard so many commercials where they don’t care much for your credit score and base your approval on other items. Is this true?

    • Mandy says:

      I’m a little unclear myself as to what credit score is good for an auto loan. I know that there are different credit scoring models for a car loan vs. other lines of credit – but I don’t know the specifics of how your scores will fluctuate. That information would be very helpful to know CS!

  8. Lee says:

    My credit score is 658, is that good for a mortgage loan or should I wait until I get it higher? I have a few stock options that I invested in and have my car paid off completely, but my credit card situation isn’t that great. Any advice?

  9. Courtney says:

    I’m a college student and I’ve only had a credit card for 4 years. What is a good credit score for a college student? Thanks.

    • Caitlyn says:

      I think what is considered a good credit score for a college student is synonymous with a good credit score for anyone. Overall, whats considered a good credit score is any number above 700. I know it can be harder to obtain a good credit score with a short credit history, but as long as you are doing everything you can to maintain good financial standing you should be setting yourself up for success.

    • Josh says:

      I think this article gives a good synopsis of how to maintain a good credit score. But when it comes to college students/recent grads, it can definitely be hard to stay on top of student loans and not max out a credit card or two – unfortunately, I know from experience. I wish I had known the importance of my credit score before graduating and racking up so much debt. While tackling debt can be done, it’s by no means a fast and painless process.

      • David says:

        Hi Josh,

        What is a very good credit score range for someone who is 21 years old? Just about to graduate and have been building my credit for the last 2 years. Right now I’m sitting about 690 last time I checked. Is my credit score good or bad considering my age?

        Thanks!

        • Josh says:

          Hi David,

          I’m glad that as a soon-to-be college grad you are concerned about your credit score – most people your age don’t even know what it is let alone why is a good credit score important! A 690 isn’t terrible for someone your age because you most likely have a very short credit history. Just make sure that you don’t have a lot of outstanding debt and that you make payments in full and on time – that’s one way how to have a good credit score and keep it that way!

  10. Naoko says:

    What’s a good credit score for a university student? I am not sure if i have a good credit score, is 687 a good score?

    • Ricardo says:

      Hi Naoko,

      There are quite a few guides already out there on how to build credit score fast, Credit Sesame themselves have a few points on that that I found useful. Other resources exist on their competitors sites, which I obviously won’t mention here. 640 is a decent score, but in terms of being accepted or declines is really dependent on other factors as well – not sure your score. It also depends on which provider you apply with. I’d suggest you focus more on building your score higher to get a lower rate more possible.

      • Naoko says:

        Thanks Ricardo.
        So is a high credit score good for everything? Are there any downsides to a high credit score I should know about?

  11. Ally says:

    Is it really all that important what credit score is good? I mean in terms of a specific number. I was under the impression that this articled explained it doesn’t necessarily matter what your numerical score is, but it’s more important what range you fall into…

  12. Beth says:

    Whether you have a good or bad credit score, it is definitely important to know what that score is. Just because you have a 740 score you don’t always know what range that will put you in, depending what credit scoring model is being used.

  13. Hilary says:

    Is 640 a good credit score for someone who is 25 years old? I want to get a mortgage in the next year or so and wanted some advice on where I stand in terms of rates and possibility of getting a loan.

    • Neal says:

      I would like to know too! I have similar score and am looking for a loan. Is 639 a good credit score for someone around 27? Thnx

      • Pat says:

        639 is a fair score, but it won’t get you the best rates on loans. However, this will vary based on lenders and the type of loan you are looking into. For example, if you want to know what is a good credit score for a personal loan you will need to have a score above 750. On the other hand, if you want to know what is a good credit score for an auto loan you will only need a score of 650. It is best to ask lenders and speak with a finance expert that can really give you some personalized advice on your specific financial situation. Hope this helps!

    • Mark L. says:

      To be honest I don’t think that what is considered a very good credit score depends much on your age. I understand that if you are younger you may not have as long of a credit history which can keep your score from being part of the exclusive 800 club, but you can still have a good score. And a good score is a good score, no matter your age. That being said, if you want to know whats a good credit score number you should aim to be above 650-700.

    • Y. Shaffer says:

      If you need to know what is a good average credit score 640 is a good place to sit at. You can definitely find a mortgage to purchase your first home next year. Unfortunately, for your situation, you will not be offered the most competitive rates. This means that you will have to pay a larger down payment and your loan will come with a higher interest rate. As for what is a good credit score for a mortgage loan to get the best rates – you should aim to be at 750 or above. I suggest really working on improving your credit during the next year to hopefully improve your score! I know Credit Sesame has a lot of good articles on how to get good credit score fast on this website so check them out! They’ve proved helpful to me in the past.

  14. Kevin says:

    I just signed up for Credit Sesame and got my score: 720. I was pleasantly surprised as I do have a history of debt. But I’m wondering, is 720 a good credit score for opening a new line of credit? I want to get a miles card since I travel so much for work. But will this hurt my credit even more? Will I even get approved for the card??

    • James says:

      It can be hard to know how to keep a good credit score once you have one, especially if you are looking into new lines of credit – a mortgage, credit card, car loan, etc. But if you have a good solid score, anything above 700, I think you should be approved for most credit – just maybe not at the most competitive rates. As for maintaining good credit, a new line of credit shouldn’t hurt you too bad – just make sure not to shop around too much because every inquiry could set you back a couple points!

      • Sarah G. says:

        Hey James,
        I was wondering if you know what is a good credit score for a home loan and what is a good credit score to get an apartment as well? Is it the same idea?

        • Tarren says:

          You will most definitely need to know how much is good credit score when looking to purchase new place of residence, especially if you need a loan, but whether you are looking to buy a house or an apartment makes no difference. Your credit score can help or hurt you get good loan options. So you should look into what is a good credit score to purchase home or apartment in your area because lenders factor this into their calculations when deciding if a borrower is worth lending to or not.

  15. Sunny W. says:

    O.K. so we know what score ranges for Vantage is a certain grade but what is a good vantage credit score? Would it be anything in the A and B range?

    • Mike says:

      Yes, it appears based on above tables that VantageScore rating of A or B represents what’s good credit score overall. Unfortunately, I do not meet those ranges but I need to buy a car soon for my job. Is a 630 credit score good for a auto loan or will I not get approved? I don’t want to have an inquiry on my report and decrease my score without getting the loan.

  16. Skippy T says:

    Hey all-
    I’m 22 and trying to get my first car. What is a good auto insurance credit score? My credit score is 650 is that good? How good is a 650 credit score in general?

  17. Laurel L. says:

    What would be considered a good credit score for a 30 year old and how do i know if my credit score is good? I am trying to go back to school for my masters degree. What are good credit score ranges if I want to get a student loan?

    • J says:

      It seems you need to know what is a good credit score for a loan, but different loans have different score requirements. At least that’s what I have been led to believe. If you need to know what is a good credit score to get a loan, let’s say for a car, you can lower your expectations. But if you need a loan for a house, you will need a higher score so be prepared for that.

  18. Cory J. says:

    My credit score is 800 is that good? I would like to know, is a credit score of 800 good or average? How good is a credit score of 800 for someone who has been working on credit for 10 years? I am looking to get a new car and would need an auto loan. I’m not sure if my score is good enough for the best auto loan and insurance rate. What is good credit score for auto loan and what is a good auto insurance credit score? Please let me know, especially if you’ve had first-hand experience.

    • Buddy says:

      When people ask what number is a good credit score it’s tricky to answer because credit scores are so personalized. There are also many different scoring models and therefore many different scores associated with each and every person. Not to mention lenders view credit scores differently. So really whats a good credit score to have?? Although they are subjective, I think it is safe to say that any score of 800 or above is excellent. After all, there’s a reason they call it the 800 club! So congrats, man – that’s quite the accomplishment :)

  19. Joe says:

    Credit is so confusing!!! And it’s not just me, if you search what is a good credit score Yahoo answers is filled with a million different answers from a million different people. These forums are supposed to be helpful but I think they just create more confusion tbh. This article is helpful in explaining good to bad credit scores, but I think it’s going to take practice and time for me to gain a deeper understanding of how to build my credit.

  20. Donna says:

    This has been so helpful in helping me to understand what my credit score means! I am proud to announce that I have a score of 765 which is great considering I am looking to buy a new car this year. However, do you have any further information on ways to maintain a good credit score? I don’t want to do something and ruin my score without knowing!

  21. Carey says:

    Congrats Donna! You seem to know what is a good credit score for auto loan and I am wondering if you could give some advice. I am also looking to purchase a new car in 2016 but I don’t know if now is the right time to buy. I know I have a good score but is a 700 credit score good for an auto loan? Do you think I will get the best rates or should I try and build my credit a bit more before applying for a loan? Thank you!!

  22. Derek says:

    Thank you Credit Sesame!! I am an economics teacher and I have had trouble helping my students understand the meaning and importance of credit. Just the other day I had one student as me is 1200 a good credit score?!!! I will definitely be sharing this article, along with some others I’ve found on your site, as I think they are informative in an easy to understand sort of way.

  23. Heath says:

    No longer am I wondering what is a good credit score to have, but I am left wondering what does having a good credit score mean? Why should I be worried about what some score is, especially if there are different versions of the same score?? I know it is important to take care of your finances and I do try to do that to the best of my ability. I’m just not convinced worrying about my credit score is worth the time.

  24. Sarah says:

    What are the benefits of having a good credit score when applying for a new credit card? I know that I will get better interest rate options, but will I get better rewards perks or cash back offers?

  25. Bruna Costa Rocha says:

    Is a credit score of 630 good or bad for someone who is 22 years old and fresh out of college? I’m looking into investing into some real estate property and wanted to know if I’d get accepted for a loan. Currently, I have a job and am earning $55k per year, with about $10k debt.

    • Sam says:

      It sounds like you are doing well for yourself, although it might be hard for you to get approved for a mortgage loan at the moment for a couple of reasons. First and foremost you need to consider what is a good credit score for buying a home. With a 630 I don’t think you will be approved for a loan with competitive rates and at this point in your life it’s not really worth it for you to take on more debt just for an investment. Keep in mind that your score is probably not as high as it could be because you do not have a long enough credit history. Also, make sure to keep making your student debt payments in full and on time each month. A score of 750 or above is what is considered good credit score for mortgage loan just fyi.

  26. Ronn says:

    I am starting my own business and was advised to use a separate business credit score as opposed to my own when running the financial side of things. However, I don’t really know the difference between the two. For example, what is a good business credit score and is it judged differently than a personal credit score? Also, where can I get my business credit score from?

  27. Jeremy says:

    Hi, I’m doing a project for my high school AP economics class and I was hoping to get some points clarified. First, is a good credit score high or low and what distinguishes between the two? Second, do you need a credit score to get a job, to leave the country, or to buy certain things? I know you need it to get loans in order to buy certain things, but if you had enough cash to pay for a new car in full, do they care if you have a credit score – whether or not its good or bad?

    • Serafina says:

      Yes, to my belief a good credit score is high and a bad credit score is low. According to Suze Orman good credit score is anything above a 760. And it is truth that you need to know what is a good credit score to buy a home if you need mortgage, but if you can pay up front all cash then I don’t think credit score matter. And I do know that jobs look at your credit so you should look at tips for good credit score before application.

  28. Doug says:

    Now that I know different credit bureaus offer different scores, I feel as though I need to know what a good score is for each of them since they are bound to be different. Like what is a good beacon credit score vs. what is a good FICO credit score? Or is it not that important what is a good credit rating score from one bureau to the next? I;m just trying to figure out my finances and it’s proving to be a lot more complicated that I had imagined – no wonder accountants make so much money!!

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