What is my real credit score and how can I make it better?
I am trying to figure out what my real credit score is and how I can make it the best it can be. But I am a little confused. First, what is the difference between fico score vs credit score you get from a free credit website, like Credit Sesame? Second, what is the distinction between a good score vs. a bad score?
There is always confusion surrounding the topic of credit scores so you’re definitely not alone. This is not made any easier by the fact that there are hundreds of different credit scoring models out there today and each one will give you a slightly different score. You are right to question each score, the importance behind them, and what they mean for your finances.
Let’s tackle your first question first. FICO scores are different from the credit scores you get for free from websites like Credit Sesame because they are created using different algorithms and scoring models. This means that both scores are generated using different factors and the weight behind each of those factors varies as well. This is why you have so many different yet close ranging credit scores. For example, take a look at the following FICO score chart to see how your FICO score is generated:
Now let’s look at the uses of these different scores. FICO scores are made by FICO (the leading US credit scoring agency) and are used by 90% of top lenders across the nation. When you are applying for a new line of credit, most lenders will use this score to judge your creditworthiness. Credit scores that come from free credit score websites are for your personal use only. These scores are accessible to you and help you keep track of your finances. However, these scores will not be used by lenders. This does not make them inaccurate or unreliable, but they will be slightly different than your official FICO score.
Now let’s move on to your second question. It is true that there are many different credit scoring models on the market today, but they all work within the same general range (300-850). This makes it easier for both consumers and lenders to judge creditworthiness no matter what score is used. That being said, there is no exact credit score range chart that can dictate what is a good score vs. a bad score because credit scores are subjective to lenders. As a general guideline though, refer to the following credit score breakdown:
- Excellent: 750+
- Good: 700-749
- Fair: 650-699
- Poor: 550-649
- Bad: -550
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