Credit Score Ranges: What Do They Mean?

Your credit score ranges tell lenders what type of borrower you are. Credit scores are calculated with a formula that uses five variables: payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, credit mix, and new credit.

Your credit score range may affect the interest rate you pay to a lender and even make the difference between a loan being approved or declined. Learn more about credit score ranges and what they mean.

Key Takeaways

  • Credit score ranges help lenders determine the risk of lending to a borrower.
  • Credit scores are based on factors such as payment history, overall debt levels, and the number of credit accounts.
  • You credit score can be a deciding factor on whether you are approved for a loan and at what interest rate.
  • A FICO score between 740 and 850 is considered exceptional while scores between 700 to 750 are considered very good.

Credit Score Basics 

Your credit score is a number that represents the risk a lender takes when you borrow money. A FICO score is a well-known measure created by the Fair Isaac Corporation and used by credit agencies to indicate a borrower’s risk.

Another credit score is the VantageScore, although the FICO score is more commonly used. Both FICO and VantageScore range from 300 to 850, although the ways in which each parses its scores into different classifications vary.

Your credit score calculation represents your credit risk at a moment in time based on information found on your credit report. The higher the credit score, the lower the risk to the lender.

Here are the FICO credit score ranges and what they mean.

Exceptional Credit Score: 800 to 850

A credit score in the range of 800 to 850 means the borrower is consistently responsible when it comes to managing their borrowing. Borrowers with these scores are more likely to qualify for the lowest interest rates.

People with this score have a long history of no late payments, as well as low balances on credit cards. Consumers with excellent credit scores may receive lower interest rates on mortgages, credit cards, loans, and lines of credit, because they are deemed to be at low risk for defaulting on their agreements.

Very Good Credit Score: 740 to 799

A credit score between 740 and 799 means the borrower is generally financially responsible when it comes to money and credit management.

Most of their payments, including loans, credit cards, utilities, and rental payments, are made on time. Credit card balances are relatively low compared with their credit account limits.

Good Credit Score: 670 to 739

Having a credit score between 670 and 739 places a borrower near or slightly above the average of U.S. consumers, as the national average FICO score was 714 in 2022.

While borrower in this credit score range may still earn competitive interest rates, they are unlikely to command the ideal rates of those in the two higher categories, and it may be harder for them to qualify for some types of credit. For instance, if a borrower is looking for an unsecured loan with this score, it’s vital that they shop around in order to find the options that best suit their needs with the fewest drawbacks.

Fair Credit Score: 580 to 669

Borrowers with credit scores ranging from 580 to 669 are thought to be in the “fair” category. They may have some dings on their credit history, but there are no major delinquencies. They are still likely to be extended credit by lenders but not at very competitive rates.

Even if their options are limited, borrows with fair credit scores in need of financing can still findoptions.

Poor Credit Score: Under 580

An individual with a score between 300 and 579 has a significantly damaged credit history. This may be the result of multiple defaults on different credit products from several different lenders. However, a poor score may also be the result of a bankruptcy, which will remain on a credit record for seven years for Chapter 13 and 10 years for Chapter 11.

You can improve your credit score by paying down debt, making timely payments, and avoiding opening new credit.

Borrowers with credit scores that fall in this range have very little chance of obtaining new credit. If your score falls in it, talk to a financial professional about steps to take to repair your credit.

Additionally, so long as you can afford to pay a monthly fee, one of the best credit repair companies may be able to get the negative marks on your credit score removed for you. If you attempt to obtain an unsecured loan with this score, be sure to compare every lender you’re considering in order to determine the least risky options.

How Do You Build Credit With No Credit History?

If you have not established credit year, you will likely a very low credit score. You can start to build credit in several ways, such as using a secured credit card. These cards require a down payment that serves as your credit line, but then as you make payments over time, you build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus.

You may also consider becoming an authorized user on a parent or guardian's credit card or applying for student credit card, which has lower requirements and a smaller credit limit.

What Are the 5 levels of Credit Scores?

The five levels of FICO credit scores are excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor. Your credit score range will determine whether you qualify for loans and at which rates.

Is it Possible to Get a 850 Credit Score?

You can get a 850 credit score, although this score is fairly rare. About 1.2% of Americans who have credit have a perfect 850 FICO score.

The Bottom Line

Your credit score is based on several factors and can be used to determine whether you will qualify to borrow money as well as the terms, including the interest rate of the loan. Consistently paying your bills on time and in full will help prevent damage to your credit score in the future. Given the importance of having a good credit score, it could be worth it to invest in a credit monitoring service to better protect your information.

Article Sources
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  1. Fair Isaac Corporation. "What’s in my FICO® Scores?"

  2. VantageScore. "VantageScore 4.0."

  3. Fair Isaac Corporation. "What Is a FICO Score?: What Is a Good FICO Score?"

  4. Experian. "800 Credit Score: Is it Good or Bad?"

  5. Experian. "What is the Average Credit Score?"

  6. Experian. "What Is a Fair Credit Score?: Do I Want a Fair Credit Score?"

  7. Fair Isaac Corporation. "Chapter 7 & 13: How long will negative information remain on my credit report?"

  8. Experian. "How to ‘Fix’ a Bad Credit Score."

  9. Experian. "Is It Possible to Get a 850 Credit Score?"

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