Understanding Credit Score Ranges: Learn Where You Stand

August 4, 2020 | by Jacob Hamilton

women credit score paper

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Credit score ranges are usually between 300 – 850, but there are different ranges that can go as low as 250 and as high as 900. It all depends on how your credit is being scored.

You may not realize it, but you actually have many different credit scores and depending on who is looking at your credit score and how they’re looking at it, your lender may pull a score you’ve never seen before.

How do you keep track of your scores? And what credit score ranges should you pay the most attention to?

What Are the Credit Score Models?

There are two main credit score models: FICO® Score and VantageScore. There are different versions each—over half a dozen versions of FICO and a few of VantageScore—and you could see different scores between the two.

credit score range

FICO Score

FICO models are used in over 90 percent of all lending decisions. Lenders started using the FICO model in 1989, and as lending practices and credit have evolved, so has the score itself, meaning that your FICO Score could change depending on the version that’s used.

The most commonly used model is the FICO Score 8. Depending on the credit reporting agency and your credit history, other versions of the FICO Score may be used.

In summer 2020, FICO is releasing an updated scoring system with the FICO Score 10 Suite. This new update may increase the gap between people with good credit and bad credit, and may impact your score. If you’re curious about how it may change your score, talk to your lender.

VantageScore

VantageScore is a newer method of scoring. It was created in 2006 by the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Just like FICO, VantageScore has updated over time, resulting in different scores from each version. Earlier versions used a range of 501 – 990, whereas the VantageScore models 3.0 and 4.0 use a range of 330 – 850. Depending on the version your lender uses, your score may mean something different.

What Are the Credit Score Ranges?

Credit scores in the U.S. fall on a scale of 300 to 850 on both the FICO and VantageScore models. Each credit score range is outlined below to help you better understand your own score.

Excellent Credit Score Range

Having an excellent credit score is like having an A+ in finances. It shows lenders that you’re financially trustworthy, pay your bills on time and that you have an amazing credit utilization ratio.

FICO considers a credit score to be excellent if it’s between 800 and 850. VantageScore provides a little more wiggle room with a range of 750 to 850 and calls it “exceptional” instead. Nevertheless, having a credit score in this bracket is your goal.

Good Credit Score Range

A good credit score shows that you’re fiscally responsible and can manage finances well. Although you’re not in the A+ range, your score is still very strong and you’re still likely to receive excellent terms on any money you borrow.

VantageScore’s range is 700 to 749 and is called “good,” while FICO’s range is 740 to 799 and is called “very good.”

Fair Credit Score Range

Having a fair credit score isn’t necessarily bad. You may see more rejections on loans and credit cards, but you’ll be ok for the most part. The FICO range for a “fair” score is between 670–739. However, be aware that VantageScore labels it as “poor” with the range being between 650–699.

Poor Credit Score Range

A general rule of thumb is that any credit score below 650 is bad, but not all is lost. You’re not at rock bottom with a poor credit score yet. In fact, you can still get a loan with bad credit.

FICO calls a credit score within the 580–669 range “fair,” whereas VantageScore considers a range from 600–649 “bad.”

Your credit and loan options will be limited and the terms won’t be in your favor. You’ll have a better chance aiming to improve your credit score than you will trying to get a loan that isn’t favorable to you.

Bad Credit Score Range

FICO names any credit score that’s within the 300–579 range as “very poor,” while VantageScore labels anything between 300–599 as “bad.” Nevertheless, having a low credit score is a red flag for many lenders and can prevent you from getting approved.

The good news is that your credit score isn’t a set number that follows you for the rest of your life. It’ll take time, but you can repair your credit through professional services and by staying vigilant with your finances.

Your credit score will also look different in other countries. Each country has its own credit reporting companies, with unique systems and different laws in place. Keep that in mind if you ever plan to live internationally.

Where Does Your Credit Score Come From?

Your credit score is based on information gathered from lenders and creditors and reported in a monthly credit report to the three major credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

credit reporting sources

The important thing to understand about the different agencies is that they all provide information on your financial habits based on compiled data, but they don’t communicate with one another. For example, this means that your score on your TransUnion account can be different on your Equifax account.

All credit scores are compiled from information obtained through these agencies. This information—which is listed in your credit report—is considered based on five factors:

  1. Payment history is the most important factor and refers to your payment record and if you’ve paid your bills on time.
  2. Credit utilization, or how much credit you’re using, is another large factor that influences your score.
  3. Credit age, or the length of time you’ve been cultivating credit, is the third major factor influencing your credit.
  4. Credit mix refers to the variety of your credit cards, mortgages, student loans or other credit lines you have open.
  5. New credit refers to the amount of recent accounts that you’ve tried to open, but it’s not as influential as the other factors.
different score ranges

Being in a high credit range has its perks, but if you find that you’re in need of a credit score boost, there are actions you can take. It’s to routinely check your credit score for any discrepancies and get professional help from a credit repair service if you need extra assistance.


Jacob Hamilton

Jacob Hamilton

GM of CreditRepair.com

With his master's degree from the University of Phoenix, Jacob has been working as the General Manager for CreditRepair.com for 2 years. Jacob is passionate about consumer finances and doing everything he can to make credit repair accessible....

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