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Credit Score

What Does Your Credit Score Range Mean?



My credit repair journey started when I had a credit score in the 530’s. I was unable to even get approved for a credit card, let alone a mortgage loan.

This was the point when I said enough is enough and set out to learn everything there is to know about improving credit scores.

How Do I Get a Better Credit Score?

Many of you have a very good credit score in the 700’s and low 800’s but might not know how to fine-tune your credit in such a way as to get a perfect score. This post will explain in detail how to tweak the scoring system to achieve the maximum FICO score. The truth is, you don’t need a perfect credit score in order to be approved for a loan.

If your credit score is under 750, you probably have a negative entry like a late payment. The easiest way to quickly improve your credit score is to get that negative entry removed. If you’re the type of person who would rather have a professional handle it and just be done with the whole thing, I suggest you check out Credit Saint.

Credit Score Ranges

Here’s how to find out exactly where your credit score falls in the range of scores.

  • Excellent (780+): With an excellent score of 780 or higher you will get the best rates available.
  • Very Good (720 – 779): This is a very strong score and you shouldn’t have any problems getting good rates.
  • Good (680 – 719): This is a good credit range to be at, but you won’t get the very best rates.
  • Average (620 – 679): Your score could use some improvements but you should still be able to get decent rates.
  • Poor (580 – 629): A credit score in this range indicates that you’re higher risk and might have trouble finding decent rates.
  • Very Poor (579 or less): Anything less than 580 means that you’re very high risk. Don’t worry though, this can be fixed.

If you want to see your most up-to-date credit score for free, you can get it from TransUnion.

 

credit-score-range

Credit Scores Scale Chart

Very Poor Poor Average Good Very Good Excellent
579 619 679 719 779 800+
578 618 678 718 778 799
577 617 677 717 777 798
576 616 676 716 776 797
575 615 675 715 775 796
574 614 674 714 774 795
573 613 673 713 773 794
572 612 672 712 772 793
571 611 671 711 771 792
570 610 670 710 770 791
569 609 669 709 769 790
568 608 668 708 768 789
567 607 667 707 767 788
566 606 666 706 766 787
565 605 665 705 765 786
564 604 664 704 764 785
563 603 663 703 763 784
562 602 662 702 762 783
561 601 661 701 761 782
560 600 660 700 760 781
559 599 659 699 759 780
558 598 658 698 758
557 597 657 697 757
556 596 656 696 756
555 595 655 695 755
554 594 654 694 754
553 593 653 693 753
552 592 652 692 752
551 591 651 691 751
550 590 650 690 750
549 589 649 689 749
548 588 648 688 748
547 587 647 687 747
546 586 646 686 746
545 585 645 685 745
544 584 644 684 744
541 583 643 683 743
540 582 642 682 742
539 581 641 681 741
538 580 640 680 740
537 639 739
536 638 738
535 637 737
534 636 736
533 635 735
532 634 734
531 633 733
530 632 732
529 631 731
528 630 730
527 629 729
526 628 728
525 627 727
524 626 726
523 625 725
522 624 724
521 623 723
520 622 722
519 621 721
518 620 720
517
516
515
514
513
512
511
510
509
508
507
506
505
504
503
502
501
500

Improving Your Credit Score Range

Like I said, don’t worry if your credit score is sitting at the lower end of the credit score ranges.

You can improve your credit score in no time if you dedicate some time to learning about how credit repair works.

Read my article Starting Your Credit Repair Journey to improve your credit score quickly.

7 Tips to Get a Perfect Credit Score

The first thing to keep in mind is that obtaining a perfect credit score takes time. It’s rather easy to remove negative items from your credit report and get a good score, but a perfect score is another story.

Now, assuming that you don’t have any negative entries on your credit report like late payments or collections, let’s get into the more advanced stuff you’ll need to put into place.

Keep in mind that all of the steps outlined below are based on my personal experience, not crap I’ve read on the internet.

1. Have at Least Three Credit Cards but Only Use One

This first step comes completely from my own experience after experimenting with different techniques. I’ve found that to optimize your credit score, it works best to have no more and no less than three major credit cards. These cards should have long, good payment history, and low utilization (more on this in step 3).

In addition, I’ve found that it’s best to only use one of these cards on a regular basis and simply keep the other two cards with a zero balance. It’s not that you can’t ever use the other two cards, but generally, I like to keep their balances at zero. This technique will maximize your credit score.

2. Have at Least One Gas or Store Credit Card

For the longest time, I resisted getting a store card, such as a Macy’s store card, because I simply didn’t see much of a point in doing so. However, if there is one store you shop at often these store cards do have some nice perks, such as store coupons and reward points.

What I didn’t realize is that for whatever reason it seems that having a store credit card in addition to major credit cards positively impacts your FICO score. I haven’t been able to find much information regarding why this is, but what I can say is that once I got a Macy’s store card and it was reported for one year, my score jumped 20 points.

My recommendation regarding store credit cards is that you pick one that you’ll actually benefit from using. In other words, if you always buy your clothes at Macy’s, it generally makes more sense to use their card rather than a major credit card and receive the membership benefits.

3. Frequently Use Your Credit Card but Never Max It Out

Personally, I’m not the type of person who buys everything on my credit card. I do use one of my credit cards often, however. I’ve found that frequent use of a credit card is needed in order to get the highest FICO score possible. The caveat is that you should never max out this card. In fact, I recommend you pay it down (or off) every month and never get even close to the credit limit.

As a general rule, you should try to keep your credit utilization under 25%. In other words, if you have a credit card with a total credit limit of $1,000, never rack up more than $250 worth of charges on the card. This is why it’s also important to have a credit card with a high limit. For example, my main credit card has a credit limit of $30,000, and I never get even close to 25% utilization. If you don’t have a card with a high enough limit to keep you comfortably under 25% utilization, give the creditor a call and request that they up the credit limit.

4. You Need a Mortgage Loan

You definitely don’t need a mortgage loan to have good credit. However, if you want to max out your credit score, having a mortgage loan with good payment history is a must. Since a mortgage loan is usually a relatively large loan and more difficult to obtain than other installment type loans, such as an auto loan, it shows creditors that you have been responsible enough with your credit to get the mortgage.

FICO recommends that you have a mix of different accounts, so along with credit cards and installment loans, a mortgage loan is the last piece of the pie in order to have a well-rounded credit portfolio. I also want to note that I didn’t start seeing my credit score go up because of the mortgage loan until about a year later, so it definitely takes some time.

You obviously shouldn’t take out a mortgage just to get a perfect credit score. However, mortgage loan is generally considered to be “good” debt, in that interest rates are relatively low and you’re financing something that usually goes up in value. If you don’t already have a mortgage, be sure to fix up your credit report before applying for a mortgage.

5. Significantly Pay Down All Installment Loans

I was surprised by this one, because I always assumed it didn’t matter how much of the loan you had left to repay in regards to your credit score. However, I noticed that once I paid off my auto loans and student loans, my credit score jumped more than 20 points.

The key here is that you pay off as much of the loan as possible, if not all of it. The closer the remaining balance is to zero, the more it will benefit your credit score. For a little bit of perspective, I paid off a $30,000 auto loan, another $20,000 auto loan, and student loans totaling $11,000. Almost immediately after I did this, my credit score improved.

6. Don’t Apply for Loans or Credit Cards for at Least a Year

Once you’ve paid down your installment loans, I suggest you stop applying for loans and credit cards altogether. By this point, you should have a few credit cards in your wallet, a couple of paid off cars, and a mortgage. When you’re in this position, there is really no need to apply for more credit.

By not applying for credit, you won’t get any hard inquires on your credit report and this does wonders for your credit score. If you need to apply for credit, just keep in mind that it will set you back about a year. Again, you should be in a situation by this point where you don’t need anymore credit.

7. Wait, Wait, Then Wait Some More

Lastly, you simply have to continue to establish a positive credit history. That is, keep making your payments on time and make sure you don’t get any negative entries like collections. The older your accounts are the better your credit score will be. For example, my oldest credit card is 15 years old, and my average credit card is 8 years old.

Perhaps waiting is the most difficult, but you really shouldn’t be in a hurry. Once you’ve reached this point, you don’t need much credit anymore, so your score isn’t as important. At this point it all sort of becomes a game to see how high you can go.

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Comments


  1. Have you ever seen anyone with a score of over 830? I heard that it can go all the way up to 850 but never seen any score that high.

      1. Mine is, surprisingly , 836. I just checked it a couple of hours ago. Not totally sure how it improved so much, so quickly. But somehow it did. I’m not going to complain. I’m in Canada, though. Perhaps it’s slightly different here. Or are you here as well?

    1. I’ve never checked my credit score before. I don’t have any credit cards or a mortgage I never have. I just checked and my score is 992 I’m so surprised after reading these comments

      1. Your credit score is false as people with no credit cards and loans have poor credit score usually. This is the only reason why I had applied for a credit card could of years ago.

  2. I had a cosign on a car loan and have improved my credit from bad to average. I sit at 638 at present. My car was recently hit and totaled. The pay out will be enough to cover my car loan with a little extra. I was hoping to get a new car. My credit union approved a lone on my own at 8.9% on a used car or 7.9% on a new but not enough to look at a new car. They said since I have not had a loan of that size before they would not take that step even though my financials show I can afford it (I was pre-approved but the underwriter moved back the amount allowed). Should I see about getting a loan though the dealership (my understanding is they tend to have more give) or is what my bank offering a better choice long term for my credit. One site said not to be afraid to get multiple offers to get the best deal but I am worried doing so could be a big negative with multiple creditors touching my recovering credit score. Also is the rate offered by my credit union going to be about the average or will a dealer offer a lower or higher rate based off of my credit score.

    1. Go directly to the dealership and pass go if you have about $2,000.00. If you lave good credit, and it looks like you do, I’d look in to leasing a car. It’s new and the leasing company will require minimum insurance on the car, so your monthly insurance premiums will be higher and you’ll have a couple of options for the mileage/lease terms. But your monthly payment should be lower than if you buy a car. I leased for 3 years and was going to lease again, but because I had just bought a house, I was out of cash. I was going to go ahead an buy the car and refinance with the leasing company, but after going over my options with the dealership, I found out that since I had a great history with buying/leasing cars (on time payments), I was able to get a brand new car financed without interest. Next car, though, will be a lease. I’m getting older and will be retiring in about 8 years and don’t expect to be driving much after this car bites the dust (about the life span I expect with cars). Good Luck!

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  5. I’ve had a FICO of 836 for a short period. It’s been at 828 for a while now. So I guess it’s theoretically possible to have above 826.

  6. I am 826 and have been as high as 830. I just paid off a JUMBO mortgage, so it will be interesting to see if my rate drops as I don’t need to borrow right now.

  7. I have a credit score of 733 and my girlfriend has a score of 593( due to student loans and high car payments/insurance) can we combine the two scores and have something average? Or is it still poor? We are looking to get an apartment and worried that we wont be approved.

  8. Is there a resource that allows you to view acceptable/average rates one may get on different respective loan types based on their credit standing?

  9. I have a 578 score with one credit bureau and a 676 with another. I know they vary to some degree but how is this possible??

  10. I have a poor credit score of 572, but my 22 year old son has a 729 but with low income. If my income shows I can afford a car payment of $400/mo, can he be a cosigner on a car loan for me?

  11. My credit score is 707, my husband is 565. We need to get a car loan. He is working, I’m not. Is it possible to get a car loan?

  12. If you have a credit score of 552 and no one you know will co sign a lease (and you don’t have thousands of dollars to offer for 4 mos security), how can you hope to live inside? Most rooming houses and apartments demand that you earn at least 10x the rent, which is impossible on a fixed income, so I’m at a loss.

    Is this a situation where you settle for a bad marriage just to avoid homelessness?

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Meet the expert

Ryan Greeley

Credit Expert & Editor-In-Chief of BetterCreditBlog.org, where he oversees publishing and content creation. In addition, Ryan has written about credit extensively over the past 10 years for publications such as Lifehacker, BuzzFeed, and The Huffington Post.

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