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What Is a Credit score? Understanding Credit Score Ranges

Andrew Omalley Updated: August 27, 2023 • 6 min read
credit score

Ever wondered what a credit score is? It's a numerical snapshot used by lenders to measure how risky it is to give you credit. This simple number can hold a lot of weight in your financial life, influencing your ability to get a loan, the conditions of that loan, and even the interest rates you'll face. In this article, we'll dive deeper into the world of credit scores, shedding light on what they mean, how they're calculated, and the impact they can have on your financial journey.

Credit Score Ranges

Knowing the different credit score ranges can help you understand where you stand and how lenders view your credit history. There is no concept of a "starting credit score," whether it be a universally assigned value of 300 (the lowest achievable FICO score). A FICO score below 629 is considered bad credit, while a score between 630-689 is fair. A score between 690-719 is considered good credit, and a score of 720 or above is considered excellent credit. It's important to note that these ranges may vary slightly depending on the credit bureau and the specific lender. Maintaining a good credit score can help you qualify for better loan terms, lower interest rates, and other financial benefits.

Lendstart Credit Score Ranges


How Does Credit Scores Work 

A lender will look at your credit score in order to determine whether or not they should extend you a loan and at what rate of interest. It allows them to determine the chances of getting paid back on time and in full. 

Credit Scores Explained: How Your Score is Calculated 

Credit scores are influenced by several factors including your payment history, the amount of debt you owe, the length of your credit history, the types of credit you have, and recent credit inquiries. Understanding each of these factors and how they contribute to your score is key to managing your financial health.

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The Credit Score Brackets

When discussing credit scores, it's crucial to understand credit score brackets. These are categorized into four main brackets: poor, fair, good, and excellent. Your position within these brackets can dramatically impact the opportunities available to you and the terms lenders are willing to engage.

What credit score is excellent?

A credit score between 740 and 800 is considered excellent. This means you're a trustworthy borrower, leading to more attractive interest rates and favorable terms on loans and credit cards. Achieving and maintaining excellent credit involves all the previous advice and careful, long-term management of your finances.

Understanding Poor Credit

Poor credit, typically considered as a score below 580, can make it challenging to get approved for credit. If you do get approved, you'll likely face higher interest rates or unfavorable terms. It's usually caused by missed payments, high utilization rates, or a short credit history. Improving from poor credit involves addressing these issues, reducing debt, and making payments on time.

What is a fair credit score?

A fair credit score ranges from 580 to 669. It's a step above poor credit, but it still limits your options. With fair credit, you may qualify for some credit products, but not at the best rates. To move from fair to good credit, focus on debt reduction, timely payments, and maintain a low credit utilization rate.

What is a Good Credit Score? 

A credit score range of between 719 and 690 is generally considered to be good. A score of 630 to 682 is deemed to be fair, while a score of 720 or greater is an excellent credit score. The higher your credit score, the better rates you might get when borrowing money.

A good credit score shows that you have been responsible in the past when dealing with credit. Many lenders will only deal with people who have a credit score of at least 670. This shows how important striving toward getting a good credit score is. 

What is a Good Credit Score to Buy a House?

When it comes to buying a house, having a good credit score can make all the difference. While the minimum credit score required to get a mortgage varies depending on the lender, a score of 620 is generally considered the minimum threshold. However, you typically need a credit score of 700 or higher to qualify for the best mortgage rates and terms. Remember that lenders will also look at other factors, such as your income, debt-to-income ratio, and employment history when determining whether to approve your mortgage application. Therefore, it's important to maintain good credit and improve your credit score if necessary, before applying for a mortgage to increase your chances of getting approved and securing favorable loan terms.

What is a Good Credit Score to Buy a Car?

When it comes to buying a car, having a good credit score can make a significant difference in the financing options available to you. A good credit score to buy a car is typically considered to be 680 or higher, although some lenders may require a higher score, such as 700 or above. This credit score range can help you qualify for better loan terms and interest rates, potentially saving you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

However, if you're looking to buy a used car, you may be able to secure financing with a slightly lower credit score. A good credit score to buy a used car is typically around 620 or higher. Again, it's important to keep in mind that these are general guidelines. Specific lenders may have different requirements depending on a variety of factors such as your income, debt-to-income ratio, and down payment.

What is a Good Credit Score to Get a Loan?

A FICO score of 670 or higher is generally considered a good credit score for getting a personal loan. However, credit score requirements may vary depending on the lender, the loan amount, and other factors such as your income and employment history. It's always a smart idea to check with the lender to determine their specific credit score requirements for a personal loan. Additionally, having a good credit score can also help you qualify for a lower interest rate on your personal loan.

What is a Good Credit Score to Get a Credit Card?

In general, a good credit score to get a credit card is between 690-719 or higher. However, credit card issuers may have different requirements and consider other factors such as your income, debt-to-income ratio, and credit history. It's always a good idea to check your credit score before applying for a credit card and to research the requirements of different credit cards to find one that fits your needs and credit profile.


How to Improve Your Credit Score 

Having a better credit score is never going to be a bad thing. It can potentially help you to secure a loan in the first place, as well as possibly allow you to get more favorable repayment terms. 

There are a lot of different ways in which you can boost your credit score. Some of these steps are quite quick and easy to implement, while others are more long-term solutions. Here is a look at some of the most effective ways to improve your credit score: 

  • Conduct a review of your credit reports to see what is aiding and hurting your score
  • Make sure to make all of your debt repayments on time
  • Aim to minimize credit utilization (30% or less)
  • Minimize the number of new credit requests that carry hard checks
  • Deal with any delinquencies
  • Look into debt consolidation if you’ve many different types of debt
  • Track progress regularly to make further tweaks


The Bottom Line 

A healthy credit score can open up many doors and make life much smoother. By following some straightforward steps, you can significantly improve your score, which in turn can lead to more accessible access to loans and more favorable loan terms. 

Now that you have a better understanding of what makes up your credit score, you can navigate your financial journey with more confidence, knowing how your actions might shape your credit profile.

Andrew is a freelance writer who has been crafting valuable pieces of content relating to personal finance for more than five years. Previously, he studied Economics & Finance at university and he has professional qualifications relating to financial advice.