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Financial Planning

What's a good credit score?

Date:
October 23, 2021

A credit score is a three digit number that ranges from 300 to 850. It is calculated based on information in your credit report, such as your payment history, the amount of debt that you have and length of credit history.

What is a good credit score?

A good credit score is a vital component of your credit profile. It tells lenders about your creditworthiness and allows them to determine your credit risk and if you can repay your debts. 

A credit score is computed by credit bureaus based on several factors such as credit history, credit utilization, and credit mix. A good credit score lands between 670 and 739. Scores below that range may have more limited credit options. 

The best way to ensure a good score is to make all your payments on time every month. On credit cards and lines of credit, pay off your full your balance whenever you can. 

Why is a good credit score important?

Having good credit can help you reach your financial goals and make getting approved for a loan easier. Higher credit scores provide more opportunities, providing access to higher credit limits at lower interest rates with lower or no annual fees. 

Credit scores are used by lenders to make decisions about all types of credit, from mortgages to credit cards to personal loans and auto loans. Both FICO scores and VantageScores are used by banks and credit card issuers for their credit score models. 

Keep on top of your score. Numerous credit monitoring services are available offering free credit reports.

What is a bad credit score?

Credit scores between 580 to 669 are considered fair, and any score below 580 is typically considered bad.

Bad credit can be the result of various factors, such as late or missed payments. To avoid a bad credit score, always make your monthly payments on time and, whenever possible, pay off the full balance. 

Unauthorized transactions, like identity theft or card theft, can wreck your score and leave you with bad credit. Some lenders only report to one credit bureau or do not report at all, which can also result in a score lower than you might deserve. 

What affects your credit score?

There are five factors that affect your credit score: payment history, credit utilization, credit history, credit mix and new credit. 

Here's how each factor determines your score:

  • Payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score. To build a positive payment history, always make your monthly payments on time. Any missed payments will be recorded in your payment history and impact your score.
  • Credit utilization accounts for 30% of your credit score. In the credit world, your "utilization" refers to the percentage of your credit you're using, including all cards and loans. Most credit bureaus look for a credit utilization ratio below 30%. (in other words, try to use less than 30% of your available credit limits.)
  • Credit age is the length of time you've carried a credit account. The longer you use a credit card or loan, and have payment histories proving you can use them responsibly, the better it reflects on your credit score. Credit age factor accounts for 15% of your credit score.
  • Credit mix reflects 10% of your credit score. Credit bureaus check how you manage and pay off multiple cards; keeping more than one credit account in good standing helps in improve your credit mix.
  • New credit accounts for 10% of your credit score. It's usually best to space out your applications for a new account. If you apply too frequently, credit bureaus can take that as a sign that you can't manage your existing credit responsibly. 

What if you don't have a credit score?

Having no credit score is not the same as having bad credit. No credit is the result of no recent activity. You could be new to using credit and haven't had time to build up a score yet, or you could have used credit before but not so recently, so there isn't enough recent information to generate a score.

Are FICO scores and VantageScores different?

FICO and Vantage are both credit bureaus, two competitors with similar credit scoring models. Both have credit score ranges from 300 to 850. 

A good FICO credit score is between 670 to 739. According to the company, its fair scores are between 580 and 669, and an exceptional FICO score is anything above 800.

On the other hand, a good VantageScore lies between 660 and 780, which the company refers to as a "prime credit tier." Scores below 600 are "subprime," while those in the range of 601 and 660 are "near prime." Any score above 780 is referred to as "super prime."

Get an easy credit boost with Bright.

Bright finds the fastest, smartest ways to pay off your cards, always on time and always optimized to lower your interest charges. 

With 34 patented algorithms, Bright's MoneyScience™ system learns about your finances, moves funds when it makes sense and makes smart payments for you. 

For an easy credit boost, add Bright Credit Builder to your Bright account. Bright Credit Builder automatically builds a positive payment history, by making on-time payments for you, and with a new line of credit, improves your credit utilization too. Credit bureaus love it!

If you don't have it yet, download the Bright app from the AppStore or GooglePlay. Connect your bank and your cards in a snap, set your goals and pace, then let Bright get to work.

MoneyScience™ Team
Bright Money

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