What is a credit score?

Before discussing what might be considered a good credit score and credit score ranges, it could be helpful to briefly review how credit scores work.

Consumer credit scores are based on the information in a credit report from either Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. Each credit scoring model analyzes the data in a credit report to determine the likelihood that the person will fall 90 or more days behind on a bill.

With most scoring models, a higher score indicates you’re less likely to pay late. As a result, you may qualify for better rates and terms from creditors.


What are the credit score ranges?

There are many credit scoring models and creditors can choose to use one or more scores to evaluate applicants and monitor customers’ accounts.

FICO, one of the first companies to create credit scoring models, has dozens of models, updates the models and creates different versions for each bureaus’ credit reports. VantageScore, a competing credit scoring company, creates a credit scoring model that can be used with reports from all three bureaus. It also updates its model and recently released the fourth edition.

There isn’t a precise point when a credit score goes from bad to good. However, the latest versions of the generic credit scores from FICO and VantageScore range from 300 to 850 and there are some general guidelines within these ranges (these ranges change from time to time).


Range FICO Credit Score
Poor 300 to 579
Fair 580 to 669
Good 670 to 739
Very Good 740 to 799
Excellent 800 to 850


Range VantageScore Score (3.0 and 4.0)
Very Poor 300 to 499
Poor 500 to 600
Fair 601 to 660
Good 661 to 780
Excellent 781 to 850


While these guidelines can be helpful, if you’re wondering what range of credit score will help you qualify for credit, you may want to ask the lender rather than the credit scoring company. A lender may consider many factors when deciding whether you qualify for credit in addition to your credit score.


What is considered a good credit score?

Individual lenders determine what they consider to be a poor or an excellent credit score. Each lender may have different ranges, and even the same lender could have different requirements depending on the type of loan or credit account you want to open.


 Tips for increasing your credit scores

The good news is that most consumer scoring models use similar criteria to determine your credit scores. 

 For example, paying your bills on time will generally improve all your credit scores, while making late payments could hurt your scores. As a result, even if the specific scores differ depending on the scoring model or which credit report the score is based on, all the scores tend to trend in the same direction.

Here are a few things you can do to help increase your credit scores:

  • Have at least one account that reports your payments to the credit bureaus.
  • Make at least your minimum payments by your bills’ due dates.
  • If you have a credit card, only use a small percentage of your card’s credit limit.
  • Only open new credit accounts when you need to.


Check one of your credit scores for free

Using RISE’s free Credit Score Plus program, you can check your TransUnion® New Account score for free. The score, which TransUnion® developed and is based on your TransUnion® credit report, is updated monthly. Credit Score Plus members receive free TransUnion® credit alerts as well.

RISE also reports account activity to one or more credit bureaus. As a result, borrowers who make on-time payments may see their credit scores from those bureaus’ increase over time.  This is one of the reasons why RISE is a better way to borrow for people who don't have access to lower-cost credit products.

It’s easy. It’s secure. It’s all up to you. Apply now and you could be approved to receive cash as soon as tomorrow. *


Next related article

Credit vs Debit: Which is Better?

Credit vs Debit: Which is Better?

November 30, 2017

Which is better, credit vs debit? We’ll cover the key details and explore several potential pros and cons of credit and debit transactions.