Credit Score Ranges

What Is a Credit Score Range?

Learn About Credit ScoreThere's a lot of talk about credit scores affecting consumers on a personal level. Everyone from cell phone companies to landlords may access a credit report to make decisions about lending to an individual. More and more Americans are now learning about the consequences of bad credit first-hand. Therefore, it stands to reason that some of these consumers might ask about how a credit score is reported and what it looks like.

The credit sector has established the Fair Isaac credit rating system, or FICO® score, to measure the credit risk of each consumer. Credit score ranges within the FICO® system generally run between the low 300s and the mid-800s (the exact figures are proprietary, copyrighted information that FICO® chooses not to share). Experts occasionally disagree about how many times a credit evaluator might see higher-end scores and whether it's possible to get a "perfect score." The same is true on the lower end, where 300 is the general bottom for credit score ranges.

In between these numbers, credit evaluators look for different ranges of credit risk. A credit score estimator might return a number like 750, which is considered pretty good, but not flawless. In contrast, anything under 620 and all the way down into the lower hundreds is considered poor, meaning a lender's willingness to extend credit to the person holding a score in this range is likely to be low. If the number is significantly down toward the end of the scale, there are often outstanding judgments from creditors (unpaid bills or obligations) that are ruining the credit score.

Trying to get a credit score into the range you want requires you to deal with outstanding judgments, bad credit history, and any other black marks on your record. It also means establishing a good credit history going forward to balance out the equation. But it starts with getting your credit score, taking a first-hand look at where you fall within the credit score range, and determining why you're there.


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