Credit Card Insider is an independent, advertising supported website. Credit Card Insider receives compensation from some credit card issuers as advertisers. Advertiser relationships do not affect card ratings or our Editor’s Best Card Picks. Credit Card Insider has not reviewed all available credit card offers in the marketplace. Content is not provided or commissioned by any credit card issuers. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information, though all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on any ‘Apply Now’ button, the most up-to-date terms and conditions, rates, and fee information will be presented by the issuer. Credit Card Insider has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Credit Card Insider and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. A list of these issuers can be found on our Editorial Guidelines.
Your credit scores are important. They indicate how risky you are as a borrower of money (i.e., how likely you are to pay your bills). The most common scores range from 300–850.
So what’s a “good” credit score?
A good credit score typically refers to a score of at least 670 with FICO, or at least 700 with VantageScore (these are the two most popular scoring models).
Having good credit means you’re a low credit risk, and will usually get the best offers for credit cards, loans, and other financial products — that translates to better rewards and benefits, lower interest rates, and low (or no) upfront deposits, among other perks. The higher your scores, the better.
But there’s a bit more to it than that — we’ll explore the differences between FICO and VantageScore, why you should want good credit, and how to achieve good credit scores.
There are two “good” ranges when it comes to FICO Credit Scores:
Here’s what FICO has to say on the subject: “In general, many lenders find scores above 670 as indicating good creditworthiness. Typically, the higher your score, the lower the risk and the more likely creditors are to lend to you.”
And here’s a full breakdown of the basic FICO score range, with descriptions from FICO:
|Base FICO Score Ranges|
|Exceptional||800–850||Your score is well above the average score of U.S. consumers and clearly demonstrates to lenders that you are an exceptional borrower.|
|Very Good||740–799||Your score is above the average of U.S. consumers and demonstrates to lenders that you are a very dependable borrower.|
|Good||670–739||Your score is near or slightly above the average of U.S. consumers and most lenders consider this a good score.|
|Fair||580–669||Your score is below the average score of U.S. consumers, though many lenders will approve loans with this score.|
|Poor||300–579||Your score is well below the average score of U.S. consumers and demonstrates to lenders that you are a risky borrower.|
Credit scores are calculated based on the information in your credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Although popular FICO and VantageScore models use a range of 300–850, some scoring models may use other ranges, so you may see different score ratings depending on where you look (there are a lot of different credit scores out there).
There’s just one “good” credit score range for VantageScore 3.0:
There are some important differences between FICO and VantageScore. They may weigh certain credit factors differently, like payment history or credit utilization, or look at different information on credit reports. But in general, if your VantageScore credit scores are going up or down, you can assume the same is happening with your FICO scores (and vice versa).
The full range of VantageScore 3.0 credit scores looks like this, with range descriptions from Experian:
|VantageScore 3.0 Ranges|
|Excellent||750–850||Applicants most likely to receive the best rates and most favorable terms on credit accounts.|
|Good||700–749||Applicants likely to be approved for credit at competitive rates.|
|Fair||650–699||Applicants may be approved for credit but likely not at competitive rates.|
|Poor||550–649||Applicants may be approved for some credit, though rates may be unfavorable and with conditions such as larger down payment amounts.|
|Very Poor||300–549||Applicants will not likely be approved for credit.|
Credit scores help lenders (like credit card issuers) make decisions about who they should lend to, how much to lend, and what terms they should offer.
Having good credit isn’t just about bragging rights, or getting approved for the best credit cards — it can literally make your life less expensive by reducing your interest rates and letting you qualify for cost-saving financial products, and may even affect your ability to get a new apartment or cell phone plan.
Compared to bad credit scores, good credit scores can give you access to:
With good credit (and lower interest rates), you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of a loan compared to someone with bad credit.
When you submit an application for a loan or credit card, the lender won’t just look at your credit scores — it will look at your overall creditworthiness. Certain items on your credit reports, like public records, may raise red flags which could affect your approval odds. Lenders often also look at factors like income and your capacity to pay.
It’s not hard to get good credit scores. But it’s not hard to tank your credit scores, either.
The most important thing is to pay your bills on time, every time. Do this consistently and you’ll likely have few credit problems, if any.
Here’s a quick rundown of what you should do and what you shouldn’t do to improve your credit scores:
The different credit scoring models and brands will weigh factors differently, but if you follow those guidelines you’ll always be in good shape.
FICO, for example, uses the following for its basic score calculation:
This chart shows the criteria used to create FICO scores and their relative importance in your credit score.
Although we typically recommend paying your full statement balance each month, if you have a card with a 0% APR you can pay off your credit card balance over time without being charged interest, and this can be a good strategy to give yourself some breathing room. Just take the time to understand how carrying a balance will affect your credit utilization, and be sure to always make your minimum payments to avoid being late.
These days, it’s pretty simple to check your credit scores completely for free.
We’ve got a comprehensive listing of free credit score providers right here; our favorites include:
Many credit card issuers offer a free score to cardholders, and in some cases you don’t even need to be a cardholder. And there are other services that provide free scores, too. Sometimes you’ll find FICO scores on offer, while others provide VantageScores, but you can use either brand to keep an eye on your credit.
We recommend checking your credit history and credit scores from each of the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) so you can spot any differences. With a bit of work, you can sign up for a variety of services to cover all your bases.
A “good” credit score typically means a score of at least 670 with FICO, or at least 700 with VantageScore. Having good credit scores can save you money in the long run, and will give you access to the best credit cards and loans, with low interest rates and high-end perks.
Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.
Do you have a correction, tip, or suggestion for a new post? Contact us here.
The responses below are not provided or commissioned by bank advertisers. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers' responsibility to ensure all posts are accurate and/or questions are answered.