What is a good FICO score?
A good FICO credit score is between 670 and 739. According to FICO, the average US FICO score is 716, which falls in the "good" range.1
Backing up: What's a FICO score? The FICO credit score is the original credit assessment score, introduced in 1989 by the Fair Isaac Corporation, an analytics company. It's considered to be the standard credit score, even though it's not the only scoring model.
To calculate your credit score, FICO uses data from the 3 main credit reporting agencies: Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion®. Then, FICO scores your credit with a number between 300 and 850, with 850 being the best. Ratings range from poor to exceptional.
|FICO credit score range||Rating|
|Less than 580||Poor|
|580 – 669||Fair|
|670 – 739||Good|
|740 – 799||Very good|
|800 or higher||Exceptional|
What is a good VantageScore?
A good VantageScore ranges from 661 to 780, although the company calls this a "prime" credit tier rather than good. The average US VantageScore is 701, which falls within this prime range.2
What's a VantageScore? In 2006, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion launched VantageScore. Like FICO, the VantageScore model uses a 300 to 850 scoring range, with higher scores indicating better creditworthiness. This scoring model uses the same data as FICO to calculate your score.
However, unlike FICO, VantageScore only has 4 main credit ranges, from subprime to superprime.
|VantageScore credit score range||Rating|
|300 – 600||Subprime|
|601 – 660||Near prime|
|661 – 780||Prime|
|781 – 850||Superprime|
How are credit scores calculated?
Both FICO and VantageScore calculate your credit score based on how consistently you pay back what you owe, how much you currently owe (out of the total available for you to borrow), how long you've been borrowing money, how many types of credit you have (think: credit cards, student loans, mortgages, and more), and how recently you've applied for more credit. Each uses its own special methodology and divides data points a little differently. In both cases, the 2 biggest factors affecting your credit score are your payment history and how much of your available credit you're currently using.
For a full breakdown, check out our guide to calculating your credit score.
Why having a good credit score is important
Credit scores affect a lot of your financial life—and potentially nonfinancial situations too. Getting and keeping a good credit score could help you improve the following areas:
- Qualifying for loans with good terms. Whether you're financing a car, a private student loan, or a house, a good credit score can help you not only get a loan in the first place but also snag better rates and terms. Borrowers with fair or poor credit might still be able to get loans from certain creditors, but these loans tend to be more expensive than what borrowers with good credit could get.
- Getting approved for a place to rent. Many landlords require a credit check before letting renters sign a lease. That's because tenants with good credit are more likely to pay the rent on time.
- Paying lower auto insurance rates. Insurance companies say drivers with poor or fair credit get into more car accidents than those with better credit. So having a good credit score could lead to lower car insurance premiums.
- Negotiating. Having good credit could give you a bargaining chip for better prices. For example, borrowers with good credit are more likely to prequalify for a car loan, which allows them to negotiate pricing the same way an all-cash buyer could.
How to get a good credit score
Boosting your credit score mostly means adopting habits that also help your finances overall, so it's a win-win. Here are strategies to help improve your credit score—and potentially your bottom line.
- Consistently pay your bills on time. Payment history is the biggest part of your credit score calculation (35% for FICO scores), so this is one of the most effective ways to bump up your score.
- Keep your credit utilization under 30%. Your credit score takes into account your credit limit—how much your creditors allow you to owe—and your balance. If your credit card balances add up to more than 30% of your credit limit, that could hurt your credit score. Paying down maxed-out cards and other loans can help lower your credit utilization.
- Keep old credit accounts open. Your score is partially based on the average age of all your accounts. This is why keeping older accounts open could help your credit score. One strategy is to pay for a monthly service (such as a streaming service or cell phone provider) on your oldest credit card and set up auto payment for that card. This maintains that card's long credit history and keeps your payment history positive too.
- Avoid applying for multiple credit accounts in a short period of time. Lenders generally pull your credit report when you apply for credit, and this can temporarily lower your score by a few points. Having multiple score-lowering credit checks in a short period of time may cause those dips to add up.
- Monitor your credit report. Keeping an eye on your credit reports—you can get 1 from each of the 3 credit reporting agencies—allows you to dispute errors that may be lowering your score. You may check out your credit report once a week for free at AnnualCreditReport.com—and doing so doesn't negatively impact your score.
What is a good credit score to buy a house?
Typically, borrowers need a minimum FICO credit score of 620 to qualify for a conventional home loan. Having a FICO score of 740 or higher could get you the best mortgage rates.
What is a good credit score to rent an apartment?
Unlike mortgage lending, there's no industry-wide standard for the minimum credit score to rent an apartment. Generally, landlords and rental agencies prefer to see rental applicants with a credit score of 600 to 700. A 2020 RentCafe survey of 5 million renters found that the average VantageScore credit score for renters nationwide is 638.3
What is a good credit score to buy a car?
Just like with renting apartments, there isn't a universally agreed upon minimum to buy a car, but Car and Driver says that you need a score of about 600 to get a new car loan.4 Still, the average VantageScore for a car buyer with a loan is 729, according to a 2022 Experian report.5