Credit Score Ranges: How Do You Compare?

Credit score ranges most commonly run from 300 to 850. Higher scores can give you better choices and save money.

Bev O'SheaMay 28, 2020

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

VantageScore 3.0 and FICO 8, the most commonly used credit scoring models, have a range of 300 to 850.

Creditors set their own standards for what constitutes a “good” score, but FICO and VantageScores over 690 are typically considered good credit scores. Scores above 720 are typically considered excellent.

If your score is on the lower end of the scale, it's harder to get credit approval and good terms on credit. Scores of 630-689 are considered fair, while 629 and below falls into the bad credit range.

credit score ranges

How does your credit score affect your life?

If you have excellent credit, it's fairly easy to get approved for credit, though standards are tightening during the economic crisis. If you have a low score, you may still be able to get credit, but it may come with high interest rates or with specific conditions, such as getting a co-signer or depositing money to get a secured credit card. You may have to pay more for car insurance or put down deposits on utilities.

But as you add points to your score, you’ll have access to more credit products — and pay less to use them.

Know where your credit stands

Check your free credit report and see your score. Your info updates weekly so you can track changes.

Find the starting point

It’s important to know where you stand, so it pays to monitor your score. You can get a free credit score from a number of personal finance websites, including NerdWallet, which offers VantageScore 3.0.

It's important to use the same score every time you check. Doing otherwise is like trying to monitor your weight on different scales — or possibly switching between pounds and kilograms. Some sources may be using a different scale entirely.

So, pick a score and get a game plan to build your credit. Progress you make measured by one score will be reflected in the others.

And be aware that, like weight, scores fluctuate. A score is a snapshot, and the number can vary each time you check it. As long as you keep it in a healthy range, those variations won’t have an impact on your financial well-being.

Lenders look at more than credit scores

When you go to borrow money, even a good credit score does not guarantee a good interest rate — or even approval. Nor does a poor one indicate you cannot get credit at all.

Credit scores look at your reported credit history to gauge the likelihood that you will repay borrowed money; you can be deep in debt and still have great credit scores if you have paid all your bills on time.

But your credit reports don’t reflect whether you can afford to repay the credit you are applying for. That’s why your income and other debts play a key factor in some lending decisions, as lenders consider what you owe alongside what you earn and assets you have accumulated. Lenders use a debt-to-income ratio calculation to evaluate whether you can repay a loan.

Keep tabs on your score

When your score isn’t where you’d like it to be, it’s especially important to monitor it. Checking in regularly can help you see how your spending and payment habits affect your score.

The important thing is to use the same score every time you check. Doing otherwise is like trying to monitor your weight on different scales — or possibly switching between pounds and kilograms. Some sources may be using a different scale entirely.

So, pick a score and stick with it to track improvement. Progress you make measured by one score will be reflected in the others. (Here’s how to bump up your credit; these methods apply to whatever score you decide to track.)

And be aware that, like weight, scores fluctuate. A score is a snapshot, and the number can vary each time you check it. As long as you keep it in a healthy range, those variations won’t have an impact on your financial well-being.

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Please help us keep our site clean and safe by following our posting guidelines, and avoid disclosing personal or sensitive information such as bank account or phone numbers. Any comments posted under NerdWallet’s official account are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the reviewed products, unless explicitly stated otherwise.