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What Is Considered a Fair Credit Score?

Last Updated: January 22, 2024
3 min read

Key points about: fair credit scores

  1. On the FICO® Score scale1, a fair credit score is 580-669.

  2. Consumers with a fair credit score may have had missed payments in the past and/or have higher levels of credit card debt.

  3. One of the best ways to help a fair credit score is to make on-time payments.

Have you recently checked your credit and found you fall within the fair credit score range, but you aren’t sure what it means? Here, we’ll discuss what a fair credit score is, how a fair credit score may affect your ability to get a loan or credit card, and how to stay on top of a fair credit score to see if you can improve it.

What’s a fair credit score?

There’s no single numerical definition for what’s considered a fair credit score. That’s because there are multiple credit bureaus and each uses a different model to determine scores. Your credit score is calculated using the information on your credit report.

One of the most widely used scoring models is called a FICO® Score. 90% of top lenders use FICO® Credit Scores, including Discover.1

According to the FICO® Score scale1, a fair credit score is 580-669. Consumers in this range may have missed payments in their credit history and/or have high levels of credit card debt. With a score in the fair range, consumers may find themselves paying higher interest rates on credit cards and other debts and may not qualify for some types of credit.

The FICO® Credit Score ranges

There are five credit score ranges in the FICO® Score scale1.

  • Exceptional—800 to 850
  • Very good—740 to 799
  • Good—670 to 739
  • Fair—580 to 669
  • Poor—579 or less

Other fair credit score ranges

FICO is just one example of a credit scoring model. You could have a credit score of 580, but a lender might not consider it a fair credit score if they use another credit scoring model. For example, according to Experian, the fair credit score range from VantageScore® is 601-660.

Stay on top of your fair credit score

If you have a fair credit score and want to help it, there are several things you can do to influence it. Two important steps are:

  • Make on-time payments: The most important factor in FICO® Credit Scores1 is a track record of making payments on time. By paying at least the minimum payment due each billing cycle, you can keep your account in good standing.
  • Avoid too much credit card debt: Your score also takes into account your credit account balances and the amount of available credit you’re using. This is called your credit utilization ratio. A lower credit utilization ratio can show that you manage your debt responsibly.

Why good credit scores are important

Lenders and landlords consider your credit score as an assessment of your financial capability. The difference between a fair credit score and a good credit score may determine the terms of a new credit account. Fair credit scores may prevent you from being approved for new lines of credit, like credit cards, bank loans, and home mortgages, or if you’re approved, may mean you have a higher interest rate than you would with a good credit score.

If you have a fair credit score and are wondering what types of cards you may qualify for, you can use the Discover pre-approval form to see if you’re pre-approved with no harm to your credit score.2

Depending on your credit needs, having a fair credit score may be OK for you. But if you think you’ll want to apply for a personal loan, new credit card, auto loan, or a home mortgage in the future, you may want to start working on your fair score to help your chances of getting approved and landing better terms.

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  1. FICO® Credit Score Terms: Your FICO® Credit Score, key factors and other credit information are based on data from TransUnion® and may be different from other credit scores and other credit information provided by different bureaus. This information is intended for and only provided to Primary account holders who have an available score. See about the availability of your score. Your score, key factors and other credit information are available on and cardmembers are also provided a score on statements. Customers will see up to a year of recent scores online. Discover and other lenders may use different inputs, such as FICO® Credit Scores, other credit scores and more information in credit decisions. This benefit may change or end in the future. FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries. Discover Financial Services and Fair Isaac are not credit repair organizations as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. Discover Financial Services and Fair Isaac do not provide “credit repair” services or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history or credit rating.
  2. Card: No Credit Impact for Pre-Approval: There is no hard inquiry to your credit report to check if you’re pre-approved. If you’re pre-approved, and you move forward with submitting an application for the credit card, it will result in a hard inquiry which may impact your credit score.  Receiving a pre-approval offer does not guarantee approval. Applicants applying without a social security number are not eligible to receive pre-approval offers. Card applicants cannot be pre-approved for the NHL Discover Card.
  • Legal Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional advice. The material on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice and does not indicate the availability of any Discover product or service. It does not guarantee that Discover offers or endorses a product or service. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional.