What Is Considered a Fair Credit Score?
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Key points about: fair credit scores
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.
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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