If you are wondering, what is a good credit score, the answer can be as simple as a single number or more complicated. There are many credit scoring systems used in the United States. The Fair Isaac credit score scale or the FICO score is commonly used, but there are others.
Partly due to advertising on TV, radio and the internet, many people are now concerned about; what is a good credit score. For many years the credit score scale was something that only lenders and financial advisors were familiar with, but today consumers are more knowledgeable about credit. They want answers to questions like; what is a good credit score and what factors affect a credit score. Briefly, in this article we look at the credit score scale, from good to bad, the factors that are used to determine a credit score and some ways to improve credit scores.
You may already know that an individual’s credit score is used by lenders to determine “creditworthiness”. The lender is asking, “What is the likelihood that this person will repay this loan?” The original credit score scale was set up in the United States to prevent lenders from discriminating against a borrower because of factors such as race or marital status. If you ask a lender, “What is a good credit score?” The answer will depend on which credit score scale they are using. The FICO score is one of the most common, but an individual lender may use Beacon, Vantage or another credit score scale. In addition, each of the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian, assigns a score to individuals with a credit record.
The FICO credit score scale runs from 300-850. If you are applying for a home mortgage and the lender uses the FICO credit score scale to determine creditworthiness, then his answer to; what is a good credit score, will be something like this. A person with a score of 760 and above will generally be eligible for the best interest rates and the lowest monthly payments. Other factors used to determine interest rates and eligibility include amount of down payment, income and income stability. Lenders assign higher interest rates to people with lower credit scores, smaller down payments and income instability. A number below 759 on the FICO credit score scale does not mean that the application will be rejected, only that the interest rate may be higher. A number below 600 on the credit score scale may be rejected. This person may not be considered creditworthy.
Credit scoring systems, such as the one created by FICO, attempt to take into account many factors that may determine the likelihood that a person will repay a loan. None of these factors has anything to do with income. A person may have an excellent credit history and score high on a credit score scale, but still be unable to repay a loan. So, the system is not perfect. It just happens to be the only one that we have. One may ask; what is a good credit score and what factors contribute to a good credit score. The answer from FICO would be, these factors are used to determine a person’s credit score; payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit and types of credit used. Payment history and amounts owed accounts for 65% of the credit score. Only FICO could tell you exactly how they created a numerical credit score scale using this information.