What Is a Credit Score Range?
Credit score ranges are useful for evaluating your credit score. Learn how to read them in order to understand your credit score
Credit scores can give lenders a general idea of how financially responsible you are. And anytime you need to borrow money—whether it’s buying a home, taking out a student loan or applying for a credit card—lenders might consider your credit scores.
You might have been told your credit scores need to be within a certain range to qualify for certain loans. Keep reading to learn why and to find out about different credit score ranges.
What Is a Credit Score?
Credit scores are based on the information in your credit reports. They are three-digit numbers that lenders may use to predict how likely you are to pay back a loan on time.
Your credit scores are based on a few different factors, like how well you’ve done making on-time payments in the past and how much current unpaid debt you carry across all your accounts. They’re calculated differently by each credit-scoring company—like FICO® and VantageScore®—using complex formulas called scoring models. And because of this, you might have several different credit scores, even from the same scoring company.
What Are the Credit Score Ranges?
Most credit-scoring models, including many from FICO and VantageScore, produce numbers ranging from 300 to 850. That’s the full range. Within that range there are smaller number ranges—representing everything from a poor score to an excellent one—that you can use to gauge where your credit scores stand.
The ranges are similar for FICO and VantageScore, but not quite the same. And some specialty scores range from 250 to 900. But generally, here’s how they stack up.
FICO Credit Scores Range
- Poor: Less than 580
- Fair: 580-669
- Good: 670-739
- Very Good: 740-799
- Exceptional: 800 and up
VantageScore Credit Scores Range
- Very Poor: 300-499
- Poor: 500-600
- Fair: 601-660
- Good: 661-780
- Excellent: 781-850
In 2021, most Americans had a FICO credit score in the “good” or higher range and a VantageScore credit score in the “fair” or higher range. The average FICO credit score in America was 714.
Factors That Affect Your Credit Scores
Each credit-scoring model uses a handful of factors to determine credit scores. The factors are similar among the different models. But the importance of each factor might vary based on the version of the model or type of score. So it can be hard to pinpoint the impact of a single factor on your scores.
Here are some factors that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says make up a typical credit score:
- Payment history: Your payment history is an important component in calculating your score. It shows how well you’ve done with making payments on time and indicates how well you might do in the future.
- Debt: Credit-scoring models consider the total amount of unpaid debt you currently owe across all your accounts. And they weigh this against your total credit limit. The calculation produces your credit utilization ratio, which reflects how much of your available credit you’re using across certain products.
- Credit age: This is how long you’ve had your accounts open. The more time you’ve had to show a history of credit, the more a potential lender can evaluate your credit usage. New borrowers might have a harder time borrowing or getting the lowest interest rate available.
- Credit mix: Let’s say you have a mortgage, a car loan, a student loan and a couple of credit cards. If you use them all responsibly, this can indicate a higher level of experience with different types of credit.
- New credit applications: Credit-scoring models generally look at how recently—and how often—you’ve applied for credit. A single application may have a relatively minor impact on your scores. But multiple applications—especially multiple hard inquiries over a short period of time—could have more of an impact.
Factors That Don’t Affect Your Credit Scores
Among the factors your credit scores don’t take into account are:
- Marital status
- Where you live
- Where you were born
- If you check your own credit reports and scores
Your Credit Score Range Matters—and Isn’t Set in Stone
Your credit score range can give you an idea of your credit health. But you don’t necessarily need to achieve any particular milestone before you can be approved for a credit card. Capital One, for example, has credit cards that cater to a wide range of people in different credit score ranges.
Also bear in mind that your current credit score range isn’t necessarily what it will always be. It might take time, but you can take steps to build your credit. One way to keep an eye on your progress is with CreditWise from Capital One. It’s free for everyone—whether or not you have a Capital One credit card. Using CreditWise won’t hurt your credit score. You can also get free copies of your credit reports from each of the three major credit bureaus by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com.
We hope you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment or financial advice or to indicate that a particular Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.
Capital One does not provide, endorse or guarantee any third-party product, service, information, or recommendation listed above. The third parties listed are solely responsible for their products and services, and all trademarks listed are the property of their respective owners.
Your CreditWise score is calculated using the TransUnion® VantageScore® 3.0 model, which is one of many credit scoring models. It may not be the same model your lender uses, but it can be one accurate measure of your credit health. The availability of the CreditWise tool depends on our ability to obtain your credit history from TransUnion. Some monitoring and alerts may not be available to you if the information you enter at enrollment does not match the information in your credit file at (or you do not have a file at) one or more consumer reporting agencies.