By the Numbers: Your FICO Credit Score

So you’ve learned your three digit FICO credit score. Mazel tov! Now learn what you can do with it…

There are a lot of numbers that are important in your life: your age, your address and your income level to name a few. But there might not be any three digit number as powerful as your FICO credit score (you can read more about your score and what it means in our blog post.) A bad credit score could mean the difference between being able to afford a house and having to stay in your cramped, one-bedroom apartment.

If you don’t know what your credit score is, the first thing you should do is go find out. Everyone is entitled to receive one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus.1 To get yours, just visit www.annualcreditreport.com.

But when you look up your FICO credit score, all you’re going to see is a three digit number that falls somewhere between 300 and 850. So what does it actually mean? Well, first of all, if your credit score happens to be under 300, you should probably go the hospital because you might be currently dead. Beyond that, always remember that 850 is the best and 300 is the worst, so a higher score is always better.

720-850 – Great Credit

Congrats! If you have a credit score of 720 or higher, you are going to have access to the best loans at the best interest rates. To get a score like this you need to have little debt or a large, steady income — or, ideally, both — and pay all your bills on time with sniper-like accuracy. If you have a credit score of 850 you might just be the Queen of England.

680-719 – Good Credit

A score in this range probably means you have a few black marks on your credit history—some late payments or more student debt than you would like, especially if you got that MFA in cell phone bedazzling. But while you could be working to improve your score, you are also going to qualify for most larger loans and for good interest rates. The only place you’ll feel a little bit of the hurt is when you’re looking for a larger loan like a mortgage. Even a few percentage points difference in interest on a $300,000 30-year mortgage is going to add up.

630-679 – Fair Credit

This is the point where you’re going to start feeling the pinch. Having a credit score in this range means that you are going to be facing some higher interest rates, but you also aren’t likely to be rejected when you request a loan or a credit card. Make sure you are paying your bills on time every month, deal with any outstanding collections agents who’ve been contacting you and make a plan for paying down your debt.

550-629 – Subprime Credit

This is the range in which you will start feeling not just the pinch, but also the sting of rejection. Traditional lenders, especially banks and credit unions, will likely turn down your applications and credit card offers in the mail will come with eye-popping interest rates—if they come at all. You aren’t going to qualify to buy a house, at least not one that’s in a livable condition. But you know the thing about credit scores? They can be fixed. Cut up your credit cards, make a plan to start paying down your debt and—most importantly—make a budget. You can learn more about building your credit in the eBook Credit Workbook: The OppLoans Guide to Understanding Your Credit, Credit Report and Credit Score.

300-549 – Poor Credit

Don’t panic. If you have a credit score in this range, it might feel like you have no options. You likely have a lot of debt, little or no access to traditional financial tools and it feels like all the collections agencies have your number on speed dial. But you do have options. You can call a credit counselor, talk to your debtors and make a plan to settle your outstanding debts. You can set a budget, cut your spending and find a second job to earn some extra income. Sure, you have a bit farther to go than some other people do, but a good credit score and access to traditional financial tools are still within your reach. Lastly, make sure that you look out for predatory lenders. Lots of dangerous lenders will offer you a bad credit loan—which can sound enticing, but be careful. Plenty of “bad credit lenders” are bad actors, looking to take advantage of those who believe they have fewer options.

You’ll also need to be on the lookout for “No Credit Check Loans.” Lenders who claim they don’t care about your credit score may not actually care if you can afford your loan—usually a sign that they’re a predatory lender. Understand if your lender performs hard credit checks, soft credit checks, or no credit checks at all. There is a big difference between these types of credit checks and they definitely matter. To learn more about no credit check loans (and hard and soft credit inquiries) check out the most recent OppLoans’ No Credit Check Loans articles and expert interviews.

If you’re in need of some extra cash for an emergency, don’t call a payday lender. Instead, apply for an OppLoan. Even if you have less-than-perfect credit, we offer safe, reliable and credit-building installment loans with affordable, fixed monthly payments. Visit our website today and learn if you qualify within minutes and receive your funds as early as the next business day.

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Works Cited:

1 “Credit Scores” Consumer.FTC.gov https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0152-credit-scores#what. Accessed September 11, 2017.