Your Credit Score

Once you find your score, write it down.

As of__________(date), my credit score is of __________(FICO Score)

Now, looking at the chart below, where do you fall? Are you in the “Prime Category”? Or “Near Prime”? Or “Subprime”? Even if it’s subprime, don’t worry. You can improve your credit score over time.

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Your FICO credit score is a number from 300 to 850 that summarizes your history of money management over the last seven to ten years.

As we discussed in the previous chapters, banks, lenders, landlords, and a variety of other entities use your credit score to determine how “creditworthy” you are—the level of confidence they have that you’ll make payments on time and manage money responsibly.

You could think of “creditworthy” as just another word for “trustworthy.”

The closer to 850 you fall, the better. Here’s how scores breakdown:

  • A credit score between 720 and 850 is considered “excellent.”
  • A score between 719 and 680 is considered “good.”
  • A score between 679 and 630 is labeled “fair.”
  • 629-550 is “subprime.”
  • and anything below 549 is considered “poor.”

The good news? No matter where you currently fall on the credit spectrum, your credit score does not define your money management potential. Even better, it’s not set in stone. There’s a lot you can do to get your credit back on track. But for now, let’s work on demystifying your credit score and credit report to lay the groundwork for those next steps.

Expert Advice

Ian Atkins, Analyst and staff writer at Fit Small Business.

“Your credit score is built from the information in your credit report. The credit score is the result of a calculation that weighs and summarizes different information from your credit report. While most lenders use a scoring system that’s very similar to FICO (300-850), any lender or company can have their own scoring system.”

David Hosterman, credit and financial expert with Castle & Cooke Mortgage LLC.

“A credit score is a way of grading your creditworthiness or “trustworthiness” to lenders. It’s a numeric score usually falling in a scale between 300 and 850. The better your credit score, the lower risk you are to lenders. They’ll see you as someone they can trust to repay the money they may lend you. You will also generally qualify for lower interest rates, which will save you money.”

Katie Ross, Education and Development Manager for American Consumer Credit Counseling.

“A credit score is all of the data contained on a credit report, which includes credit history and current account statuses, all compiled into one number using the same method for every consumer so it is standardized. The score is a tool for creditors to quickly assess borrowers to make initial product and interest rate offerings without performing a full credit inquiry.”

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