There are several ways your credit score is determined. One of the most common and popular is your FICO score. While there’s a good chance you’ve heard of it before or seen commercials about it on TV, you might be wondering what it means and what the FICO score range actually is.
What is a FICO Score?
Put simply your FICO score is a type of credit score that was created by the Fair Isaac Corporation.
When you apply for credit whether it is a credit card, a car loan, or a home loan, one of the scores they use to determine whether or not you will be approved is your FICO score. The FICO score range is between 300 and 850.
They use data from five different areas to determine your score. These areas include the following:
- Length of credit history
- Amount of debt you currently have
- Payment history
- Types of credit that you use
- How many new credit accounts you have
Some of these categories are more important than others when it comes to your credit score.
How they are weighed is different for everyone, but in general, you’ll find that on average they break down like this:
- Length of credit history – 15%
- Amount of debt you have – 30%
- Payment history – 35%
- Types of credit – 10%
- New accounts – 10%
When you are late on a payment it is reported to the credit reporting agencies. How late the payment was is also reported. Because your payment history is the largest determining factor, every time you make a late payment it can affect your credit score in a major way.
When it comes to your length of credit history, normally, the longer you have had credit the better.
If you have only had credit for a few months, even if you have made all of your payments on time, your score will typically not be great just because your credit history isn’t long enough.
Once you get past the six-month range, it will start to go up.
If you want to improve your credit score, you want a mix of different types of credit. That means having a credit card and maybe a car loan and a mortgage.
One thing you don’t want to do is open a bunch of credit accounts in a short period of time.
This is a red flag for credit agencies and it will lower your score.
When it comes to the amount of debt you have, the amount isn’t as important as the percentage of debt compared to the amount of credit you have available.
That means if your credit is maxed out, your credit score will be lower.
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What is the FICO Score Range?
The FICO score range is between 300 and 850. The higher your score the better and anything over 700 is normally considered good credit while anything under 650 is considered poor credit.
That means you might have a difficult time being approved.
The full range looks like this:
|700 – 749||Good|
|650 – 699||Fair|
|550 – 649||Poor|
|549 and lower||Bad|
What’s important to notice is that there are very few points between a good credit score and a poor credit score. In fact, it is only 51 points. A couple of late payments can bring your score down that much or more.
When it comes to your FICO credit score, there are things you can do to increase it if it isn’t where you’d like it to be. You can read about 4 great ways to improve your credit score fast here.