You probably understand that your FICO credit score is an important number. But do you know what those three numbers really mean?
Good… Fair… Excellent… Exceptional… It’s enough to make you cross-eyed!
Where your measure up on the FICO scoring scale affects many parts of your life – not just what interest rates you can get on a credit card or mortgage. We’re talking job opportunities, utility rates, insurance rates, and even access to a quality apartment.
And while there are other credit scoring models out there, FICO is still used about 90% of the time. Besides, if you understand your FICO score, and start making positive changes to improve it, any other score will rise as well since they are all based on the data collected in your credit report.
Here’s a breakdown of the major FICO score classifications:
800+ Exceptional Credit (approx. 20% of US consumers)
Having exceptional credit blows the doors to financial opportunity wide open. You’ll have access to the best interest rates available. Lenders will be falling all over themselves to lend you money.
How do you get a score over 800? Build up a long credit history that includes multiple lines of credit proving a solid payment history. Keep all your revolving credit balances under 7% of your credit limit. Add new accounts at a slow but steady pace and keep older accounts active with periodic use to maintain age of accounts.
740 – 700 Excellent Credit (approx 19% of US consumers)
An Excellent credit rating affords nearly the same opportunities as an Exceptional rating. It will be relatively easy for you to get approved for credit whenever you need it.
Keep in mind that your income is not used as part of the FICO scoring model. So even if you have a minimum wage job, you can build up an excellent FICO score over time. Once you have access to additional credit resources you can use them to purchase assets that will build wealth – like commercial property, rental homes, or starting a business.
700 – 739 Very Good Credit (approx 17% of US consumers)
If your FICO score is in the Very Good range, you’ll still find it pretty easy to get approved for credit and financing, but your interest rates will likely be a little higher and your borrowing limits a little lower.
The important thing to focus on when you are trying to move from Very Good to Excellent is to watch your Utilization Ratio. You have very good credit because you have a long credit history and have proven you are responsible with your payments. Chances are, however, that your balances are high compared to your limits. Some cards may even be close to maxed out. To bump yourself up into the next category, focus on paying down your balances. Ideally, you want to carry a balance of no more than 7% of your credit limit.
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670 – 699 Good Credit (approx 14% of US consumers)
At this FICO score range, you are considered an acceptable risk to lenders. You won’t get as any preapproved offers in the mail, and those you do get will not have the most attractive terms.
While you are in the good credit range, the key is to focus on your payment activity. Make sure you pay every bill on time, every single month. When deciding on whether to open a new line of credit or take on a new loan, always “do the math” to make sure you can afford the new payment obligations – even in months when funds are tight.
It often doesn’t take much to kick you down into a lower score bracket – so make every credit decision with care and intention.
580 – 669 Fair Credit (approx 20% of US consumers)
If you are in the Fair Credit range, you will be considered a “sub prime” borrower. You may still get approved for financing, but you will pay higher interest rates and have larger down payment or security deposit requirements. If a lender has to choose between your Fair score and another applicant with a higher credit score, you are more likely to get denied, even if you have ore income.
Credit restoration will likely do a great deal to improve your credit score. Delinquencies, collections, and late payments are likely bringing your score down. The NCES Credit Restoration program will help you remove what doesn’t belong on your credit report, reclassify negative accounts to “paid as agreed”, and preserve everything good about your credit history.
Below 580 Poor Credit (approx 20% of US consumers)
Consumers in the Poor credit classification will have a very hard time getting approved for financing of any kind. Often, individuals in this credit score range ave suffered serious setbacks in their financial lives. Divorce, illness, job loss, foreclosure, and bankruptcies all can have devastating effects on your credit score.
But, all is not lost. The FICO scoring system is designed to give all consumers a second chance. Collections, delinquencies, and bankruptcies all will eventually be deleted from your credit report. This “statute of limitation” differs from state to state, but usually ranges from 3 to 7 years (10 years for some bankruptcies). And as these negative records age off your credit file, your score will begin to rise.
NCES Credit Restoration can often help this process along by speeding up the removal process for items that are close to their natural expiration date. Plus, many collection companies do not have the necessary documentation to legally prove the debt is owed. Once our specialists help you challenge these collections, many are deleted because of this lack of documentation.
No matter where your score is today, your credit report deserves your ongoing attention. There is about a 20% error rate among the big three credit reporting companies – meaning that 1 out of every 5 entries on your credit report may be inaccurate!
It is not necessary to pay to see a copy of your credit report. In fact, if you follow these steps, you can check your credit report for free three times a year for the rest of your life!
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If you have any questions, please give us a call at 770-952-5168 or contact us online.
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This information is intended for informational and educational purposes only and not as legal advice. If you have concerns about your credit report, harassment, identity theft, illegal collections activity, garnishments, or property liens, you should consult an attorney who specializes in consumer rights and defense.