Having good credit has never been more important. A high credit score can get you good rates on your loans which will translate into thousands of dollars of interest savings over the life of your loans. So what is considered to be a good credit score? Here’s a breakdown:
Credit Score Range
- 700+ = excellent credit
- 640-699 = good credit
- 575-639 = fair credit
- <575 = poor credit
Knowing your credit score is the first step on the journey to having great credit. If you don’t know your credit score you can get a free copy of your credit report and a free credit score at AnnualCreditReport.com. Once you know your score you can start the process of trying to improve your credit if your feel your score is not good enough.
Tips on How to Raise Your Credit Score
There are several things you can do on your own to raise your credit score. Here are a few:
- Verify all of the information on your report. If there are derogatory items on your credit report that are incorrect you can write the credit bureau to get them removed. Include a copy of your credit report and highlight the items that are incorrect along with a detailed explanation.
- Don’t hit your limit on revolving accounts like credit cards. Your score will be higher if you have plenty of available credit on your revolving accounts. If you are close to your limit do everything you can to pay it down.
- Don’t close out all of your unused accounts. If you have a few credit cards that you are not using you should not be in a hurry to close them. Having a few open accounts that have no balances will actually help your score. Since your score goes up when you have used only a small amount of your available credit – you can benefit from having a few open accounts that you don’t use.
- Work Opportunities: Some employers ask candidates to complete background checks before making an offer for a job – especially if the position is financial in nature. A good credit score can give you a competitive edge over other candidates if all other things are equal, while a bad credit rating could defer an offer of employment.
- When shopping for a loan try to do all of your shopping within a focused period of time. If you have multiple inquiries on your credit in a short period of time they will not impact you score as much as having a bunch of inquiries that occur over a longer more consistent time period.
Raising your credit score doesn’t happen overnight but it is worth the hard work. Here’s an illustration to show how much a typical consumer can save on a $300,000 – 30 year fixed mortgage with a higher credit score:
FICO Score APR Monthly Payment
760-850 5.256% $1,658
700-759 5.478% $1,699
680-699 5.655% $1,733
660-679 5.869% $1,773
640-659 6.299% $1,857
620-639 6.845% $1,965
If your credit score is really low and you feel like your problems are too big to tackle on your own you can enlist the help of a credit repair company. Be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and RipoffReport.com before you sign up with a company. You will also want to make sure that your expectations are realistic as it can take many months to see any meaningful increase in your credit score.
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