Understanding your FICO credit score can help you do all sorts of important things: buy a house, finance a car, or get a loan to cover other expenses. But FICO scores can vary greatly and sometimes, your range can be more important than the number itself.
This is because lenders know that your score is constantly changing. In fact, it’s only produced each type your score is called for so it can change up to the moment.
Let’s take a look at FICO’s ranges, the most recent additions, and what you can do to pump your score up a bit.
What are FICO’s ranges?
|FICO SCORE 8||300-579||580-669||670-739||740-799||800-850|
This is pretty straightforward – the higher your score, the better off you are. You’ll be able to get a better interest rate and have access to more products that are reserved for capable borrowers with good scores.
FICO’s credit scoring model has gone through many iterations – the one above is FICO Score 8. The latest is FICO Score 9 – many lenders, especially mortgage lenders, are reticent to change something they know works so they haven’t upgraded as yet.
Still, others may use an older model or completely different model altogether, like VantageScore. Your lender may also use their own proprietary methodology based on the FICO model as it’s the foundation.
It’s important to note that not all lenders fit squarely into these strata. You may find your lender telling you that your 810 credit score is just “good” not “excellent.” Don’t get upset – they have to provide you with the report and score they used but they could be producing their own material.
Industry-specific FICO Ranges
FICO also produces a number of FICO scores for specific industries. It stands to reason that an individual could be totally able to purchase a $35,000 vehicle but not a $350,000 home.
Industry-specific scores take different factors into account. For example, the FICO Auto Score will more heavily weight factors that affect a consumer’s ability to repay an auto loan. These specifics aren’t released but we can deduce that an auto score will take into account paycheck and whether you rent or own your home, as well as other debt obligations.
The range of these scores is slightly large, going from 250 to 900.
I know my range…is it good?
That massively depends. The definition of good will depend on the lender and the type of loan you’re getting. Remember that different lenders have different criteria and different types of loans have different requirements.
You may be a perfect fit for a bank’s credit card but not their auto loan product. This is because their credit standards for credit cards are different than that of their auto products.
Your credit score is important and maintaining your credit file in good order is critical. However, many lenders weigh other things higher.
For example, your debt to income ratio is an extremely good indicator of your ability to repay a loan. Lenders will total up the debt you have and compare it to your income. The lower the ratio the better, meaning you have more monthly capital to put toward new debt.
So what can I do?
There are several easy ways to stay in a good FICO credit score range.
First, make on-time payments. This is the single best way to ensure your score goes up. Paying on time shows lenders that you are responsible.
Second, use a small portion of your total overall credit. This shows lenders that you are planning and not getting overly leveraged.
Finally, make larger payments that the minimums, if possible. This will help you use your credit but keep you out of debt.
Your FICO credit score range can vary from day to day and lender to lender. However, taking a proactive approach to your credit can help you keep your score up and means you’ll be able to meet your financial goals.