If you have ever gone shopping for a new car or made an attempt to purchase a new home then you are probably familiar with your credit score. Even if you haven’t made any type of purchase that required you to obtain a loan or credit due to the amount of money involved you’ve probably still seen or heard the words credit score mentioned on the television or in a business or financial article. The reason for this is because our financial well being in today’s complicated credit/loan society revolves around that very powerful three digit number known as our credit score.
There are many ways to explain what exactly our credit score is, but frankly trying to sort out the scientific and mental calculations involved only serves to give me one big giant financial headache. The main point to remember here is that the credit score determines an individual consumer’s credit worthiness as seen in the eyes of the three main credit score companies or bureaus as they are sometimes called. The score is based on a combination of a consumer’s current credit situation and their previous credit history with many additional mitigating factors.
The three main credit bureaus are Trans Union, Equifax and Experian. Each company has developed (with the Fair Isaacs Company) their own unique method to determine your FICO (credit) score. Don’t be alarmed by this because although each credit bureau has their own method for determining your credit score the numbers remain standardized across all three companies. For instance a 700 with Trans Union is equal to a 700 with Equifax and Experian.
So what exactly constitutes a good credit score? In order to determine that we first need to know the scoring parameters that makes up the scoring scale. As previously mentioned your credit score is influenced by a variety of factors such as outstanding debt, your credit history, the types of credit you current have or use and your payment history. These factors when analyzed form a score that can run anywhere from a low of 375 to a high of 830 or 900 depending on which expert you ask. These numbers generally serve as a guideline that a credit lender can then use to incorporate into their own credit rules that are tailored to their company’s in-house credit program. However generally speaking a credit score higher then 650 has the potential to be considered good credit in most cases. The national average for the FICO credit score varies. I’ve seen it as high as 723 and as low as 676. With that said a consumer with a credit score higher then 700 is considered excellent, a credit score between 601 – 699 is decent and anything less then 600 could probably use a financial makeover in order to raise the credit score.
Keep in mind that these categories could fluctuate depending on the national average and also remember these numbers just represent a guideline for lenders to use when determining your credit worthiness based on the FICO credit score. It’s their in-house line of credit rules and regulations that will ultimately decide if you have a high enough credit score to obtain financing at the most favorable terms offered by their company. Once thing is for sure the higher the credit score number the easier it is to receive credit and the more favorable the repayment terms are as far as interest rates go.