What is credit?
Credit is the ability of a customer to obtain goods or services before payment, based on the trust that payment will be made in the future. The type of credit you have signifies how likely you are to pay back the money borrowed on time. This is why your credit history and score are so important to banks and can determine your eligibility for loans and credit cards.
What is your credit score?
Your credit score is a numerical value based off of an assessment of your financial history. Therefore if you have a bad, fair, or no credit score lenders will be more hesitant to offer you loans, and usually will charge higher fees & interest rates, with a lower spending limit to offset the amount of potential charges one might default on.
Credit scores range from 300 to 850, with higher scores being better. The average Fico score in the United States is currently 687, which is considered to be a good credit score.
- Excellent Credit: 740-850. Anything in the mid 700’s and higher is considered excellent credit, and will be greeted by easy credit approvals and the very best interest rates. (Credit.Org)
- Good Credit: 680-740. Scores around 700 are considered the threshold to “good” credit. Borrowers in this range will almost always be approved for a loan, and be offered very good interest rates. At this credit score, lenders are comfortable with the borrower, and the decision to extend credit is much easier. (Credit.Org)
- Acceptable Credit: 620-680. Scores in the mid 600’s mean you will most likely be given credit when you apply for it. You still won’t get the best interest rates, but borrowers with scores over 620 are considered less risky and are therefore likely to be approved. In this range, borrowers can expect to qualify for a prime rate.
- Subprime Credit: 550-620. It’s possible to get credit in this range, but not guaranteed. If you do get a loan, it will be at very disadvantageous terms: you will pay much higher interest rates and penalty fees. In this range it is worthwhile to address any specific credit problems you have and try to boost your score before applying for credit. In this range, borrowers typically become delinquent 50% of the time.
- Poor Credit: 300-550. It is generally accepted that credit scores below 550 are going to result in a rejection of credit every time. If your score has fallen into this range, you need to work to improve your score. Often a bankruptcy filing will bring a score down to this level; over time, the score will improve if you make your payments on time, every time.
Keep in mind that different lenders will have their own standards, and that your credit score is only part of the decision.