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Breaking Down Your FICO Credit Score

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Your payment history and credit behavior play a large role in where your credit score standsThe struggling economy has made millions of Americans more aware of their credit scores, and many are now taking the chance to learn more about their three-digit number.

You may already know the credit score basics. Your credit score will generally range from 300 to 850, and the higher the score, the better. Your rating may impact your loan eligibility, rate assignment, employment prospects and even ability to secure tenancy. Your credit score is also determined by how well you manage your credit accounts. But even after knowing all this, you may still be wondering how your credit score will be judged by lenders. Most issuers use a range to categorize credit scores and determine your creditworthiness. Look at the breakdown below to see where you stand.

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Excellent
If your credit score is above 800, you fall into the top tier, and are likely to receive the most favorable rates and terms. To achieve this score, it is likely that you use your credit responsibly, pay your bills on time and have no negative public records information—such as a foreclosure—on your file.

Very Good
Credit scores between 750 and 800 will allow you to obtain some of the best terms and rates available because lenders view you as a low credit risk.

Good
If your credit score falls between 700 and 750, it is likely that you may qualify for competitive rates and terms. Good credit scores are often assigned to those whose accounts are paid in full and have low debt balances.

Fair
Fair credit scores are those that fall within the 650 and 700 range. Lenders may view you as a possible credit risk, namely due to high debt levels, missed payments or other negative information that may be impacting your score.

Bad
Credit scores between 600 and 650 are considered poor, and lenders are likely to view you as more of a credit risk. As a result, getting approved for financing may be difficult, and you will likely be required to pay higher interest rates and receive less favorable terms. Poor credit scores are often the result of a combination of negative payment information, ranging from late and missed payments, high levels of debt and derogatory public records information.

Very Bad
Credit scores below 600 may make you ineligible for loans and favorable rates. A combination of negative payment information and credit behavior is the most common cause of very bad credit scores.

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