Credit Score

What Do My Credit Score Numbers Mean?

Comments 15 Comments

550? 725? 680? What does your credit score mean? In this chart, we take a look at what goes into having excellent, very good, good, fair, bad and very bad credit.

See what your credit score tells lenders and where you can improve. This useful guide to credit scores, compiled by’s Credit Experts, is based on the most common credit scoring range used by FICO.

Of course these are generalizations with almost as many exceptions as rules, but it provides a useful guide for any consumer.

If you’re trying to build — or maintain — your credit, it helps to monitor it regularly, along with your credit reports, to check your progress and look for areas you need to work on. You can obtain your credit reports for free from each of the three major credit reporting agencies once a year through And you can get your credit score for free once a month using’s Free Credit Report Card.


Late payments, collections, public records

Credit utilization

(balance/limit ratio)

Length of credit history

New accounts & Inquiries

Rates qualifying for

Score range



1% – 10%





Very good


1% – 10%

Medium to long

Very few




None recently

10% – 25%



Low to medium



Recently, but not currently

25% – 50%

Short to medium

More than a few

Low to medium



Currently and in the past

50% – 75%


Too many

Medium to high


Very bad

Currently and in the past

75% – 100%+


Too many


Below 600

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  • caz

    Helpful, thanks!

  • pkay

    i have a credit score of 597 and I am a sophomore in highschool. could my credit score be bad because i took out loans (both subsidized and unsubsidized)

    • Credit Experts

      If you took out loans and the loans weren’t paid or went delinquent, this could definitely have a negative impact on your credit scores. The only way to know for sure why your credit score is bad is to review the reason codes or score factors that were included with your score. With you only being a high-school sophomore, this raises a red flag for me. Did you actually apply and get approved for these loans on your own?

      To explain, your credit scores are based on the information being reported in your credit reports. Which means your credit scores are only as accurate as the information being reported in your credit reports.

      Under federal law you’re entitled to one free copy of your credit reports from each of the three credit reporting agencies once every twelve months. If you haven’t already done so, we’d encourage you to claim your annual freebie to make sure the information being reported actually belongs to you. To claim your free reports visit

  • Kitty

    My credit score is 379 I’ve never had credit before and this is the first time its popped up with me actually having a line of credit… not sure what’s going on here.

    • Gerri Detweiler

      Kitty – are you saying that you don’t have a line of credit? If so what you need to do is get your credit reports from and find out who is reporting. If the account is not yours, follow the steps in this article: A Step-By-Step Guide to Disputing Credit Report Mistakes

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Where did you purchase or receive this score? That source should be able to tell you. Unfortunately I am not familiar with this kind of credit score.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    It all depends on what the lender is looking for. In many scoring models 796 is very good – but it does depend on which credit score range is being used when you review your score. Where are you getting this score?

    This article may help as well: The Credit Score Range

  • Raj

    Hi thats my credit score whats that mean…. Can anyone explain how its work… Please

    • Credit Experts

      Raj —

      Your credit score is a 3-digit number that lenders use to decide how likely you are to repay money if they lend it to you. It can also affect the interest rates you are offered on credit cards, car loans or mortgages. You can get a free credit score for yourself with a account and see the factors that affect it. You can find more information here:

      The Credit Score Range

      Here’s how to monitor your credit score for free.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Perhaps she obtained her free credit score through a service like When we show consumers their credit scores we also show them letter grades for each of the five main factors affecting their scores.

  • Gerri Detweiler

    I am unfamiliar with that specific type of reporting so I can’t speculate as to what it is or what it means. However, the law requires the credit reporting agency explain anything you don’t understand on your report. Have you tried calling them?

    We wrote about how collection accounts affect your credit scores here: The 7 Biggest Questions About Debt Collections & Your Credit

  • Gerri Detweiler

    The Equifax Risk Score runs on a similar range to FICO, with the highest score being 850. So you should be in good shape with a score in the 800s. This article may be helpful: What Is a Good Credit Score?

  • Gerri Detweiler

    Hmmm…do you mean 200? Where are you getting your score from?

  • Help

    I am helping a credit union find contract workers, but they must pass a detailed credit check before being hired. They managers said they care more about behavioral credit issues than the overall credit score. I have been asking people mainly about bankruptcies and write-offs but I feel l am missing a bunch and need to be more specific. Do you have any other solid questions I should be asking so these candidates don’t get flag as unhireable at the end of the process?

    • Credit Experts

      You can let candidates know that the credit union does credit checks as part of the hiring process, and that late payments, bankruptcies or judgments could be viewed very negatively. It might also give candidates an opportunity to explain negative information ahead of time (such as a medical crisis resulted in late payments and/or bankruptcy).

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