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I Have a 670 Credit Score. What Does That Mean?

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Free credit scores you can get online are like pumpkins in a pumpkin patch: They all sort of look the same, but really, they can be very different. They’re also everywhere.

So here you are, in this expansive garden of credit scores, and you choose the score you want to review. Is it really that different than the credit score/pumpkin that’s sitting right next to it? A pumpkin is a pumpkin, right?

I don’t really know anything about squash, but as far as credit scores go, each one is a little different. It’s a common question we get from readers — “I have a credit score of XXX. What does that mean?” The answer may be more complex than you think.

Say you find out your credit score is 670. To get a better sense of what that means, you first should find out what scoring model generated that score. For example, if you get your two free credit scores on Credit.com, you’ll see that one of them is a VantageScore 3.0, which has a scale of 300-850. On that scale, a 670 is a good credit score — it’s closer to fair than excellent, but it’s pretty good. If you can find out what scoring model was used and what the scale on that model is (you may be able to find these details through an online search), you might get an idea of what that score means.

Figuring out the score and the scale is important because while a 670 is good on a scale of 300-850, it’s not as good on a scale of 501-990, another possible credit score range. Numbers have meaning only when they’re put in perspective.

Additionally, the scale is just a guideline — lenders have their own standards. Say a lender uses a FICO score with a scale of 300-850. You may have a 670 FICO score, which is pretty good, but that lender may only approve applicants with a 720 score, which may mean you won’t be approved, even though 670 and 720 are both considered “good” credit scores. A 670 (on that 300-850 scale) is a borderline score, so small improvements or problems in your payment history could make a big difference when you’re applying for credit. It’s also important to be aware that scores fluctuate, so you want to aim for a score that is comfortably above any cutoff.

“Essentially, a good credit score gets you what you want, and if it’s not getting you what you want, you need to work on it,” said Gerri Detweiler, Credit.com’s director of consumer education.

It helps to head into the pumpkin patch knowing if you’re going to eat the pumpkin or just use it for decor. Similarly, when you get a credit score, you want to be able to put it in the proper context. Here’s an overview of what qualifies as a good credit score on the commonly used 300-850 range and some other details on credit score ranges.

More on Credit Scores:

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  • heavyw8t

    Vantage 3.0 seems to level the playing field some. I have been watching my scores (and keeping a spreadsheet graphing the movement) for about 2 years. I gathered scores from the various free score web pages, and say that there was a wide range of variation. That made me start asking the simple question “Since my past financial performance can not change, how is it that he same past financial performance data can result in scores that vary by as much as 35-50 points?” It was only then that I learned of the 17,293,132 different scoring models. I learned that the mortgage model is very different from the credit card model, the auto loan model, the renter application model, the auto insurance model….. Apparently one thing that matters is whether the purchase is a tangible (repossess-able) item like a house or a car, or just revolving credit like a credit card. Where a car can be repossessed or a house can be foreclosed upon, the consumable items you bought with the credit card and never paid for can not.

    I have also noticed that I am in complete control of my scores. If I do what I am supposed to do, my scores go up. Gerri Detweiler helped me a lot and told my story some time back when my score improved 50 points in 6 months. I did nothing but clean up a bad entry and pay my bills on time, watched my credit utilization, and simply stated applied some discipline to my spending life, and everything got better over the last 20 months or so to where when I looked at a refi in May the credit was not an issue.

    Huge thanks to ALL the contributing authors here. The info is here if people will just take the time to read it and apply it.

  • Michael Ricci

    How about when you check your credit score for two different credit cards that both use TransUnion — and both credit card companies are showing different scores?

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      There are literally thousands of credit score models. Even using the same data, the different models may weight it differently (or do it on different days, when balances are different).

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