What's a Good Credit Score? | MMI (2024)

You know you don't want to have "bad" credit. And you also don't want to have no credit at all. That leaves only one desirable option: good credit!

But what's considered good credit these days? And how much do you stand to gain by having good to excellent credit? Let's break it down.

Modern credit scoring models

To know what's considered a good credit score, you first need to know what the scale is. There are actually quite a few different credit scoring models, including many that are specifically tailored for things like mortgage lending and auto lending. In fact, even the companies that produce credit scores typically offer multiple variations and iterations.

The most widespread by far, however, is the FICO Score. Developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation, it's so prevalent that the brand name is often synonymous with the product itself (see also: Xerox and Frisbee).

It's not the only game in town, though. VantageScore was developed jointly by the three most prominent credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax). Both systems have several versions and they typically weigh the same information, just in a different ratio. For example, VantageScore puts slightly more emphasis on your payment history. It's also a bit more nuanced: where FICO has a category for "amounts owed" that makes up 30% of your FICO score, VantageScore separates that same information into three distinct categories (credit utilization, balances, and available credit).

For both FICO and VantageScore, however, the score range is the same: 300-850.

FICO Score range

  • 800-850: Exceptional
  • 740-799: Very good
  • 670-739: Good
  • 580-669: Fair
  • 300-580: Poor

VantageScore range

  • 781-850: Excellent
  • 661-780: Good
  • 601-660: Fair
  • 500-600: Poor
  • 300-499: Very poor

It's notable that VantageScore has a more lenient take on what's considered an "excellent" score, while FICO lumps everything below 580 into the same boat.

What's a normal credit score?

As you can see, credit scores can come in a wide range, so there's no normal or abnormal when it comes to credit. Looking at the average, however, we can see that nationwide credit scores have been largely "good" and improving over time.

In 2023, the average FICO Score in the U.S. was 715, firmly in the camp of "good, not great". Importantly, however, 2023 was the tenth straight year where average FICO Scores either improved or held steady. In 2013, the average was 691.

When scores are improving it means that lenders may have higher standards for credit. As scores continue to rise, it's important that you work on your own credit or risk falling behind.

What's the value of having good credit?

Good credit can help open a lot of doors. Among other things, a good credit score can help with:

  • Job hunting - Some employers may require a strong credit history if the job involves financial responsibilities or important security clearances.
  • Finding a good apartment - Many landlords require a credit check as part of the application process, and you may be disqualified from some opportunities if your credit score is too low.
  • Avoiding security deposits - Security deposits are a way for landlords and utility providers to offset risk. If you have a high enough credit score, you may be perceived as having very little risk, which may result in certain security deposits being waived.
  • Better insurance rates - Some insurance companies use credit scores as a factor in determining insurance premiums. People with excellent credit scores may qualify for lower rates on auto insurance, homeowners insurance, and other types of insurance coverage.

The biggest value of good credit is almost always financial. Good credit = low risk to lenders = better rates for you.

Bankrate broke down the average interest rate for personal loans by credit score. Excellent credit resulted in an interest rate between 10.73% and 12.50%. Poor credit resulted in interest rates as high as 32%.

For reference, a $10,000 loan at 12% APR with a 5 year term would cost approximately $223 per month and $13,350 once paid in full. A $10,000 loan at 28% APR with a 5 year term would cost approximately $312 per month and $18,680 once paid in full. In that scenario, bad credit would literally cost you $5,000 in added interest costs.

Auto loans rates are lower than personal loan rates since they're secured by real property (in this case, the car), but the cost of having bad credit can still be massive. Bankrate found that the average interest rate for used car borrowers with FICO Scores of 781 and above was 7.66%. For borrowers with a score below 500, the average APR was 21.55%.

How to get good credit

While all credit scoring models weigh factors differently, there are some universal truths:

  • Don't miss payments
  • Don't use too much of your available credit
  • Maintain multiple types of credit successfully
  • Don't open too many new accounts all at once

If you're interested in learning more about your credit history, including ways to improve your credit history over time, MMI offers one-on-one credit report reviews. We'll help you understand every element of your credit report and create a personalized plan to make your credit goals a reality.

What's a Good Credit Score? | MMI (2024)


What's a Good Credit Score? | MMI? ›

For a score with a range between 300 and 850, a credit score of 700 or above is generally considered good. A score of 800 or above on the same range is considered to be excellent. Most consumers have credit scores that fall between 600 and 750. In 2022, the average FICO® Score in the U.S. reached 714.

What is a good enough credit score? ›

Although ranges vary depending on the credit scoring model, generally credit scores from 580 to 669 are considered fair; 670 to 739 are considered good; 740 to 799 are considered very good; and 800 and up are considered excellent.

What is the good credit score? ›


Is a 750 a good credit score? ›

A 750 credit score is Very Good, but it can be even better. If you can elevate your score into the Exceptional range (800-850), you could become eligible for the very best lending terms, including the lowest interest rates and fees, and the most enticing credit-card rewards programs.

What can a 780 credit score do for you? ›

A 780 credit score is often considered very good — or even excellent. With excellent credit, your credit scores become more of a bridge and less of a roadblock — a high score can help you qualify for premium rewards credit cards, auto loans and mortgages with the best terms.

What is a good credit score by age? ›

How Credit Scores Breakdown by Generation
Average FICO 8 Score by Generation
Generation Z (ages 18-26)679 - Good680 - Good
Millennials (27-42)687 - Good690 - Good
Generation X (43-58)707 - Good709 - Good
2 more rows

What's the lowest credit score? ›

The lowest score you can get with either model is 300, though past scoring models have gone lower (and aren't used so much today). According to FICO, an estimated 11.1% of Americans have a FICO score ranging between 300 and 549 as of 2019.

What is a good credit score to buy a car? ›

Your credit score is a major factor in whether you'll be approved for a car loan. Some lenders use specialized credit scores, such as a FICO Auto Score. In general, you'll need at least prime credit, meaning a credit score of 661 or up, to get a loan at a good interest rate.

What credit score is needed to buy a house? ›

The minimum credit score needed for most mortgages is typically around 620. However, government-backed mortgages like Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans typically have lower credit requirements than conventional fixed-rate loans and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs).

What credit score is needed to buy a car? ›

The credit score required and other eligibility factors for buying a car vary by lender and loan terms. Still, you typically need a good credit score of 661 or higher to qualify for an auto loan. About 69% of retail vehicle financing is for borrowers with credit scores of 661 or higher, according to Experian.

Is a 900 credit score possible? ›

Highlights: While older models of credit scores used to go as high as 900, you can no longer achieve a 900 credit score. The highest score you can receive today is 850. Anything above 800 is considered an excellent credit score.

Can I buy a house with a 723 credit score? ›

However, with a 723 credit score, you should qualify for rates on-par with national averages. Also, even though your score qualifies you for a mortgage, it's important to know that the lower your score is, the stronger the rest of your qualifications are generally expected to be.

Can I buy a house with a 770 credit score? ›

Many conventional loans allow you to borrow with a ”fair” credit score of 620 or higher, though your interest rate may be higher than it would be with a higher credit score. FHA loans can allow scores as low as 500, but will require a higher down payment.

Can I buy a house with a 780 credit score? ›

Borrowers with a FICO credit score above 780 and a down payment of at least 40% will see the lowest possible financing charges, while those with a score below 640 could see the highest rates available.

How big of a loan can I get with a 780 credit score? ›

Best Personal Loans for a 780 Credit Score
LenderLoan AmountsAPRs
SoFi$5,000 - $100,0008.99% - 29.99% Fixed APR with all discounts
Wells Fargo$3,000 - $100,0007.49% - 23.24%
USAA$1,000 - $100,0007.24% - 17.65%
Discover$2,500 - $40,0007.49% - 24.99%
1 more row
Aug 26, 2022

Does anyone have an 850 credit score? ›

Only 1.31% of Americans with a FICO® Score have a perfect 850 credit score. While a score this high is rare among any demographic, older generations are more likely to have perfect credit. Baby boomers make up a whopping 59.4% of the people with an 850 credit score.

Can I buy a house with 675 credit score? ›

Conforming mortgages (conventional loans that meet the standards of Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac) require a score of 620, while FHA mortgages with low down payments require a 580. Your score puts you comfortably over both thresholds.

Is 600 a good or bad credit score? ›

Your score falls within the range of scores, from 580 to 669, considered Fair. A 600 FICO® Score is below the average credit score. Some lenders see consumers with scores in the Fair range as having unfavorable credit, and may decline their credit applications.

Can I buy a house with a 643 credit score? ›

Can I get a mortgage with an 643 credit score? Yes, your 643 credit score can qualify you for a mortgage. And you have a couple of main options. With a credit score of 580 or higher, you can qualify for an FHA loan to buy a home with a down payment of just 3.5%.

What percentage of population has over 800 credit score? ›

Less than 21% of people have a credit score over 800. A credit score of 800+ is considered perfect credit, indicates that a borrower uses credit very responsibly, and qualifies the person for the best loan and credit card terms.

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