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What is a good credit score?

What is the average credit score?

The Bar
Finally, a way to tell exactly what is "good" credit. They actually come right out and give numbers.

High 700s

Fair Isaac: "Those agencies [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac], which buy mortgages from banks and resell them to investors, have indicated to lenders that any consumer with a FICO score above 620 is good while consumers below 620 should result in further inquiry from the lender, Watts said... Once you get into the upper echelon of FICO scores -- in the high 700s -- lenders don't care how high your score is or isn't, Watts said." - Knight Ridder, 2002 (alt)(alt)


770

Freddie Mac: 770: A+ (alt) (also, 770: "Very good," 2010)

SmartMoney.com: "The very best rates go to people with scores above 770, but a score of 700 is considered good (the average score is somewhere around 725), says Craig Watts, Fair Isaac's spokesperson." (770 changed to 760 in update dated 2008)

Frontline, PBS: "The best credit rates are given to people with scores above 770, but a score of 700 -- out of a possible 850 [actually, the scale has 550 points ed.] -- is considered good, according to Fair Isaac." (2004)



760

FICO Home Purchase (and Refinance) Center rate chart top tier: 760 (2010)

MSN Money: "And if your scores are in the 'excellent' category, 760 or above, you'll probably be able to eke out only a few extra points despite your best efforts." (updated 2010)

"Today's 760 is what a 720 used to be." - Equifax spokesman (2009)

Fair Isaac (FICO) rate chart top tier: 760 - 850: 5.46% (7/24/05)


"Mid 700s"

Fair Isaac: "However, if you already have a high FICO score (for example, in the mid 700s or higher)... " (2009)


750

LendingTree: "Typically, scores over 750 are excellent, while those below 620 are considered risky." (2007)

Bankrate.com (quoting a co-founder of MortgageIT.com): "If you get above 750 -- with some lenders in some cases -- you'd see another improvement in the points." (2005)




740

FICO Home Equity Center rate chart top tier: 740 (2010)

Fannie Mae: Top category: ≥ 740 (April 30, 2010)

MSN Money: "These days, lenders typically demand 740 scores for the best mortgage rates." (2010)

Bankrate: Now, rate adjustments begin kicking in at 740, with every 20-point drop adding another adjustment." (2010)

Fannie Mae: "I think most of you probably know that a 740 credit score represents an excellent credit risk and an excellent credit history... " (1999)


733

Standard and Poors: "Average FICO for Prime Deals (30 Year Fixed): 733 (2002)" (1998: 718)


730

TransUnion: "Looking solely at your FICO score, however, most lenders would consider this score as very good." (2010)

Scion of Garden Grove: "Sign 'n Drive+: Fico 730 +"

E-Loan: "Above 730: Excellent credit" (dead link)



723

Average credit score

Fair Isaac: "The Median FICO Score in the U.S. is 723."
(2010: 723 statistic no longer exists on myFICO.com)



720

CBS: "The best number to have is 720 or above. If your score is 720, there's really no need to try and raise it because lenders lump you in the same category as folks with a score of say 800 or 820." (see 760)(2003)

Charles A. Capone, Jr., Ph.D, Senior Analyst, Microeconomic and Financial Studies Division U.S. Congressional Budget Office Washington, DC, writing in "Research Into Mortgage Default and Affordable Housing: A Primer": "For most of the 1990s, the mortgage market viewed a FICO score of 620 as the bottom cut off for prime loans, meaning loans that could be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Scores in the 580-620 range were considered 'near' prime, with labels such as A-minus, and those above 720 were considered low risk borrowers." (2001)(alt)

Quicken Loans, a subsidiary of Rock Holdings: "Scores of 720 and above are considered top tier." (dead link)

Wikipedia, "the free encyclopedia": "A score above 720 is considered to be 'good credit,' and a score below 600 is considered to be poor."

Bankrate.com: "A score of 720 or higher will get you the most favorable interest rates on a mortgage, according to data from Fair Isaac Corp., a California-based company that developed the credit score." ("Posted: March 1, 2005")

U.S. Department of Agriculture: "FICO Scores of 720 and above. The risk of default is statistically very low for applicants with credit scores in this range."

Las Vegas SUN: "Fair Isaac said that for a $150,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage consumers with a score of 720 or better would be in line for an interest rate of 5.82 percent, translating into a monthly payment of $882." (alt)(2005)

Clark Howard: "The score of 720 or above means you’re in great shape credit wise." (2004)(alt)


710

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis: "A score above 710 is normally considered a good credit risk, while a score under 620 is considered a very high risk." (2000)


The "700s"

Fair Isaac: "For most kinds of credit, 700 or maybe a little bit up in the 700's. Anything above that is considered golden for most kinds of credit." (1999)

Consumer Federation of America: "And, only 13% correctly understand that scores above the low 700s usually qualify them for the lowest rates." (2004)

Baltimore Sun: "The lowest interest rates are reserved for those with scores above the low 700s." (2004)(alt)


700

Fair Isaac and the Consumer Federation of America: "In the eyes of most lenders, FICO scores above 700 are very good and a sign of financial health." (2005)(alt link to a federal government web site)

Fair Isaac: "... a score above 700 indicates relatively low credit risk, while scores below 600 indicate relatively high risk... " (2005)(alt)

Fair Isaac: “'A score of 700 or above is considered healthy,' says Ryan Sjoblad, public-relations exec at Fair Isaac."

University of California Office of the President: "The result is a score from between 350 and 850 with 700 or higher being generally considered a 'good' credit risk."

LA Times: "Generally speaking, a score of 700 or more gets you the best credit and fast loan approvals." (2001)(alt)

Palm Beach Post: "Generally, a score above 700 will yield credit at the most favorable interest rate." (2005)(alt)


690

Suze Orman, hip hop (flip-flop) FICO Woman:

"These days, just about anyone can get credit, but to qualify for the best loan rates, borrowers generally need scores above 690." (2005)(2010: "760")

"Typically any score above 720 is considered top-notch and will qualify you for the best deals." - "A Suze Orman exclusive" (also includes a table showing 760 as the top tier)


680

Fannie Mae Foundation: "For example, 43 percent of minority applicaitons have FICO scores falling in the 580 to 679 range, arguably the area of close calls in underwriting. By contrast, 32 percent of nonminority applications fall between this range." (2005)

Newsweek/MSNBC: "If yours is below 680, shop for a mortgage broker that works with a rescorer." (2005)(alt)

Office of Thrift Supervision, Washington, DC, 2000: "Anecdotally, a credit score of 680 usually qualifies a borrower for consideration for a prime loan, whereas a score below 620 virtually eliminates that possibility." - Fred Phillips-Patrick, Eric Hirschhorn, Jonathan Jones, and John LaRocca, Research & Analysis, Office of Thrift Supervision


660

Consumers Union, Non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports: "A borrower with a score of 660 or greater is considered to be of less risk for the lender, while a score of 620 or lower is a poor credit score."

Ford Foundation president Susan V. Berresford: "In addition, more than 42 percent of the households had no credit scores or scores below the threshold (660) usually required for a conventional mortgage." (2003)(alt)

Kenneth Harney, Washington Post: "For borrowers with scores over 660, Freddie Mac presumes they're willing to repay the loan." (dead link)

Testimony of Prof. Michael E. Staten, Director, Credit Research Center, Georgetown University, before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services Hearing on “Subprime Lending: Defining the Market and its Customers,” March 30, 2004:

Banking regulatory agencies generally designate a subprime borrower as having one or more of the following credit history characteristics: two or more 30-day delinquencies in the past 12 months; one or more 60-day delinquencies in the last 24 months; a collection-related legal judgment, foreclosure, repossession, or account charge-off in the past 24 months; bankruptcy in the previous 5 years; a high default probability as measured by a Fair Isaac Co. (FICO) credit score of 660 or below; or a debt-service-to-income ratio of 50% or greater.


650

U.S. Department of the Treasury: "Lenders differ with respect to mortgage underwriting guidelines, but the typical 'A' credit or prime borrower – that is, a borrower whose loan would be purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac under their guidelines – has a FICO score that exceeds 650, has no late mortgage payments, and no more than one 30 day late payment on consumer credit."

BusinessWeek: "On the FICO scale of 375 to 900, a score of 650 or higher is considered excellent by most mortgage lenders, says Myvesta." (2001)

About.com: "In mortgage lending, for example, 650-675 is very good."

Experian/Yahoo!: "Under mortgage lending guidelines, for example, a score of 650 or above indicates a very good credit history." (2005, Experian)

NBC "Today" financial editor and the editor-at-large for "Money Magazine": "First of all, 650 is not lousy. It's average." (2004)

Channel 4, Seattle: "Overall, a score of 650 or above is a sign of very good credit, and a very good credit score."

Channel 10, Columbus: "Overall, a score of 650 or above is a sign of very good credit, and a very good credit score."

Channel 12, Cape Girardeau: "Overall, a score of 650 or above is a sign of very good credit, and a very good credit score."

Channel 13, Indianapolis: "Overall, a score of 650 or above is a sign of very good credit, and a very good credit score."

Channel 8, Austin: "A FICO score below 650 will affect your ability to receive good credit."

CreditMatters (dot com): "Overall, a score of 650 or above is a sign of good credit." Please bear with us, viewers; this is complicated. This may be the source of the TV stations' information. creditmatters.com is "a ConsumerInfo.Com Site." ConsumerInfo.com is "an Experian company." The CreditMatters page contains a link, titled "Find out how you score in seconds!" The page that link refers to has a link titled "More Information." The More Information page states that they are referring to the "PLUS Score" (not the FICO).

Bankrate.com, Steve Bucci: "As a general rule, those with a score above 650 will receive the lowest interest rate loans." (2002)

Don Taylor / Special to The Detroit News: "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a credit score of 650 isn't a fairly good credit score -- 58 percent of Americans with a credit score have a higher credit score than you."

Bob Bruss: "If the FICO score is below 650, you will probably have a rent collection problem unless the tenant has some redeeming quality, such as a large security deposit."


640

Bankrate.com: "Generally speaking, 640 and higher is considered a pretty good score." (2001)

USA Today: "Generally, a score of 640 or higher results in a mortgage on favorable terms... Source: Fair Isaac" (2000)

"Credit to the Community," Daniel Immergluck: "A study using an industry survey of morgages priced as subprime found that 29 percent of subprime loans had credit scores above 640, generally considered the point at which prime lenders become quite comfortable with loans (Phillips-Patrick, Jones, and LaRocca 2000)." (see 680, above)


620

Charles A. Capone, Jr., Ph.D Senior Analyst, Microeconomic and Financial Studies Division U.S. Congressional Budget Office Washington, DC, writing in "Research Into Mortgage Default and Affordable Housing: A Primer": For most of the 1990s, the mortgage market viewed a FICO score of 620 as the bottom cut off for prime loans, meaning loans that could be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Scores in the 580-620 range were considered 'near' prime, with labels such as A-minus, and those above 720 were considered low risk borrowers." (2001)(alt)

Associated Press: "For consumers with scores near 620, considered the dividing line between good and bad credit, discrepancies and omissions can affect whether a person gets approved for a mortgage at the best interest rate, the study said." (2002)(alt)

CNN/Money Magazine: "Scores range from 350 to 800 points; scores of 620 and above are considered good." ("Money Magazine Editor-at-Large Jean Chatzky appears regularly on NBC's Today.")(2003)

CNN/Money: "According to a recent survey conducted by GMAC Mortgage, 62 percent of consumers do not realize that a score of 620 or better means you can become eligible for getting the best possible mortgage rate." (but the same page shows a chart from Fair Isaac with the best rate as 5.35% while a 620 score gets 6.94) (2005)

CNNfn, CNN/Money: "Credit scores in the range of 620-650 indicate basically good credit. A score above 680 will most likely qualify you for the best rate your lender has to offer." (2004)

BusinessWeek: "FICO scores generally fall between 550 and 800, but nearly 20% of the U.S. population has a credit score under 620, generally the cutoff for a prime-rate loan." (2002)

Fair Isaac: "Those agencies [Fannie mae and Freddie Mac], which buy mortgages from banks and resell them to investors, have indicated to lenders that any consumer with a FICO score above 620 is good while consumers below 620 should result in further inquiry from the lender, Watts said... Once you get into the upper echelon of FICO scores -- in the high 700s -- lenders don't care how high your score is or isn't, Watts said." (dead link)

Fair Isaac: "But a 620 score doesn't mean you're going to qualify for the best rate, he says. 'It means you're going to qualify for a standardized rate, or a prime rate. `Prime' is a broad category, so lenders will have different loan products that classify as `prime' rates.'"

St. Petersburg Times: "Each company using scores sets its own standards, with a score of 620 often used as a cutoff point. Fall below that and you are likely to be labeled a high risk." (2003)

Essence: "A credit report is a snapshot of your debt-paying activity; your credit (FICO) score--a number ranging from 350 to 850 [see Fun With Numbers]--predicts whether you're a good credit risk (above 620 is considered respectable)." (alt)

Chicago Tribune: "A credit score is a single number, between 300 and 850, with any score above about 620 considered respectable."

Chicago Tribune

U.S. Department of Agriculture: "FICO Scores Below 620. The risk of default is statistically very high for applicants who have credit scores in this range."

HGTV/Bankrate.com: "If you get an A, the lender will quote you its best rate and terms.... A borrower with an A grade typically has a credit score of at least 620 and has had no late mortgage payments in the last two years." (alt)


600

Dallas Morning News: "A score below 600 indicates a relatively high risk."

Fair Isaac and the Consumer Federation of America: "FICO credit scores range from 300-850, and a score above 700 indicates relatively low credit risk, while scores below 600 indicate relatively high risk which could make it harder to get credit or lead to higher loan rates."

Fair Isaac: "Anything below 600 is considered someone who probably has credit problems that need to be addressed."

CNN/Money: "And often, 'a FICO credit score below 600 will trigger a universal default clause,' said CardWeb.com CEO Robert McKinley in an email exchange."

SmartMoney.com: "Scores above 700 indicate a relatively low credit risk, according to Fair Isaac, while scores below 600 indicate relatively high risk and may result in credit denial or elevated interest rates."


580

Charles A. Capone, Jr., Ph.D Senior Analyst, Microeconomic and Financial Studies Division U.S. Congressional Budget Office Washington, DC, writing in "Research Into Mortgage Default and Affordable Housing: A Primer": For most of the 1990s, the mortgage market viewed a FICO score of 620 as the bottom cut off for prime loans, meaning loans that could be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Scores in the 580-620 range were considered 'near' prime, with labels such as A-minus, and those above 720 were considered low risk borrowers."


550

Fair Isaac: "Anything below about 550 is considered awful."


Skirting

Fannie Mae; non-committal: "What is a 'good' credit score? That depends on the creditscoring model and the lender. For example, one computer model ranges scores from 300 to 900 [see Fun with Numbers]; the higher the number, the better."

VantageScore: "Your lender is best able to answer this question based on its criteria."

Sales: "Talk to your Wells Fargo loan officer for guidance."

Old links