Editor's choice: Experian Credit Report
- Free FICO Score
- Credit alerts and monitoring
- Report & score updated every 30 days
Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.
Your credit score is a three-digit numerical representation of your credit report that falls between 300 and 850.
It is calculated by credit bureaus that include the “big three”: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Each credit-scoring bureau uses different criteria for measuring your credit score, weighing your history against a proprietary algorithm.
The higher your credit score is, the better position you’re in to get approval for financial products with low interest rates and flexible terms.
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
In 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau pushed for top credit card companies to show consumers their credit score free of charge. Since then, many of the main credit card issuers have obliged, letting customers see their score either on a monthly statement or online.
While many of the lenders only allows its customers to view their credit score, Discover and Capital One allows everyone — customer or not — to access their credit score.
Lenders and credit providers use both your credit score and the information in your credit report to make decisions about whether you’re a reliable borrower for credit cards, personal loans, a mortgage or auto loans — plus the rates you’ll receive. On top of that, it can also determine how much you’ll pay for car insurance and rent.
Knowing your credit score can tell you where you fall in the credit range, from poor to excellent credit, and how your overall financial health is viewed by potential lenders.
You have a few different types of credit scores and each one is calculated differently depending on the credit reporting agency. In general, each of the factors below are what credit bureaus use to calculate your overall credit score.
Avoid these five common credit mistakes that could potentially impact and drag your score down:
Today, FICO Scores are used in 90% of credit decisions, which makes it a good barometer of how potential lenders might see you when determining approval.
|Rating||FICO score range|
|Poor||579 and below|
Scoring systems will vary depending on where you’re getting your score from. However, they’re all similar in that the higher the credit score, the better your chances are at being approved for a loan.
Lenders and even the bureaus weigh the information in your credit history differently, but they’ve widely adopted two scores: FICO Score and VantageScore.
Both weigh the same factors when determining your credit score, including how long you’ve had credit, your payment history, your credit utilization rate and how many loan and other types of credit you carry.
Here’s a list of credit score ranges for the scoring models you may come across.
Each credit-scoring model (FICO and VantageScore being the most widely used) has different criteria for measuring scores. Here’s how applicants with different scores are viewed by credit issuers.
|Credit rating||How a lender sees your credit score||FICO Score||VantageScore|
|Very good||You’re more likely than the average American to maintain healthy credit, and it’s unlikely you’ll incur an adverse event in the next 12 months.||740+||720+|
|Good||You’re less likely to declare bankruptcy, miss a payment on a debt or have a judgment against you, indicating less likelihood of a default.||670–739||658–719|
|Fair||You’re likely to incur an adverse event such as a default, bankruptcy or something similar in the next year.||580–669||601–657|
|Poor||You’re highly likely have adverse events listed on your credit report within the coming year, including court judgments, bankruptcies, insolvency or defaults.||579 or lower||600 or lower|
Your credit score calculates your level of risk as a borrower based on your past behavior. It’s not a guarantee that an adverse event won’t occur but simply an indication that Equifax considers it unlikely.
Here are just a few ways to increase your credit score:
Your credit report is a detailed record of your borrowing history, while your credit score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness based off of your credit report.
On your credit report is list of the applications you’ve made for different forms of credit (whether they’ve been approved or not); your repayment history; details of any defaults you may have; and information about the consumer and commercial accounts you hold.
It also contains personal information including your name and age as well as data held on public record, such as bankruptcies. Your credit score is calculated by credit bureaus using the information on your credit file. The higher your credit score, the lower your risk as a borrower.
How do I order my credit report?
Order a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months or if you have been denied credit in the past 90 days. Your free credit file is instantaneously downloaded if you access it online. You can also pay a fee to have your credit file arrive sooner or if you are not eligible for a free credit file.
What is a good credit score?
A good credit score is any score that falls in the top two credit ranges – good or very good.
How does continually carrying a balance affect my credit score?
No. You should use your credit card regularly to show you can responsibly manage a line of credit, but at the end of each billing cycle you should pay the balance in full to avoid extra interest charges.
How does getting married affect your credit score?
Some people think that once you get married you have a joint score with your spouse — but this is a common credit myth. Marriage has no affect on your credit score.
What is an “adverse event”?
An adverse event refers to a default, bankruptcy, court judgement or writ or personal insolvency.
There are several ways lenders can mess up your credit report, but these are the most common.
Finder analyzes data to determine what the average credit score is by state and if higher education converts to higher credit scores.
Many banks and credit unions let you access your FICO score for free.
Plus, tips to bounce back after your score takes a hit.
Find out whether shopping around for the best deal will cause your score to drop.
Compare minimum credit requirements with 9+ lenders and who gets the best rates.
How and why you should freeze your minor’s credit report with the three major credit bureaus.
Calculate the number lenders use to determine your ability to repay.
Stay in the loop on important changes to your report and get a leg up on credit card fraud.
Keep bills from your report with our tips to making the best of your grace period.
finder.com is an independent comparison platform and information service that aims to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions. While we are independent, the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which finder.com receives compensation. We may receive compensation from our partners for placement of their products or services. We may also receive compensation if you click on certain links posted on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn't influence our assessment of those products. Please don't interpret the order in which products appear on our Site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. finder.com compares a wide range of products, providers and services but we don't provide information on all available products, providers or services. Please appreciate that there may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.