Have a good mix. Lenders like to see that you can manage multiple loans at the same time. BOOST YOUR SCORE: It probably isn’t effective to open new accounts just to try to pump up your score. But in general, it’s good to have a mix of credit cards and other kinds of loans—such as a mortgage, an auto loan and student loans—that you. However, you do not receive a score boost for every single hour of flight time you obtain. Instead, points are awarded based on flight hour brackets. The amount of points each bracket is worth differs somewhat for each applicant, but it is generally around 4 or 5 points per bracket. The brackets are shown below. 0 hours 1 – 5 hours 6 – 10 hours. There are also a good number, again around 20%, who are in the very highest bracket, having scores of over 780. Though whether they actually need to worry about their credit scores is another story! But with there being such a regional variation what is considered an average credit score in some states may well not be so useful in others. By the current 'deviation IQ' definition of IQ test standard scores, about two-thirds of all test-takers obtain scores from 85 to 115, and about 5 percent of the population scores above 125. All IQ tests show variation in scores even when the same person takes the same test over and over again.
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Let’s take a deeper look at FICO® score ranges, what’s considered to be a good FICO® score, and how to improve your credit if your scores fall on the lower end of the credit spectrum.
Generally, the two types of FICO® credit-scoring models are described as either base scores or industry-specific scores, and the score ranges differ slightly for each.
The base scores range from 300 to 850. FICO breaks down its base credit score ranges based on the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model.
FICO® Score 8
300 to 559
580 to 669
670 to 739
740 to 799
800 to 850
The latest FICO® base scoring model is FICO® Score 9. But some lenders still use FICO® Score 8 models. Bill Banfield, executive vice president of capital markets for Quicken Loans, says that many conventional mortgage lenders use even older FICO® scoring models.
The base scores are what you may see when you check your FICO® scores after logging into your credit card account or paying for FICO® scores online.
The industry-specific scores range from 250 to 900. FICO breaks down its industry-specific credit score ranges based on the FICO® 8 industry-specific scoring model.
FICO® 8 industry-specificscores
250 to 579
580 to 669
670 to 739
740 to 799
800 to 900
FICO creates industry-specific credit-scoring models tailored for certain credit products, including credit cards, auto loans and mortgage loans. These scoring models use the same foundation as the base scoring models. So if you have a good FICO® Score 8, you may also have a good FICO® Auto Score 8 or FICO® Bankcard Score 8.
Your credit scores can be an important factor in a lender’s decision-making process, and having higher scores may get you better terms.
If you check your credit and see you’re low in the credit-score range and may not get the best rate, you might want to hold off applying for a mortgage until you’ve built better credit. If you’re high in the range, you may feel more confident.
Higher scores can help you qualify for a loan or credit card with better terms, like a lower interest rate, which can save you money on interest payments. High credit scores could also make it easier to be approved for an apartment rental and may even lead to lower car insurance premiums.
The general guidelines for what FICO qualifies as poor or excellent credit scores are just that — guidelines.
Lenders may have different specifications for what they consider to be good or bad credit, and they could have unique requirements when determining which applications to accept and what terms and rates to offer to borrowers.
Minimum credit scores may be one of these requirements. But for some lenders your eligibility could still depend on other factors, such as your debt-to-income ratio.
With some lenders, even if you have excellent FICO® scores, your application could be denied. This could happen for a variety of reasons. A credit card issuer may turn you down because you already have several open accounts with the company, recently opened other cards, or have past-due payments with the issuer, for example.
While the FICO® credit score ranges vary depending on the model, the same basic factors go into determining your base scores. Of the five basic credit-scoring factors, making on-time payments and keeping your credit utilization rate low tend to be the most important in determining your scores.
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Your payment history is one of the largest factors in determining FICO® credit scores. Making on-time payments, even if it’s only a minimum payment, can help you build a good credit history. A late payment could hurt your scores, and the damage can increase the longer a bill goes unpaid or if you have multiple late payments. While making a minimum payment will count as an on-time payment, you should also try to pay your bill in full each month to avoid racking up credit card debt.
Other payment-related negative marks on your credit reports, such as a bankruptcy, can also hurt your credit scores.
If you have credit cards or lines of credit, using a small percentage of your available credit can help improve your credit.
Overall credit utilization refers to how much of your available credit you use at any given time. You can figure out your credit utilization rate by dividing your total credit card balances by your total credit card limits. The resulting percentage is a component used by most of the credit-scoring models, because it’s often correlated with lending risk.
Most experts recommend keeping your overall credit utilization below 30%. For example, if you have three credit cards with a combined credit limit of $4,000, having a combined balance of $1,000 would put your credit utilization at 25% — likely better for your scores than a combined balance of $3,000 (75%).
FICO® scoring models use your most-recent credit reports, which include the most recently reported balances, when determining your scores. So even if you have a high balance one month and your scores decrease, try paying down your balance on your credit accounts to lower your credit utilization.
The latest credit-scoring model from FICO-competitor VantageScore, the VantageScore 4.0, considers your historical utilization rate as well as your current utilization rate. You can view your VantageScore 3.0 credit scores from TransUnion and Equifax for free on Credit Karma if you’re a member.
FICO’s credit-scoring models use either a range of 300 to 850 or a range of 250 to 900, but in either case higher credit scores can indicate that you may be less risky to lenders, credit card issuers and other types of lenders.
Knowing where you lie on the FICO® score range can help you determine if an application is more likely to get approved or denied, what rates you might qualify for, and whether it makes more sense to focus on building your credit and applying later.
If you’re focused on improving your credit, make sure you pay your credit card and other bills on time and in full, and do your best to use only a small portion of your total available credit.