What do the credit score ranges mean?
Many credit scores today, including the base FICO credit scores and VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0, have a range of 300-850. Each lender has its own criteria for what it considers to be “good,” and it can also vary by credit scoring model. But here’s a general breakdown for scores ranging from 300-850, according to Equifax and Experian.
- 800-850 – Exceptional
- 740-799 – Very good
- 670-739 – Good
- 580-669 – Fair
- 300-579 – Poor
Some consumer scores don’t follow the 300-850 range, and you’ll likely see a very different number from a lender’s stated minimum FICO score if you check any of these.
- VantageScore 2.0 and earlier: 501–990
- Experian credit score: 330-830
- Equifax credit score: 280–850
Why your FICO score and VantageScore look different
Even if you’re checking the FICO and VantageScore models that follow the 300-850 range, each model has variations that make it difficult to compare apples to apples between the two.
- FICO – Weighs late payments from all types of credit equally.
- VantageScore – Places heavier penalties against late mortgage payments than with other types of credit. If you have a late mortgage payment, your FICO score might be higher than your VantageScore.
- FICO – Counts multiple inquiries for rate-shopping for a mortgage, auto loan, or student loan as one inquiry within a 45-day period.
- VantageScore – Counts multiple inquiries by utility companies, or for a mortgage or auto loan, as one inquiry within a 14-day period.
- FICO – Ignores collections under $100; newest score version ignores paid collections.
- VantageScore – Ignores paid collections and medical debt less than 6 months old.
Which score should you check?
Checking your FICO score and VantageScore is vital to knowing where you stand no matter which one a lender uses. When you apply for a loan, just be sure you use the same scoring model the lender checks. For example, QuickBooks Capital uses a minimum FICO score of 620 but if you’re comparing it to a 620 VantageScore—it’s not the same scoring model and could cost you the loan.
Getting to know how credit works and building on your good history is part of a healthy financial strategy for any small business owner. Having strong credit can get you access to the capital you need, at lower rates, to create the absolute best version of your business.
Myfico.com: FICO® score versions, What are inquiries and how do they affect my FICO score?
VantageScore.com: How the scores range, Who uses our model, Score Impacts Whitepaper, Introducing VantageScore 4.0
Experian: Understanding credit scores
Equifax: Equifax Credit Score™ ranges