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Credit Score Ranges and What They Mean

Aparna Iyer Oct 3, 2018
The new credit scoring system, FICO 08 and VantageScore have become popular among lenders.
Credit scoring is the statistic technique to assess a borrower's creditworthiness with the aid of credit scoring models. The first scoring model was developed by Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) and till the year 2006, credit scores were synonymous with FICO scores.
In the year 2006, the three credit bureaus, viz. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion introduced the VantageScore as the main competitor to the long dominant FICO credit score. Although the credit bureaus still compute FICO scores, since February 13, 2009 Experian's FICO scores are no longer available to the consumers.
However, lenders are still provided FICO scores computed by Experian and the other credit bureaus. The newest version of the FICO scoring system, known as FICO 08, is also available to the credit bureaus since July, 2009.

What Is a Good Credit Score Range?

Previously, a credit degree over 720, or in some cases over 680, was considered good, but in the current scenario, credit score between high 700s and 800s are almost always considered to be prime borrowers.

FICO 08 Scoring Model

This new credit scoring model uses the same factors that were used by the FICO model, viz. payment history, credit utilization, length of the credit history, types of credit used, and recent applications for new credit while computing the credit score. Moreover, the scale is also the same, i.e., 300 - 850.
There are significant differences in approach when it comes to missed payments, credit usage, payment history, variety of credit, piggyback accounts, and delinquencies. In general, people who have accessed different types of installment loans, like mortgages and car loans, will be rewarded more by the FICO 08 scoring model in comparison to the FICO model.
People who use revolving credit extensively, those closer to their credit limit, with a history of late payments will be penalized more by the new model. In contrast to old model, minor delinquencies will not result in a big penalty.
In addition to these changes, piggyback users, who try to increase their credit score by adding themselves as authorized users on credit accounts of people with good credit, will not benefit improved FICO scores. FICO 08 will also have two more scorecards compared to the older FICO model that had 10 scorecards.


This scoring model was developed by the three credit bureaus and is considered the primary competitor to FICO 08. According to this system, credit scores range between 500 and 990.
People with a VantageScore in the range of 900 and 990 (Grade A) are considered super-prime or least risky borrowers. They are likely to be offered the best interest rates by financial institutions. According to Experian, approximately 16% of the US consumers fall in this category of super-prime borrowers.
The range 800 - 899 (Grade B) is considered prime plus and includes borrowers who have exhibited good credit management skills, while 700 - 799 (Grade C) includes creditworthy or prime borrowers.
The last two category of borrowers, non-prime and high risk individuals have credit scores in the range of 600 - 699 (Grade D) and 500 - 599 (Grade F) respectively. It goes without saying, that people with grade F VantageScore are least likely to land up with loans and if only they do get credit, it is generally at an exorbitantly high interest rate.
They constitute the bottom 19% of US consumers, according to data made available by Experian. According to this rating scale, mortgage refinancing and loan modifications will not have a negative impact on the credit score of the borrower, in fact the latter may even result in a moderate increase in the borrower's score.
On the other hand, short sales and bankruptcies will have a negative impact like in case of the FICO model. Buy a copy of your FICO score or VantageScore, from the credit bureaus to get an objective evaluation of your creditworthiness.