Credit scores span a range from 300–850. If your number falls somewhere in the middle of this range, you may wonder if it’s considered a fair credit score — it’s not "excellent," but it's not at the very bottom either. Let’s dig into what a fair credit might mean for you and how it may affect your ability to get credit.
What is a fair credit score?
VantageScore® calculates the most commonly used consumer credit scores. Within the VantageScore model, a credit score between 660–720 may fall into two separate categories:
- Good: 661–780
- Fair: 601–660
FICO® is another major credit scoring company. Within the FICO model, a credit score between 660–720 may fall into two separate categories:
- Good: 670-739
- Fair: 580-669
The exact ranges used by these two major credit agencies are not the same, but they represent the middle scores on the spectrum. If your exact number falls into either model’s “good” level, your credit score currently shows evidence of best practices for credit behavior. For instance, you may make your monthly payments on time while also keeping your account balances low. If it falls into either model’s “fair” category, your credit score indicates a middle-ground level of creditworthiness. In other words, you’re not doing badly but there's also room for improvement.
Credit scores are calculated based on your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus: Experian™, Equifax® and TransUnion®.
What does fair credit mean for you?
If you find yourself with a fair credit score at the moment and are applying for credit, it may impact your ability to qualify. For instance, your personal loan application may be rejected, or you may not qualify for a low interest credit card account. That’s because the fair credit score range can create limitations for accessing credit. Lenders such as banks and landlords use your credit score to help determine your ability to repay their prospective loan. The credit score can serve as a number to summarize and represent your credit activity in the past, including your bill paying habits.
But the score need not mark the end point to your credit goals — it can serve as a springboard for you to earn a better credit score. Credit reporting works as a log in response to your credit habits. So, you can sometimes remedy the aspects of your fair credit score that may need improvement by taking actions that help show you've developed better credit behavior. For instance, correcting errors on your report can help; so can paying off any outstanding debts and bringing late accounts up to date.
How you can improve a fair credit score
When you have fair credit, there are many ways to work toward a better score. You can start with some clarity and find out your current credit score without a hard credit check. Services like Chase Credit Journey® can help, found right on your desktop or in your Chase Mobile® app. Best of all, you can find out your credit score without harming your credit. It can even mark a perfect time to get cracking and improve your credit habits. Chase Credit Journey® is free for everyone, with no Chase account required. Users receive both credit and identity monitoring as well as round-the-clock support to help empower your financial future and improve your credit score.
Credit changes may include an increase or decrease to your credit score, but that’s not all. Chase Credit Journey® can also share insights for the origin of these changes and provide you with suggestions for how to improve a dip in your credit score or maintain a positive surge. Best of all, if you follow through with their suggested steps, you can see the results with only a click!
A fair credit score may not seem like the best news. But this middle-of-the-road credit standing can serve as a great motivator to earn a higher credit score by taking simple steps. Chase Credit Journey’s® tools and resources can help make these steps easier to climb and may even keep you more aware on the road toward a better credit score.