Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Credit Score Ranges

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Credit Score Ranges

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What is it about scoring that brings out the perfectionist in all of us? It seems like the minute we know we’re officially judged on something, we suddenly care more than we would have before.

Enter credit scores.

Credit scores are important – vitally important. But the way some people strive for excellence on their scores can get in the way of their financial goals.

The good news is, you can give up that goal. While there is such thing as a perfect credit score, we all have multiple credit scores. And scoring perfectly on each and every type of score is unattainable. That’s why the only thing you should focus on are your credit score ranges.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read on.

What are credit score ranges?

Before we get too far into ranges, here’s some basic credit score information you should know:

  • Everyone has more than one credit score
  • Your credit scores are constantly changing
  • There are two leading credit score models: FICO and VantageScore

With that out of the way, let’s look at the details. Your credit scores will vary based on the model being used to calculate your score. And the number you get will fall into one of five ranges. Here’s the breakdown of FICO credit score ranges:

  • Exceptional: 800+
  • Very good: 740-799
  • Good: 670-739
  • Fair: 580-669
  • Poor: 579 and below

And here’s the breakdown of VantageScore credit score ranges:

  • Super prime: 781-850
  • Prime: 661-780
  • Near prime: 601-660
  • Subprime: 500-600
  • Deep subprime: 300-499

Everyone has more than one credit score, so it’s entirely possible that you could fall into one range based on one credit score and another range based on a different credit score. This could even happen within the same credit scoring model since there are many versions of each. It’s even more likely if you’re close to the top or bottom of one particular range.

Regardless of the fact that you could land in more than one range among all your scores, it’s still important to get an idea of where you stand on the credit rating scale. Here’s how to find out.

How to know where you stand on the credit rating scale

It’s easier than ever before to get your credit score and understand where you fall on a credit score chart.

To start, if you have an account with a large national bank, there’s a good chance they’re already making your credit score available to you. The same goes with national credit card companies. Just log in to your account on their website to see if you have access to this information.

If your bank or credit card company haven’t made your score available, there are plenty of other places you can get your free credit score. But there’s one place you can’t get your free credit score: from your credit report.

As similar as these two things sound, they are not the same. While it’s important to check your credit reports each year (one from each of the three credit reporting agencies – all free annually at, these reports won’t list your credit score.

Where you can check your credit score for free

There are new websites offering free credit scores all the time. Here’s a list of a few popular ones to get you started:

A word of caution

When you do check your score, keep in mind the score you see will very likely not be the same score lenders see.

Each lender uses a different version of their selected credit scoring model based on their needs. And some of the free services give you what’s called an “educational score.” That means they’re showing you a score to see where you stand, but you can’t count on it being the same score lenders are seeing.

While an educational credit score is helpful, it’s just another reminder that there is a myriad of scores out there for each of us. All the more reason to stay focused on the range, not on the three digit number.

While your range might vary as well, it’s a much easier way to get a general view of where you stand.

How to move up on the credit score chart

Where you stand on the credit rating scale can have a massive impact on your financial life. It will affect the interest rate you get on new credit. It could determine the amount you pay on insurance premiums. And it might even influence your employment opportunities.

If your credit score ranges aren’t as high as you’d like them to be, then it’s time to strategize a way to move on up the credit score chart. But before you can create your strategy, you first need to understand how credit scores work. And that will depend on the factors used to determine your scores.

FICO credit score factors

There are five main factors that FICO uses to calculate your credit score. These factors are not all weighted evenly, something you should keep in mind when we move on to the step of improving your credit.

  • Payment history
  • Amount of debt
  • Length of credit history
  • New credit
  • Credit mix
credit score chart

Image credit:

VantageScore credit score factors

The factors that VantageScore uses to calculate your credit score don’t vary all that much from the factors FICO uses. Here’s how VantageScore defines their factors:

  • Payment history
  • Age and type of credit
  • Percentage of credit limit used
  • Total balances/debt
  • Recent credit behavior and inquiries
  • Available credit
credit rating scale

Image credit:

How to improve your score and improve your credit score ranges

When comparing the list of factors that influence your credit score from FICO and VantageScore, you should see some overlap. That means you don’t have to spin your wheels to improve your credit score and thus your credit score ranges.

Here are a few best practices you can follow to move up on the credit score chart.

  1. Make all of your payments on time
  2. Decrease your debt
  3. Increase your credit limit – without using any of it
  4. Start and maintain long relationships with one or two financial institutions
  5. Rate shop responsibly
  6. Use credit when you need it but never go delinquent and never max out credit lines
  7. Dispute any errors you find on your credit report

While the list looks long, the explanation and practices are simple. Payment history is the most important factor for FICO and VantageScore credit scores. Therefore you get a straightforward win by just making sure to pay all of your bills on time.

As for debt amounts and credit limits, you can improve your credit score by widening the gap between the two. The closer your debt is to the maximum amount available to you, the worse your score will be. Work to pay off your debt and, if you need an extra boost, apply to increase your credit limit. That will widen the gap even more as long as you don’t use any of the new credit.

The next factor – applying for credit – is far less influential on your score, but it’s one that worries many consumers. As long as you rate shop responsibly then this shouldn’t be a concern. Only apply for one type of loan at the same time, only for the amount you need, and always within a short time frame such as 14 days. Credit-scoring bureaus will then batch your requests, so your score doesn’t get hit more than once.

Finally, make sure you’re checking your credit report from each of the credit reporting bureaus each year. If there’s an error on your report, it will affect your credit score and thus your credit score range. If you do happen to find an error, dispute it with the credit reporting bureau.

Why you should care about your credit score ranges

If this seems like a lot of work for nothing, think again. As mentioned above, your credit score ranges can have a massive impact on your financial life. And I don’t just mean when you want to use credit.

First of all, employers and prospective employers can check your credit score. That means falling into a low range could cost you employment opportunities.

Insurance companies can check your credit score. That means you could pay higher premiums for having a low score.

Finally, lenders can check your credit score. And that means either being denied for credit if your score is too low or being approved but at a much higher interest rate.

Like it or not, your credit score ranges have a huge effect on your finances. And you can’t just avoid the effects by avoiding credit.

If you pay late on a rental unit, your landlord can report that to the credit reporting agencies. The same goes for utility bills, medical costs, and just about any other kind of bill you can get. These delinquencies can show up on your credit report as early as 30 days late. And they will significantly impact your credit scores.

It’s also important to note that your income doesn’t affect your credit score. Credit reporting agencies aren’t concerned with how much money you earn as much as they are concerned with how you handle your financial obligations. Handling them poorly can cost you a lot more than just lost credit opportunities.

Just like setting up automatic payments or maintaining a budget, monitoring your credit should become a part of your finance routine.

Don’t get hung up on the number

With all that said, don’t get sucked into caring so much about your number that you make decisions that are bad for your finances. What kind of decisions might those be? Here are just a few examples of what not to do:

  • Avoiding applying for credit when you need it because you fear taking a hit on your score
  • Applying for types of credit you have no use for to improve your credit mix
  • Thinking you have to carry a balance on your credit card to improve your score (you don’t)

These are just a few of the things people might do to try to improve their credit score, but they aren’t something you should try. And at the end of the day, using credit responsibly and diligently paying all of your financial accounts on time will help you build good credit.

Any time you see advice telling you to do something for your credit that can get you into financial trouble, understand that is bad advice. And don’t make decisions just to get the highest number possible. Remember, you have more than one score anyway.

Instead, practice responsible borrowing and stay focused on your credit score ranges. That way you can keep track of where you stand without becoming blinded by a desire for perfection.

Interested in a personal loan?

Here are the top personal loan lenders of 2019!
LenderAPR RangeLoan Amount 
1 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Fixed rates from 5.990% APR to 16.240% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.75% APR to 14.60% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of March 18, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 5.75% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.50% plus 4.28% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.
  2. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.
    See Consumer Licenses.
  3. Minimum Credit Score: Not all applicants who meet SoFi’s minimum credit score requirements are approved for a personal loan. In addition to meeting SoFi’s minimum eligibility criteria, applicants must also meet other credit and underwriting requirements to qualify.
  4. SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Maximum interest rate on loans for residents of AK and WY is 9.99% APR, for residents of IL with loans over $40,000 is 8.99% APR, for residents of TX is 9.99% APR on terms greater than 5 years, for residents of CO, CT, HI, VA, SC is 11.99% APR, and for residents of ME is 12.24% APR. Personal loans not available to residents of MI who already have a student loan with SoFi. Personal Loans minimum loan amount is $5,000. Residents of AZ, MA, and NH have a minimum loan amount of $10,001. Residents of KY have a minimum loan amount of $15,001. Residents of PA have a minimum loan amount of $25,001. Variable rates not available to residents of AK, TX, VA, WY, or for residents of IL for loans greater than $40,000.
  5. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (

2 Includes AutoPay discount. Important Disclosures for Payoff.

Payoff Disclosures

  1. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.

3 Important Disclosures for FreedomPlus.

FreedomPlus Disclosures

  1. All loans available through are made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender. All loan and rate terms are subject to eligibility restrictions, application review, credit score, loan amount, loan term, lender approval, and credit usage and history. Eligibility for a loan is not guaranteed. Loans are not available to residents of all states – please call a FreedomPlus representative for further details. The following limitations, in addition to others, shall apply: FreedomPlus does not arrange loans in: (i) Arizona under $10,500; (ii) Massachusetts under $6,500, (iii) Ohio under $5,500, and (iv) Georgia under $3,500. Repayment periods range from 24 to 60 months. The range of APRs on loans made available through FreedomPlus is 5.99% to a maximum of 29.99%. APR. The APR calculation includes all applicable fees, including the loan origination fee. For Example, a four year $20,000 loan with an interest rate of 15.49% and corresponding APR of 18.34% would have an estimated monthly payment of $561.60 and a total cost payable of $7,948.13. To qualify for a 5.99% APR loan, a borrower will need excellent credit on a loan for an amount less than $12,000.00, and with a term equal to 24 months. Adding a co-borrower with sufficient income; using at least eighty-five percent (85%) of the loan proceeds to directly pay off qualifying existing debt; or showing proof of sufficient retirement savings, could help you also qualify for the lowest rate available.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Personal Loan Rate DisclosureFixed interest rates from 6.79% – 20.89% (6.79% – 20.89% APR) based on applicable terms. Lowest rates range from 5.99%-18.99% (5.99%-18.99% APR), are for eligible applicants, require a 3-year repayment term, and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
  2. Loyalty Discount: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower has submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, student loans or other personal loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI and VT. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) disclosed in the Truth-In-Lending Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan, and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  3. Automatic Payment Discount: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their Citizens Bank Personal Loan during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account two or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.

5 Important Disclosures for LendingPoint.

LendingPoint Disclosures

  • Loan approval is not guaranteed. Actual loan offers and loan amounts, terms and annual percentage rates (“APR”) may vary based upon LendingPoint’s proprietary scoring and underwriting system’s review of your credit, financial condition, other factors, and supporting documents or information you provide. Origination or other fees from 0% to 6% may apply depending upon your state of residence. Upon LendingPoint’s final underwriting approval to fund a loan, said funds are often sent via ACH the next non-holiday business day. LendingPoint makes loan offers from $2,000 to $25,000, at rates ranging from a low of 9.99% APR to a high of 35.99% APR, with terms from 24 to 48 months. The loan offer(s) shown reflect a 28 day payment cycle which is being offered as a courtesy as many of our customers are paid on a biweekly schedule and thus this may better align the loan payment dates with your actual income receipt schedule.

6 Important Disclosures for LendingClub.

LendingClub Disclosures

All loans made by WebBank, Member FDIC. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, and credit usage & history. The APR ranges from 6.95% to 35.89%*. The origination fee ranges from 1% to 6% of the original principal balance and is deducted from your loan proceeds. For example, you could receive a loan of $6,000 with an interest rate of 7.99% and a 5.00% origination fee of $300 for an APR of 11.51%. In this example, you will receive $5,700 and will make 36 monthly payments of $187.99. The total amount repayable will be $6,767.64. Your APR will be determined based on your credit at the time of application. The average origination fee is 5.49% as of Q1 2017. In Georgia, the minimum loan amount is $3,025. In Massachusetts, the minimum loan amount is $6,025 if your APR is greater than 12%. There is no down payment and there is never a prepayment penalty. Closing of your loan is contingent upon your agreement of all the required agreements and disclosures on the website. All loans via LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of 36 months. Borrower must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or be in the United States on a valid long term visa and at least 18 years old. Valid bank account and Social Security number are required. Equal Housing Lender. All loans are subject to credit approval. LendingClub’s physical address is: LendingClub, 71 Stevenson Street, Suite 1000, San Francisco, CA 94105.

†Per reviews collected and authenticated by Bazaarvoice in compliance with the Bazaarvoice Authentication Requirements, supported by anti-fraud technology and human analysis. All reviews can be reviewed at

**Based on approximately 60% of borrowers who received offers through LendingClub’s marketing partners between January 1, 2018 to July 20,2018. The time it will take to fund your loan may vary.

7 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

  1. Earnest does not lend in Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Nevada, or Rhode Island.

8 Important Disclosures for Avant.

Avant Disclosures

* The actual rate and loan amount that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and other factors. Funds are generally deposited via ACH for delivery next business day if approved by 4:30pm CT Monday-Friday. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

** Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33

* Important Disclosures for Upgrade Bank.

Upgrade Bank Disclosures

* Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification and review process. You may be asked to provide additional documents to enable us to verify your income and your identity. This rate includes an Autopay APR reduction of 0.5%. By enrolling in Autopay your payments will be automatically deducted from you bank account. Selecting Autopay is optional. Annual Percentage Rate is inclusive of a loan origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC. Please refer to Upgrade’s Terms of Use and Borrower Agreement for all terms, conditions and requirements.

** Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes this transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.

5.75% – 16.24%1$5,000 - $100,000

Visit SoFi

7.46% – 35.99%$1,000 - $50,000

Visit Upstart

7.99% – 35.89%*$1,000 - $50,000

Visit Upgrade

5.99% – 24.99%2$5,000 - $35,000

Visit Payoff

5.99% – 29.99%3$7,500 - $40,000

Visit FreedomPlus

6.79% – 20.89%4$5,000 - $50,000

Visit Citizens

9.99% – 35.99%5$2,000 - $25,000

Visit LendingPoint

6.95% – 35.89%6$1,000 - $40,000

Visit LendingClub

6.99% – 18.24%7$5,000 - $75,000

Visit Earnest

9.95% – 35.99%8$2,000 - $35,000

Visit Avant

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

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