According to data from Credit Karma, the average credit score in the United States is 666. The current trend for lenders is that a credit score of 660 is needed to obtain a mortgage, car loan, or credit card. Approximately 40% of Americans have a credit score lower than 660. This means four out of ten consumers will likely be denied credit or pay high interest rates. This illustrates the importance of credit scores. New federal regulations have increased consumers’ access to their credit scores. However, many think the new regulations do not go far enough. Here are a few things to know about credit scores.
- You may have the right to see your credit score for free. If you are denied credit or are forced to pay higher interest rates because of your credit report, you are entitled to see your credit report for free. However, this regulation does not apply to all consumers, only to those who are denied or given high interest rates.
- The threshold for obtaining credit is always changing. Previously, a credit score of 660 was considered a good score. During the recession, a score of 720 or 750 became the new standard. Lenders also focus on credit history and other credit details when deciding whether to lend.
- Track your credit score. Credit scores change, so it is not enough to just check your score once. Monitor your credit score to see how decisions affect your score and identify areas where you can improve your score.
- Do not be surprised if your credit score varies. There are many different credit score models used by lenders. Focus on risk factors, such as amount of debt, number of accounts, and credit use, because improvement in risk factors will likely improve your score no matter what model is used.
Justine Rivero, 4 Things to Know About Credit Scores, https://money.msn.com/credit-rating/4-things-to-know-about-credit-scores-forbes.aspx (accessed August 24, 2011).