7 Min Read | Updated: January 29, 2024

Originally Published: January 31, 2020

Credit Score Ranges: What is an Excellent, Good, or Poor Credit Score?

Learn about the credit score range by FICO or VantageScore and how they are classified as Excellent, Good or Poor credit score.

credit score range

This article contains general information and is not intended to provide information that is specific to American Express products and services. Similar products and services offered by different companies will have different features and you should always read about product details before acquiring any financial product.


Two commonly used credit scoring models, FICO and VantageScore, use a scale from 300 to 850 and divide that scale into five credit score ranges. 

The credit score range you fall into can help determine the likelihood you’ll be offered loans or credit, and the interest rate you’ll pay. 

Although the different credit score scales may seem confusing, they are more alike than different. 

Figuring out what a credit score of 640 (or 580 or 810, or …) means isn’t really as tough as cracking the Da Vinci Code. But by the time you’ve considered the various credit score scales (including FICO, VantageScore and industry-specific scales like those used for auto loans), it can certainly feel that way.


Fortunately, you don’t need to be the hero of the Da Vinci Code to make sense of your credit score. That’s because the different scales are more similar than different, and the scales are divided into credit score ranges whose names are simple and easy to remember (such as “good” and “excellent”).1,2


Although cracking the credit code won’t help you save the world, knowing the credit score range where your score lands can help you understand how lenders may view you in terms of credit risk. That could help you plan various aspects of your life, including the likely success of credit card, loan and rental applications, and whether you can expect to be offered favorable interest rates.1,3 And if you don’t like the implications of your credit score range, you can take actions that could change it.2,4 (If you don’t know your current score, it’s easy to find out. Learn more in “How to Check Your Credit Score for Free.”)

Credit Score Ranges and What They Mean for Borrowing. Here's how you can interpret your range using FICO. Very Poor 300-579: mainstream credit approval is unlikely, Fair 580-669: credit or loan approval is less likely or comes with higher interest rates, Good 670-739: loans in this range are attainable, Very Good 740-799: odds of approval are more favorable, Exceptional 800 and up: commendable. AMEX logo. Credit Intel logo.

Credit Score Ranges & Scales, In a Nutshell

Two commonly used credit scoring models, FICO and VantageScore, both rank credit scores on a scale from 300 to 850 and divide the scale into five credit score ranges. The ranges differ somewhat between the two models, and also have different names.1 If you’ve heard of higher scores, it may be based on industry-specific scoring models.


The credit score ranges and rating labels for FICO and VantageScore, according to Experian, are shown below in the Credit Score Range Chart from highest to lowest.


Credit Score Range Chart
Rating/Scoring Model Credit Score Range





 Very Good/FICO













Very Poor/VantageScore



Source: Experian1

Equifax Credit Score Ranges—and Others

Credit score ranges can get more complicated after that, because there are many more than just the two credit scoring models. Experian and Equifax, among others, both have their own proprietary scoring models. For example, Equifax credit score ranges, from excellent to poor, are:5


  • Excellent: 760-850
  • Very good: 725-759
  • Good: 660-724
  • Fair: 560-659
  • Poor: 280-559

What is an Excellent Credit Score?

Achieving a FICO score of 800 is the ultimate goal for many—and there’s good reason for that. People in the Excellent credit score range are the most likely to be approved for a credit card or loan, and they’re also likely to get the best available terms and/or interest rates.3 That’s because lenders have a high degree of confidence people with scores in this range will repay their debts.


Better terms. For example, if your VantageScore score is 720 or better, you could qualify for a loan on a new car at an interest rate as low as 5.18%, according to Experian.6


“Perfect” score. There are a couple of other things to keep in mind about this range. First, experts call any FICO score of 800 or above “excellent,” meaning that striving for an even higher score may not get you better terms.7 Second, note that the VantageScore range is slightly different: any score of 781 or higher is seen as Excellent.


900: the unicorn. You may have heard of credit scores as high as 900. Unlike the unicorns, a 900 score does exist. But it occurs today in the FICO Auto and FICO Bankcard Scores.8

Implications of the Very Good/Good Range

If your credit score falls into the next-to-highest range, experts say the odds of approval for loans or credit are good—and if you are approved you’ll likely be offered better-than-average interest or terms.3

The Middle: Good/Fair

You can generally still borrow money if you fall into the middle credit score ranges, but it may be more challenging. Experts say that it begins to be less likely that you’ll be approved for loans and you may be offered less-competitive terms.9

What is a Poor Credit Score?

People with poor credit scores are less likely to be approved for loans, and will likely be offered higher-than-average interest rates and/or be asked to make a deposit.9,10 Applicants for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) who have scores lower than 580 may still qualify, but only if they meet other requirements and make a 10% deposit as opposed to a minimum 3.5% for higher-scoring applications.11,12

Scraping the Bottom of the Credit Score Ranges

If your score falls in the bottom “Very Poor” credit score range, it may be difficult to be approved for mainstream credit. To borrow, you may have to make a deposit in exchange for a secured line of credit.10 Other options may be costly “small-dollar” loans (such as auto title or payday loans) with interest rates that could have the equivalent of a 400% interest rate.13

Evaluating Your Credit Score Range

As you evaluate the implications of your credit score, keep in mind that lenders may consider different sets of data when determining your credit score, which could help you or hurt you.14 And, of course, credit scores are not frozen in time—you can take steps to improve your score. (To learn more about how your credit score is determined, read “What is a Credit Score and How is it Defined?”)

The Takeaway

Knowing your credit score range can help you anticipate lending decisions and plan your budget. Although not all lenders may interpret your credit score in exactly the same way, in general if you have a score of 800 the world is your oyster; if your score is 600 or lower you’ll have fewer options and pay more for loans. 

Allan Halcrow

Allan Halcrow is a freelance writer concentrating in business, human resources, and diversity and inclusion. He is also the author of four books on management.


All Credit Intel content is written by freelance authors and commissioned and paid for by American Express. 

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