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Effect of FICO Credit Scores on Loan Interest Rates

Written by Nickel - 3 Comments

The other night, I was poking around over on MyFICO. They have a 30 day free trial that provides you with access to both your credit report and your FICO credit score. The free credit report isn’t a big deal, as you can get that free no matter what. The credit score, on the other hand, is a bigger deal, as you normally have to pay for this info.

Aside from learning that I currently have a 781 FICO, I ran across some interesting numbers about the effect of your credit score on interest rates. What follows is a breakdown of the numbers for three different loan types.

30 year fixed rate mortgage

These are the numbers for a 30 year fixed rate mortgage. As you can see, the numbers increase by about an eighth of a point at each level while you’re still in “prime” territory.

If you want the best mortgage rates, you’ll need a credit score of more than 760. The other thing you’ll notice is that the rates skyrocket once you drop below 660, which pushes you into subprime territory.

Credit Score Interest Rate
760-850 4.785%
700-759 5.007%
680-699 5.184%
660-679 5.398%
640-659 5.828%
620-639 6.374%

15 year home equity loan

If you’re already in a house and are looking to borrow against your equity for home improvements, you might be interested in home equity loan rates. In this case, there’s a big jump once you dip below 720, and it only gets worse from there.

Credit Score Interest Rate
740-850 7.770%
720-739 8.070%
700-719 8.570%
670-699 9.345%
640-669 10.845%
620-639 12.095%

48 month auto loan

Finally, we have the 48 month auto loan. While I wouldn’t generally recommend borrowing money to buy a car, many people do this, so I thought it would be worth covering. In the case of car loans, the uptick in rates is significantly more pronounced as your credit score drops.

Credit Score Interest Rate
720-850 5.746%
690-719 7.420%
660-689 9.459%
620-659 13.244%
590-619 18.063%
500-589 18.573%

What’s my credit score?

Keep in mind that the above rates are just a snapshot from one point in time. While the overall rates will change, the numbers above will give you an idea of things will vary across.

It’s also worth noting that the credit score ranges differ for the three different types of loans. For example, the top range for a 30 year mortgage is 760-850 whereas the top range for a 15 home equity loan is 740-850. This is how the data were presented, so that’s how I’m giving them to you.

If you’re curious about where you stand in terms of you credit score, you might consider signing up for the MyFICO 30 day trial. Just be sure to cancel before your thirty days are up if you’re not interested in continuing (and paying for) the service. Or you can sign up with Credit Karma for free access to your credit score at any time.

Published on December 30th, 2009
Modified on January 7th, 2013 - 3 Comments
Filed under: Credit Cards, Mortgages

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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3 Responses to “Effect of FICO Credit Scores on Loan Interest Rates”

  1. 1
    Molly Says:

    Why are you promoting myfico when its a scam? Your FICO is not necessarily “the” credit score banks consider, and in order to get your “free” trial you end up signing up for a service that is nearly impossible to cancel, requiring you to fight for your money back. If you’re stubborn, you will eventually get your money back, but why go through all of that for worthless data? And why, again, are you promoting this?

  2. 2
    Michael Harr @ Wealth...Uncomplicated Says:

    Molly makes a great point about ‘the’ credit score. Each lender uses its own scoring method to formulate its rate tiers and you’ll sometimes hear that a FICO score of X ‘may’ qualify a borrower for the best rate of Y%. Operative word, of course, being ‘may’. Unfortunately, numbers like Nickel has presented are about the only thing to go on in trying to estimate the rate one might receive on a loan.

    As to MyFICO being a scam, I wouldn’t go that far. MyFICO’s revenue model is much like a fitness center. They’re providing a convenience service where what you need is (in this case, to review your credit scores and report) in one place and hoping you forget or neglect to cancel. It’s the old sleeping dog trick we’ve seen used in countless instances.

    Speaking of which, how about those banks that create a new, ‘better’ savings account only to lower the rates on existing accounts and account holders?

  3. 3
    Nickel Says:

    Molly: I’ve signed up for and canceled MyFICO without any problems in the past. Yes, if you fail to cancel, you will get charged, but canceling was not (in my case, anyway) difficult at all.

    As for your FICO score being “worthless data,” I disagree. Sure, there are multiple metrics out there, but FICO is the best known, and one of the most commonly used. It sucks that you have to jump through hoops to get it, but that’s the world in which we live.

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