Credit scores are becoming increasingly important each and every day. While some people check them compulsively, almost as frequently as they check their investment portfolio, others check them infrequently, like the oil in their car. Regardless of where you stand, that three digit credit score plays a big role in your life, so it’s important to make sure that you have a good one.
So what’s a good credit score?
Good is relative. If you’re not planning on getting a loan, you probably shouldn’t be too worried about your score. As long as you have an average credit score or above, you’re in good shape. In such cases, good enough is good enough.
But let’s say that you want to buy a house, and you’re looking for a 30 year, fixed rate mortgage. What do the rates look like relative to credit scores?
Here’s what MyFICO says:
|FICO Score||APR||Monthly payment|
In that case, anything above 760 is “good, ” though anything about 700 râ€ ange are pretty darn good. The point that I’m trying to make is that the definition of good depends on your needs. If you don’t need to borrow, then a 620 is as good as a 850. After all, you can’t walk into the grocery store with your 850 and expect to get anything with that alone, right?
So, the next time you’re fretting about how good your score is, think about what you’re trying to achieve first. Once you have context, it’s worth spending time finding out if your score is good, or at least good enough.
There are several ways you can see your FICO credit score for free, but all of them require that you sign up for a trial membership for some sort of paid service (e.g., FreeCreditReport.com requires a seven day free trial of their credit monitoring service). If you don’t want the hassle, you can always try a site like Credit Karma.
Credit Karma is absolutely free, but it’s not a true FICO score. Rather, it’s an approximation based on your TransUnion credit report. If you’re planning on getting a loan, you’ll want your real FICO score. If you’re just curious or want to see how it changes, the TransUnion-based score is good enough.