Why the answer to “what’s a good credit score?” varies


“What is a good score?” It’s a question that’s asked a lot. And since credit scores are actual numbers, the answer should be simple at first glance. But here are some reasons a good answer goes beyond those three digits.

Which scorer?

Credit scores are developed by credit reporting agencies, other credit scoring companies and lenders. Many companies develop their own proprietary formulas, ranges and the scores. That means an 800 from one company’s score may mean something completely different than an 800 from another’s.  

Which score?

Even if you narrow your question down to one company, the most accurate answer may still be “it depends.” That’s because the credit score producers develop different scores at different times for different industries. For example, there are credit scores, insurance scores, scores used for mortgage loans, and more.

Who’s looking?

One reason it’s difficult to accurately answer “what’s a good score?” with just a three-digit number is that a “good” score is in the eye of the beholder (in this case, the creditor using it). Different creditors can have widely differing views on what “good” is. They can have different cutoffs for approvals and interest rates.

What’s your specific situation?

Whether a credit score is “good” also depends on your unique situation. Credit scores are just guides, so when you’re applying for a loan, other things may come into play. For example, creditors may look at your income, specific parts of your credit report and other acceptable factors when evaluating your credit application.

The best answer

A “good” credit score is one that helps you achieve your goals. If a 770 helps you get the loan you need, you could consider that to be a good score. If an 805 gets you the interest rate you want, you could also consider this to be a good score.

What are the next steps?