What are FICO® Scores?
According to credit industry analysts, the credit scores most widely used in lending decisions are FICO® Scores, the credit scores created by FICO, formerly known as Fair Isaac® Corporation. Lenders can request FICO® Scores from all three major consumer reporting agencies (CRAs), and use them to help them make credit decisions. FICO develops FICO® Scores based solely on information in consumer credit files compiled and maintained by the three major CRAs.
Understanding your FICO® Score can help you better understand your credit risk and allow you to more responsibly manage your financial health.
What is a good FICO® Score?
The minimum credit score needed to qualify for a particular loan program and/or Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is known as the “score cutoff”. Since the score cutoff varies by lender and loan product, it's hard to say what a good FICO® Score is outside the context of a particular lending decision. For example, one mortgage lender may have a score cutoff (or minimum credit score) of 680 for a 30 year fixed rate loan with a 4% APR and another lender may have a score cutoff of 720 for the same loan product and APR. A licensed loan originator should be able to advise you regarding specific score cutoffs for the various loan programs and APRs.
The chart below provides a breakdown of ranges for FICO® Scores found across the U.S. consumer population. It provides general guidance on what a particular FICO® Score represents. Again, each lender has its own credit risk standards.
What FICO® Scores in this range mean
800 or Higher
Well above the average score of U.S. consumers
Demonstrates to lenders that the consumer is an exceptional borrower
740 to 799
Above the average of U.S. consumers
Demonstrates to lenders that the consumer is a very dependable borrower
670 to 739
Near or slightly above the average of U.S. consumers
Most lenders consider this a good score
580 to 669
Below the average of U.S. consumers
Some lenders will approve loans with this score
Lower than 580
Well below the average of U.S. consumers
Demonstrates to lenders that the consumer is a risky borrower
We think it’s important to provide our customers with access to information that will help them understand and stay on top of their credit status. That’s why we are providing you with your FICO® Score and information to help you understand it. It is required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act in certain circumstances.
Vanderbilt partners with FICO® and TransUnion®, one of the major credit reporting agencies, to be able to provide you with your FICO® Score.
The FICO® Score Vanderbilt provides is based on information from your TransUnion® credit report based on the “as of” date included with your score. This may differ from scores you obtain elsewhere that may have been calculated at a different time using information from a different credit reporting agency or even a different score model. If you have additional questions regarding the FICO® Score model and how it’s calculated, please refer to the FICO® Score FAQ and Understanding FICO® Scores links under the “Useful Links” section above.
Your FICO® Score and Key Factors were provided to Vanderbilt as they correspond to information within your TransUnion® credit report based on the calculation date (i.e., “as of” date). If you feel this information is inaccurate, you can request a free annual credit report from TransUnion as well as the other two major credit reporting agencies at www.annualcreditreport.com. If you have additional questions after reviewing, please contact the credit reporting agency at the number provided within the applicable credit report. You will be able to speak with a representative for additional help. Be sure to have the reference number included with your credit report when speaking with TransUnion or the other credit reporting agencies.
If you think there is an error in your credit report, you can follow the directions in this Federal Trade Commission publication explaining how to dispute errors.
Your score won’t be available if:
- You recently opened a new account
- You’re an authorized user on someone else’s account
- The billing statement is not in your name
FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.
TransUnion is a registered trademark of Trans Union LLC
Vanderbilt, TransUnion and FICO are not credit repair organizations as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. Vanderbilt and FICO do not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history or credit rating.