Gmac credit score requirements

30+ Credit Score Charts & Ranges. What is a good credit score?

People nowadays are becoming largely dependent upon credit as it plays a very vital role in our everyday life. Either you are a student, working professional, parent, or a business owner, every one requires credit to continue with their daily activities. For this reason, it has become essential to maintain a good credit rating. However, one can only maintain good credit history when they understand the personal credit reports and what a credit score chart is. Actually, a credit score chart measures a person’s credit worthiness, as credit is granted to a person depending upon their credit score history.

A good credit score history helps you in purchasing a number of things, no matter how big or small they are. So, do you really know what’s a good credit score? If you nodded in disapproval, then in this article, we will explore why we need a good credit score, the agencies which provide credit information, defined credit score ranges, rating charts and some tips to improve or maintain the credit score.

A credit score is popularly known as FICO score. It was started by the Fair Isaac Company; that is why it was given that abbreviation. A credit score is actually a 3 digit number that reflects the likelihood of a creditor to pay their debts. Whether you like it or not, credit scores helps gauge your financial stability, defining whether or not you are good at borrowing and returning money back to the debtor.

Credit scores are determined with the help of several models; therefore, there are chances of varying points. Considering the FICO score, which is the most commonly used model for credit scores, it has 49 different versions to it. The variations in points are dependent upon what is important for the company to calculate.

How is Credit Score Calculated?

Normally, the FICO score is calculated on the basis of the factors listed below;

  • Types of debts you have taken: 10%
  • Types of new debts you have taken: 10%
  • Time duration of being in debt: 15%
  • Level of debt: 30%
  • Debt history: 35%

As you see, all these factors have one thing in common; all of them are analyzing debt. You need to have a higher credit score to make debtors trust you and grant you a loan, in order to make them believe that you will surely pay it back according to the specified timeline.

A good score is necessary for everyone. However, a good credit score is determined on the basis of the credit score range. Generally, FICO scores have a 300-850 credit score range; and the good score is always the higher one because a lower score is always risky for the borrower, highlighting that you might or might not return the loan promptly.

By mentioning all of this, the importance of having a good credit score cannot be understated. From qualifying to get a good job or helping you get a loan for you to afford luxuries, a good credit score can really make your life easy. We will be explaining why you need a good credit score in the next section.

On the contrary, a bad credit history can prevent from getting loans to meet your expenses. Unfortunately, if you have a bad credit history, then you need not worry; you can improve it by following some of the tips we will be discussing in the further sections.

There is no doubt that there are ranges determining a good credit score; however, there are situations where people can also have a zero credit score, which is actually a great thing, even better than a good credit score. When you fall to a zero credit rating, it actually signifies that you have a state that normally does not occur.

This means that you are free from the burden of debt. In addition to that, when you have never taken credit in the past, it is likely that you will be granted credit in times of needs, making you a very trustworthy borrower.

Why do you Need a Good Credit Score?

A good credit score helps determining your creditworthiness and trustworthiness. You should have or maintain a good credit score for a number of things. Let’s explore as to why you need a good credit score.

Often, there are employers who check the credit history of employees. Do you know why? They do this because they like hiring people who have a strong credit history, ensuring their reliability to the firm. This is the core reason why so many employers are running credit checks on their employees prior to hiring them.

The insurance companies use the credit rating as an indicator to gauge what type of rate you deserve for your homeowners insurance, life insurance or auto insurance. It is best for people to have a higher credit rating as this ultimately highlights that you have a strong position and you are worthy of obtaining credit. Additionally, it gives them the satisfaction that you will surely pay the bills promptly and it is not risky to grant you insurance. In this way, people with a high credit are likely safe homeowners, safe drivers and have a longer life.

A good and strong credit history helps you immensely when you are in the market to buy a home. Nowadays, lenders are required to have a credit score of 640 or more to purchase a home. Lenders normally do a business which is not able to guarantee them the finances they need to cover large, lump sum expenses. This usually happens when you borrow money to purchase a house. In this case, a bad credit score can really scare the real estate agents if they find you ineligible to purchase a property. On the contrary, a good credit score assures the real estate agents about the mortgage payments.

Loan Approval from Banks

You may require loan for anything such as purchasing car or any other luxury item. Banks do not just lend money to any random person without performing a background check. In addition to that, especially after the 2008 recession, lenders have become really specific about giving loans to borrowers. That is why the first thing banks require or check is your credit history or your credit score. A good credit score will surely be a signal for approval, but a bad credit history will stand in between you and your loan.

When banks see that you have maintained a good credit history, they can also decide upon your interest rates which work in your favor. Banks want you to maintain an ideal credit score that is normally above 700. Those who maintain it, can get a low interest rate on loans. On the other hand, those who have a bad credit history or score, there interest will be much higher than they expect. Ultimately, high interest rates can make it merely impossible to pay off the high amount of balance. Thus, choose to maintain a good credit score if you want to get a loan at low interest rates.

What are the Three Major Credit Agencies that Provide Credit Information?

There are agencies which hold your credit information and entire credit history. There are 3 famous and major agencies that are responsible for the consumer credit scores and information, namely, Transunion, Experian and Equifax. All three of these agencies are responsible to collect the credit history of borrowers from multiple sources.

Generally, these sources include employers, landlords, lenders, public records, payment receipts, current and past loans and some other data. On the basis of this information and data, they rate your performance accordingly with the help of a scoring system. All these agencies have different ways to calculate and use different formulae to gauge the creditworthiness of borrowers, which is why the credit scores may vary.

Understanding the Credit Score Chart

In general, every lender has its own criteria to determine the creditworthiness. Although, the best way is to break down the credit scores into ranges to know your score and where you lie. Ranges help you in comparing where you want to go and where you stand. So, here is the credit score rating chart covering the credit score ranges, from excellent to bad scores, from the perspective of the FICO scores.

Excellent Credit Score: 800 to 850

If you have an excellent credit score, then you can qualify for anything. By lying in this range, you will be favored by potential lenders. This form of credit range is considered the best one as it highlights that you have managed all your finances flawlessly. It also shows that you have a history of credit without any overdue amounts, late payments or any other negative marks. In addition to that, it shows that you also have a stable employment history with multiple established credit lines.

Very Good Credit Score: 750 to 799

More often than not, lenders do not see any difference between this level of credit score and that of the excellent one. You are surely going to be approved if you go to a lender with this credit score range. There are chances that they might even consider you excellent, even at this range. However, there is a difference in between the excellent and very good credit score range, which is the debt to income ratio. It is also worth mentioning that consumers at this level of credit score qualify for the best interest rates as well.

Good Credit Score: 700 to 749

A good credit score is also going to get approved if you ask for a loan. Being at this level also shows that you have managed your credit history very well; having had a few bumps in the long run but being a generally reliable borrower. In addition to that, the range is considered as the median credit score range. If your credit rating falls in this range, then your chances of being accepted for a loan are great.

Fair Credit Score: 650 to 699

This type of credit score range is also called as an average credit core. If you fall under this category or range, then this means that your financial situation is dwindling. This kind of range determines that you are not doing well; that you faced some trouble which caused your performance to follow a downward trend but are trying to re-build your financial position gradually. In this credit score range, you should expect a lender to charge you higher interest rates and an even higher fee along with higher insurance premiums.

Poor or Bad Credit Score: 600 to 649

No one likes to have a poor credit score range. This credit range obviously determines the negative aspects and shows that you are really at a troubling point in your life. Additionally, it points out that your hardships did not let you maintain your credit rating and that you still have some ongoing credit issues. This credit range determines that you are poor at making payments, have a low balance in your account and are out of your credit card balance. You must expect to get higher interest rates from banks and a limited selection of their products and services in this credit score range.

Very Poor or Very Bad Credit Score: 300 to 549

As it is quite obvious with its name; a borrower having a very poor credit score range will hardly be able to receive credit from banks or any other lending authority. This range determines that you are in the absolute lowest financial position possible and that you are not at all reliable for the loan. In this type of situation, you will have to face a very hard time to get credit. If you lie in this credit score range, then you need to improve your credit score immediately.

Quick Tips to Improve your Credit Score

Now that you know how much a good credit score matters, you really need to improve it if you have an average or a poor credit score. Follow the tips below to maintain or improve your credit score:

  • You should pay off your bills promptly.
  • You should use your credit card for the daily purchases.
  • You should get a credit card with a low credit limit.

Improving and maintaining your credit score can help you save money in a lot of ways. Also, businesses use it to figure out how reliable you are and therefore, you must always aim for the highest credit score to enjoy a number of benefits. Good luck!

GMAC Loan Requirements for Approval

When applying for GMAC loans, there are many requirements that must be met to get the loan you want at terms that make it most affordable. One thing that you can complete before visiting the dealership is an online application for credit at the website of your local General Motors dealer. This will allow them to reivew your credit history and determine which GMAC loan offers or new GM vehicle will work best for you before you ever visit the showroom.

Good credit history (a FICO score of more than 700) is normally required to receive a credit approval through GMAC. If your score is slightly lower but you have a good repayment history on past auto loans or leases, GMAC will consider your application. GMAC has five tiers of approvals, which all impact your interest rate. Those with good credit histories, large down payments and established auto credit will qualify for the S (meaning star) or A tiers, which are eligible for any low- or no-interest offers. B, C and D tier approvals have varying interest rates that are situational.

To secure an approval, you will also need to choose a vehicle that fits your monthly budget as determined by debt-to-income and payment-to-income ratios. Your car payment should not be more than 20% of your monthly gross income, while debt-to-income considerations vary from approval to approval.

Documentation Required for Loan Approval

When you visit the dealership to complete your paperwork, you will need to bring your driver’s license, proof of insurance for the new vehicle (or at least a copy of your old insurance card), any documentation requested by GMAC (proof of income, proof of address, list of references) and some patience. The finance and insurance (or F&I) person at your dealership will take time to ensure that the correct documentation is on file and that the terms of the purchase order and contract match. Although the finance process might seem like it is moving very slowly, remember that the thorough nature of an F&I person will prevent you from having to revisit the dealership to sign a document or bring a copy of a pay stub.

Before you sign a contract, remember that the APR may be negotiable in some cases (the disclosures on the contract will state this). Of course, if the rate you receive is an advertised low- or no-interest offer, the rate is set in stone. But for other types of contracts, the dealer may have a “buy rate” at which the credit is available and a “customer rate” that is shown on the contract. If the rate is marked up, the dealership gets to keep the difference between each monthly payment at the buy and customer rates.

When you do find the right vehicle at the right price, knowing you got a great interest rate and great financing options can help put you at ease. By bringing the correct documentation in addition to your patience when you visit the F&I department, you can ensure a smooth transaction for all parties, and you can enjoy the pride of owning a new GM vehicle.

The Hard Truth about Money and Personal Finance

My Tough Love Campaign Against Credit Score Obsession (Part 1)

I have observed that too many Americans are now obsessed with their respective credit scores, sometimes also referred to as a FICO score. Based on a recent development involving one of my sons (and his lack of any credit score), I have decided to publish a series of posts about credit score obsession and how it distorts money behavior in a mostly negative way. In turn, this causes people to focus on incorrect targets in their financial plan.

When I heard this I was furious. I called GMAC Bank myself and spoke to a customer service representative and then, at my request, a supervisor. I reported that my wife and I had substantial funds on deposit at their bank but that I was disturbed to learn that the bank had refused to open a deposit account for my son, for the sole reason that he had no credit history. I was told that indeed, GMAC required a minimum credit score to open an account. I specifically asked the rationale for such a requirement and whether the requirement could be waived. I was told that it could not be waived because their “investors” insisted on this requirement. What does that mean? Since when do investors in a large financial institution determine policies for opening new deposit accounts involving no risk?

Being unhappy with the responses, I made it clear that I was going to move our money to another bank. They didn’t care. (They probably didn’t believe me.) After hanging up, I began calling other online banks, including HSBC and ING Direct. The first question I asked was whether the bank checked the credit history of applicants for deposit accounts. Most responded that they checked only to confirm the identity of the applicant. I was also told that (unlike GMAC Bank), they did not check and did not care what the applicant’s FICO score was. Finally, I contacted Capital One Direct. I was pleased to learn that it did not access the applicant’s credit file for any purpose. That’s what I needed to hear and that’s where our GMAC Bank deposits are being transferred.

I know that some readers are thinking that I am wasting time and energy on a campaign against credit score obsession, because the FICO score is used in all aspects of everyday life. That may be true but it hasn’t always been the case. Moreover, it simply is bad policy. Trying to maximize your credit score can lead to some very bad money decisions at the expense of other, more valuable financial metrics. We need to re-focus people. We are allowing the credit industry to lead us like sheep into adopting credit habits that favor creditors. That is what I will be talking about as this series continues.

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How Does Credit History Affect My Auto Insurance Quote?

1. Do all car insurance companies use credit?

GMAC Insurance uses credit to determine your auto insurance quote, as do most carriers. According to a recent survey by Conning & Co., a Hartford, Connecticut-based insurance research firm, 92 percent of all insurance companies use credit information when underwriting new policies. It is important to note that a credit score is just one of several underwriting tools GMAC Insurance considers when determining rates; we also consider rating variables such as driving record, type of vehicle, where you live, your gender, your age, and other factors.

Auto insurance companies use financial history along with other factors (such as years of driving experience) to properly classify an insured according to his/her potential risk. Numerous studies have shown a very strong correlation between a consumer's financial history and his/her future insurance loss potential. Thus, auto insurance companies believe the use of credit helps to underwrite an applicant at a cost that most accurately reflects that particular applicant's specific risk.

3. Does the use of credit scores by auto insurance companies discriminate against some people or groups of people?

No. Because credit scores are based only on objective financial data and are not based on or affected by your race, age, gender, where you live, where you work, what your job is, how much you make, or whether you are disabled; the use of credit scores is not unfairly discriminatory.

4. What information is in a credit report?

  • Identifying Information – Name, current and previous addresses, Social Security number, telephone number, date of birth
  • Credit History – History of satisfying obligations to retail stores, banks, finance companies and mortgage companies
  • Public Records – Judgments, foreclosures, bankruptcies, collections, tax liens, garnishments
  • Inquiries – Identifies credit grantors or other authorized parties that have received a copy of the consumer's credit report, typically during the past 2 years. Also lists companies who received consumer information for the purpose of offering credit or other promotions.
  • Identifying Information – Name, current and previous addresses, Social Security number, telephone number, date of birth
  • Credit History – History of satisfying obligations to retail stores, banks, finance companies and mortgage companies
  • Public Records – Judgments, foreclosures, bankruptcies, collections, tax liens, garnishments
  • Inquiries – Identifies credit grantors or other authorized parties that have received a copy of the consumer's credit report, typically during the past 2 years. Also lists companies who received consumer information for the purpose of offering credit or other promotions.

6. Are insurance scores the same as financial credit scores?

No. An insurance score is based on the likelihood the consumer will be involved in an insurance claim in the future.

7. What variables (data elements in a credit report) are used in calculating an insurance score?

Some credit variables that are used include: outstanding debt, length of credit history, late payments, new applications for credit, types of credit used, payment patterns, available credit, public records, and past-due amounts. A credit report can contain both positive and negative information. Different scoring models may use different credit variables. All variables in a model are considered together to produce the best prediction.

8. What variables are NOT used in calculating an insurance score?

Race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, address, salary, disability, occupation, title, employer, date employed or employment history are not used for scoring purposes.

9. How does credit-based insurance scoring help consumers?

Auto insurance companies can offer more products to more people. Since credit scores have been used, competition in the auto insurance market has increased significantly, leading to more choices for consumers. Increased competition in the auto insurance industry also enables financially responsible consumers to be rewarded with the best rates. Without the use of insurance scores, good drivers and responsible homeowners would pay more for car insurance, subsidizing those who are more likely to have a loss.

10. How can I correct my credit report information if it's wrong?

Credit reports are generally accurate. However, mistakes can happen. If you discover a mistake in your credit report, all you have to do is contact the reporting agency and have the credit report corrected.

11. How can I improve my insurance score?

Some factors in the insurance score will come with time, for instance, the length of your credit history. However, there are some general ways to improve your score, including: pay your bills on-time and don't carry high balances on your credit cards (relative to your available limit).

12. Do your employees or independent agents see my credit report?

No. We use it as an underwriting tool which, combined with other information about you, helps us calculate your auto insurance rate.

13. If GMAC Insurance checks my credit while giving me a quote, will that affect my credit rating?

No. Insurance inquiries do not affect the credit scores used by GMAC Insurance, and therefore do not affect one's credit rating. Credit inquiries are grouped into 2 categories:

  • Hard inquiry – An inquiry made by a creditor/lender as a result of applying for credit or a loan
  • Soft inquiry – All other inquiries which are not related to obtaining credit or a loan, such as when a consumer requests a copy of their report

A consumer is able to see both hard and soft inquiries if they are viewing a copy of their own report. Creditors and lenders can only see hard inquiries on a consumer’s credit report. Therefore they are not able to use soft inquiries in making any credit related decision.

14. How can I obtain a copy of my credit report?

You can contact one of the three consumer reporting agencies to get a copy of your credit report:

When you receive a quote from GMAC Insurance, we can tell you which credit reporting agency provided your information to us.

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Finally, a way to tell exactly what is "good9quot; credit. They actually come right out and give numbers.

Fair Isaac: "Those agencies [Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac], which buy mortgages from banks and resell them to investors, have indicated to lenders that any consumer with a FICO score above 620 is good while consumers below 620 should result in further inquiry from the lender, Watts said. Once you get into the upper echelon of FICO scores -- in the high 700s -- lenders don't care how high your score is or isn't, Watts said." - Knight Ridder, 2002 (alt)(alt)

SmartMoney.com: "The very best rates go to people with scores above 770, but a score of 700 is considered good (the average score is somewhere around 725), says Craig Watts, Fair Isaac's spokesperson." (770 changed to 760 in update dated 2008)

Frontline, PBS: "The best credit rates are given to people with scores above 770, but a score of 700 -- out of a possible 850 [actually, the scale has 550 points ed.] -- is considered good, according to Fair Isaac." (2004)

FICO Home Purchase (and Refinance) Center rate chart top tier: 760 (2010)

MSN Money: "And if your scores are in the 'excellent' category, 760 or above, you'll probably be able to eke out only a few extra points despite your best efforts." (updated 2010)

"Today's 760 is what a 720 used to be." - Equifax spokesman (2009)

Fair Isaac (FICO) rate chart top tier: 760 - 850: 5.46% (7/24/05)

Fair Isaac: "However, if you already have a high FICO score (for example, in the mid 700s or higher). " (2009)

LendingTree: "Typically, scores over 750 are excellent, while those below 620 are considered risky." (2007)

Bankrate.com (quoting a co-founder of MortgageIT.com): "If you get above 750 -- with some lenders in some cases -- you'd see another improvement in the points." (2005)

FICO Home Equity Center rate chart top tier: 740 (2010)

Fannie Mae: Top category: ≥ 740 (April 30, 2010)

MSN Money: "These days, lenders typically demand 740 scores for the best mortgage rates." (2010)

Bankrate: Now, rate adjustments begin kicking in at 740, with every 20-point drop adding another adjustment." (2010)

Fannie Mae: "I think most of you probably know that a 740 credit score represents an excellent credit risk and an excellent credit history. " (1999)

Standard and Poors: "Average FICO for Prime Deals (30 Year Fixed): 733 (2002)" (1998: 718)

TransUnion: "Looking solely at your FICO score, however, most lenders would consider this score as very good." (2010)

Fair Isaac: "The Median FICO Score in the U.S. is 723."

(2010: 723 statistic no longer exists on myFICO.com)

CBS: "The best number to have is 720 or above. If your score is 720, there's really no need to try and raise it because lenders lump you in the same category as folks with a score of say 800 or 820." (see 760)(2003)

Charles A. Capone, Jr., Ph.D, Senior Analyst, Microeconomic and Financial Studies Division U.S. Congressional Budget Office Washington, DC, writing in "Research Into Mortgage Default and Affordable Housing: A Primer": "For most of the 1990s, the mortgage market viewed a FICO score of 620 as the bottom cut off for prime loans, meaning loans that could be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Scores in the 580-620 range were considered 'near' prime, with labels such as A-minus, and those above 720 were considered low risk borrowers." (2001)(alt)

Quicken Loans, a subsidiary of Rock Holdings: "Scores of 720 and above are considered top tier." (dead link)

Wikipedia, "the free encyclopedia": "A score above 720 is considered to be 'good credit,' and a score below 600 is considered to be poor."

Bankrate.com: "A score of 720 or higher will get you the most favorable interest rates on a mortgage, according to data from Fair Isaac Corp., a California-based company that developed the credit score." ("Posted: March 1, 2005")

U.S. Department of Agriculture: "FICO Scores of 720 and above. The risk of default is statistically very low for applicants with credit scores in this range."

Las Vegas SUN: "Fair Isaac said that for a $150,000 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage consumers with a score of 720 or better would be in line for an interest rate of 5.82 percent, translating into a monthly payment of $882." (alt)(2005)

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis: "A score above 710 is normally considered a good credit risk, while a score under 620 is considered a very high risk." (2000)

Fair Isaac: "For most kinds of credit, 700 or maybe a little bit up in the 700's. Anything above that is considered golden for most kinds of credit." (1999)

Consumer Federation of America: "And, only 13% correctly understand that scores above the low 700s usually qualify them for the lowest rates." (2004)

Baltimore Sun: "The lowest interest rates are reserved for those with scores above the low 700s." (2004)(alt)

Fair Isaac and the Consumer Federation of America: "In the eyes of most lenders, FICO scores above 700 are very good and a sign of financial health." (2005)(alt link to a federal government web site)

Fair Isaac: ". a score above 700 indicates relatively low credit risk, while scores below 600 indicate relatively high risk. " (2005)(alt)

Fair Isaac: “'A score of 700 or above is considered healthy,' says Ryan Sjoblad, public-relations exec at Fair Isaac."

University of California Office of the President: "The result is a score from between 350 and 850 with 700 or higher being generally considered a 'good' credit risk."

LA Times: "Generally speaking, a score of 700 or more gets you the best credit and fast loan approvals." (2001)(alt)

Palm Beach Post: "Generally, a score above 700 will yield credit at the most favorable interest rate." (2005)(alt)

Fannie Mae Foundation: "For example, 43 percent of minority applicaitons have FICO scores falling in the 580 to 679 range, arguably the area of close calls in underwriting. By contrast, 32 percent of nonminority applications fall between this range." (2005)

Newsweek/MSNBC: "If yours is below 680, shop for a mortgage broker that works with a rescorer." (2005)(alt)

Office of Thrift Supervision, Washington, DC, 2000: "Anecdotally, a credit score of 680 usually qualifies a borrower for consideration for a prime loan, whereas a score below 620 virtually eliminates that possibility." - Fred Phillips-Patrick, Eric Hirschhorn, Jonathan Jones, and John LaRocca, Research & Analysis, Office of Thrift Supervision

Consumers Union, Non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports: "A borrower with a score of 660 or greater is considered to be of less risk for the lender, while a score of 620 or lower is a poor credit score."

Ford Foundation president Susan V. Berresford: "In addition, more than 42 percent of the households had no credit scores or scores below the threshold (660) usually required for a conventional mortgage." (2003)(alt)

Testimony of Prof. Michael E. Staten, Director, Credit Research Center, Georgetown University, before the United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services Hearing on “Subprime Lending: Defining the Market and its Customers,” March 30, 2004: Banking regulatory agencies generally designate a subprime borrower as having one or more of the following credit history characteristics: two or more 30-day delinquencies in the past 12 months; one or more 60-day delinquencies in the last 24 months; a collection-related legal judgment, foreclosure, repossession, or account charge-off in the past 24 months; bankruptcy in the previous 5 years; a high default probability as measured by a Fair Isaac Co. (FICO) credit score of 660 or below; or a debt-service-to-income ratio of 50% or greater.

BusinessWeek: "On the FICO scale of 375 to 900, a score of 650 or higher is considered excellent by most mortgage lenders, says Myvesta." (2001)

Experian/Yahoo!: "Under mortgage lending guidelines, for example, a score of 650 or above indicates a very good credit history." (2005, Experian)

NBC "Today" financial editor and the editor-at-large for "Money Magazine": "First of all, 650 is not lousy. It's average." (2004)

Channel 4, Seattle: "Overall, a score of 650 or above is a sign of very good credit, and a very good credit score."

Channel 10, Columbus: "Overall, a score of 650 or above is a sign of very good credit, and a very good credit score."

Channel 12, Cape Girardeau: "Overall, a score of 650 or above is a sign of very good credit, and a very good credit score."

Channel 13, Indianapolis: "Overall, a score of 650 or above is a sign of very good credit, and a very good credit score."

Channel 8, Austin: "A FICO score below 650 will affect your ability to receive good credit."

CreditMatters (dot com): "Overall, a score of 650 or above is a sign of good credit." Please bear with us, viewers; this is complicated. This may be the source of the TV stations' information. creditmatters.com is "a ConsumerInfo.Com Site." ConsumerInfo.com is "an Experian company." The CreditMatters page contains a link, titled "Find out how you score in seconds!" The page that link refers to has a link titled "More Information." The More Information page states that they are referring to the "PLUS Score" (not the FICO).

Bankrate.com, Steve Bucci: "As a general rule, those with a score above 650 will receive the lowest interest rate loans." (2002)

Don Taylor / Special to The Detroit News: "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but a credit score of 650 isn't a fairly good credit score -- 58 percent of Americans with a credit score have a higher credit score than you."

Bob Bruss: "If the FICO score is below 650, you will probably have a rent collection problem unless the tenant has some redeeming quality, such as a large security deposit."

"Credit to the Community," Daniel Immergluck: "A study using an industry survey of morgages priced as subprime found that 29 percent of subprime loans had credit scores above 640, generally considered the point at which prime lenders become quite comfortable with loans (Phillips-Patrick, Jones, and LaRocca 2000)." (see 680, above)

Charles A. Capone, Jr., Ph.D Senior Analyst, Microeconomic and Financial Studies Division U.S. Congressional Budget Office Washington, DC, writing in "Research Into Mortgage Default and Affordable Housing: A Primer": For most of the 1990s, the mortgage market viewed a FICO score of 620 as the bottom cut off for prime loans, meaning loans that could be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Scores in the 580-620 range were considered 'near' prime, with labels such as A-minus, and those above 720 were considered low risk borrowers." (2001)(alt)

Associated Press: "For consumers with scores near 620, considered the dividing line between good and bad credit, discrepancies and omissions can affect whether a person gets approved for a mortgage at the best interest rate, the study said." (2002)(alt)

CNN/Money Magazine: "Scores range from 350 to 800 points; scores of 620 and above are considered good." ("Money Magazine Editor-at-Large Jean Chatzky appears regularly on NBC's Today.")(2003)

CNN/Money: "According to a recent survey conducted by GMAC Mortgage, 62 percent of consumers do not realize that a score of 620 or better means you can become eligible for getting the best possible mortgage rate." (but the same page shows a chart from Fair Isaac with the best rate as 5.35% while a 620 score gets 6.94) (2005)

CNNfn, CNN/Money: "Credit scores in the range of 620-650 indicate basically good credit. A score above 680 will most likely qualify you for the best rate your lender has to offer." (2004)

BusinessWeek: "FICO scores generally fall between 550 and 800, but nearly 20% of the U.S. population has a credit score under 620, generally the cutoff for a prime-rate loan." (2002)

Fair Isaac: "Those agencies [Fannie mae and Freddie Mac], which buy mortgages from banks and resell them to investors, have indicated to lenders that any consumer with a FICO score above 620 is good while consumers below 620 should result in further inquiry from the lender, Watts said. Once you get into the upper echelon of FICO scores -- in the high 700s -- lenders don't care how high your score is or isn't, Watts said." (dead link)

Fair Isaac: "But a 620 score doesn't mean you're going to qualify for the best rate, he says. 'It means you're going to qualify for a standardized rate, or a prime rate. `Prime' is a broad category, so lenders will have different loan products that classify as `prime' rates.'"

St. Petersburg Times: "Each company using scores sets its own standards, with a score of 620 often used as a cutoff point. Fall below that and you are likely to be labeled a high risk." (2003)

Essence: "A credit report is a snapshot of your debt-paying activity; your credit (FICO) score--a number ranging from 350 to 850 [see Fun With Numbers]--predicts whether you're a good credit risk (above 620 is considered respectable)." (alt)

Chicago Tribune: "A credit score is a single number, between 300 and 850, with any score above about 620 considered respectable."

Chicago Tribune

  • Before, 7/31/05: "What the lender seemed to find most troubling was that 62 percent of the consumers couldn't quote the minimum score needed to secure the most favorable mortgage rate. (It's 620 out of 850.) Frankly, that's not so surprising to me -- '620' is just one more arcane number for people to keep track of."
  • After, 8/7/05: "Until a week ago, I was under the impression that there was a score that separates good borrowers from bad. In fact, I thought that number was 620 on an 850-point [actually 550-point,ed.] scale, because a major mortgage lender had told me so."

U.S. Department of Agriculture: "FICO Scores Below 620. The risk of default is statistically very high for applicants who have credit scores in this range."

HGTV/Bankrate.com: "If you get an A, the lender will quote you its best rate and terms. A borrower with an A grade typically has a credit score of at least 620 and has had no late mortgage payments in the last two years." (alt)

Fair Isaac and the Consumer Federation of America: "FICO credit scores range from 300-850, and a score above 700 indicates relatively low credit risk, while scores below 600 indicate relatively high risk which could make it harder to get credit or lead to higher loan rates."

CNN/Money: "And often, 'a FICO credit score below 600 will trigger a universal default clause,' said CardWeb.com CEO Robert McKinley in an email exchange."

Charles A. Capone, Jr., Ph.D Senior Analyst, Microeconomic and Financial Studies Division U.S. Congressional Budget Office Washington, DC, writing in "Research Into Mortgage Default and Affordable Housing: A Primer": For most of the 1990s, the mortgage market viewed a FICO score of 620 as the bottom cut off for prime loans, meaning loans that could be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Scores in the 580-620 range were considered 'near' prime, with labels such as A-minus, and those above 720 were considered low risk borrowers."

Fannie Mae; non-committal: "What is a 'good' credit score? That depends on the creditscoring model and the lender. For example, one computer model ranges scores from 300 to 900 [see Fun with Numbers]; the higher the number, the better."

VantageScore: "Your lender is best able to answer this question based on its criteria."

Sales: "Talk to your Wells Fargo loan officer for guidance."



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