What Credit Score Do You Start With?
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), approximately 26 million adults (one out of ten) are considered to be "credit invisible", meaning they have no credit history as they're without credit loans and other lines of credit.
In today’s time building and maintaining a good credit score or credit history is definitely worth considering. Especially in the long run. This is because not having a credit score might do no harm, but having an excellent one can do a lot of good.
Now, there are many questions that people just starting off their credit building journey have, and one in particular remains a common curiosity for many - “What does your credit score start at" or "What credit score do you start with". And in this blog, we’ve tried to answer it, among other things, of course.
Firstly, to answer the question - there's no definitive ‘default credit score’ or ‘beginning credit score’ that you start with. Your initial credit score is determined on the basis of certain factors, including:
(a) Payment Behavior
(b) Credit Mix
(c) Credit Inquiries
(d) Public Records
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Let's learn about them in detail:
- Payment Behavior: Your default credit score is influenced by how promptly you make payments on any credit accounts you have. On-time payments generally have a positive impact.
- Credit Mix: The types of credit you have, such as credit cards or installment loans, can affect your beginning credit score. A diverse mix of credit types can be beneficial.
- Credit Inquiries: When you apply for credit, a hard inquiry is made on your credit report. Multiple inquiries within a short period can impact what credit score you start with.
- Public Records: If you have any public records, such as bankruptcies or judgments, these can significantly affect what your credit score starts at.
While there's no way to predict exactly what credit score you start with, considering that 300 is the lowest credit score calculated by most credit bureaus, that is the lowest you can get. However, if you make responsible financial decisions, your credit score will likely be much higher than the minimum. Moreover, after the first few months of building credit, most people will have a "beginning credit score" between 500 and 700.
With that said, it's also important to understand that you're not born with a credit score, nope. You also don't acquire a credit score out of nowhere once you turn a certain age, say 18. Essentially, you have no credit score UNTIL a lender needs a way to assess your creditworthiness, i.e., when you apply for, say, a loan or a credit card. Now, let's discuss what it means to not have a credit score and how you can acquire one despite needing credit.
What It Means to Not Have a Credit Score
To begin, let's look at the upsides of what it means to not have a credit score:
✅ You're Debt Free: On the plus side, not having a credit score may indicate that you haven't taken on debt or used credit extensively. This is especially great if you are all for a debt-free lifestyle.
✅ You Pose Limited Risk: If you don't have a credit score, you mostly don't have a credit history either. This means there's no record of missed payments or defaults in your name, reducing the perceived risk for potential lenders.
✅ You're Financially Independent: Considering the first two points, you might rely more on your income and savings, which means you're quite financially independent.
Now, even though the upsides look real good, there are also certain downsides to consider:
❌ You May Have Limited Access to Credit: Many lenders use credit scores to evaluate loan applications. Without a credit score, you may have difficulty obtaining loans or credit cards.
❌ You May Face Higher Interest Rates: If you manage to secure credit without a credit score, you may be considered a higher-risk borrower, resulting in higher interest rates.
❌ You May Encounter Difficulty Renting or Leasing: Landlords and leasing companies often check credit history when evaluating rental applications. Not having a credit score could make it harder to rent a property.
❌ You May Be Posed With Limited Opportunities: Some employers, particularly in financial and sensitive industries, may check credit reports as part of the hiring process. Not having a credit history might limit job opportunities.
And now that you have a fair understanding of how your initial credit score is determined, and the upsides and downsides of not having a credit score, let's move on to the next big question- how do you build or maintain a good credit score?
But, before we begin, let's go over credit score ranges
Credit Score Ranges and What They Entail
|Credit Score Range
|What It Entails
|300 - 579
|Individuals in this range may have difficulty obtaining credit or may be offered high interest rates. It indicates a high risk of default. Improving credit habits is essential.
|580 - 669
|While you may qualify for some credit, interest rates are likely to be higher than average. Focus on improving your credit habits to move into a better range.
|670 - 739
|Individuals in this range are considered to be lower risk, and they usually qualify for better interest rates on loans. Continue to manage credit responsibly.
|740 - 799
|This is a strong credit score range, and individuals can typically access the best interest rates and terms. Maintain good credit habits to continue enjoying favorable terms.
|800 - 850
|An excellent credit score signifies a low risk of default. Individuals in this range are likely to be offered the best interest rates and terms available. Continue to manage credit responsibly.
How to Build a Beginning Credit Score, If You Don't Have One
- Get a Secured Credit Card: If you're ready to begin your credit-building journey but need to establish credit, consider getting a secured credit card. Ideally, choose one where you provide a deposit that serves as your credit limit. By responsibly using this card, you can build a positive credit history.
- Apply for Credit-Builder Loan: Another way is to turn to financial institutions that offer credit-builder loans. Yes, as the name suggests, that is mostly their sole purpose, building or improving credit.
- Become an Authorized User: If the above options seem unsuitable, simply ask a family member or friend if they can add you as an authorized user on their credit card account. In plain language, this can help you piggyback on their positive credit history.
How to Maintain a Good Credit Score
Now, assuming you have a credit score and aim to maintain a good credit score, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Pay all your bills on time—every bill, always.
- Don't go overboard with your credit utilization; try to keep it below 30%.
- Apply for credit sparingly to avoid negative impacts on your score.
- Keep older accounts open to prolong the length of your credit history.
- Regularly review your credit scores and analyze your credit reports. You can do this using credit repair apps like CoolCredit.
- Only apply for credit when you really need it to minimize hard inquiries.
- Budgeting is important; it will help ensure you never miss a payment and reduce your reliance on credit.
- Save up rainy day funds to reduce dependence on credit in times of financial distress.
- Keep track of your credit journey using an AI-assisted, DIY Credit Repair App like CoolCredit.
How Can CoolCredit Help?
CoolCredit is an AI-assisted Credit Repair App that helps you rebuild your credit on your own. How? With all the information, resources, and assistance you need.
- Retrieve and review credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
- Easily spot inaccuracies in credit reports affecting credit scores.
- Receive assistance on specific areas for credit improvement.
- Generate evidence-based dispute letters for efficient credit disputes.
- Navigate the credit repair process effortlessly with a user-friendly app.
- Access resources to understand credit factors and informed decision-making.
- Track credit repair progress in real-time.
- Get Expert Assistance if you find yourself in a bind.
While being 'credit invisible' isn't necessarily detrimental, having a good credit score offers numerous advantages. However, when you embark on your credit journey, it's important to note that there's no fixed starting point or 'default' credit score. Instead, your initial credit score is determined by factors such as limited credit history and payment behavior. Further, to build good credit, consider acquiring a secured credit card or a credit-builder loan. To ensure the process isn't overwhelming and is rather smooth, use the ai credit repair- CoolCredit app.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What's a Normal Credit Score?
A: Typically, credit scores range from 300 to 850. And even though a "normal" credit score can vary, according to most scoring models, a score above 670 is considered good, and is perceived as normal.
Q: What Score Does Your Credit Start At?
A: Even though there's no definitive 'beginning credit score', or 'default credit score', the credit score you start with typically ranges from 500 to 700. However, it can start from 300, as that is the lowest possible credit score on the chart. Building credit from this point requires responsible financial behavior over time.
Q: What Is a Good FICO Credit Score?
A: FICO credit scores, one of the most widely used scoring models, categorize scores as follows:
- Poor: 300-579
- Fair: 580-669
- Good: 670-739
- Very Good: 740-799
- Excellent: 800-850
Accordingly, a FICO credit score of 670 or higher is widely regarded as good.
Q: How to Get My Credit Score from 500 to 700?
A: Improving your credit score is a gradual process that requires commitment and strategic actions. Here are a few steps to follow to raise your score from 500 to 700:
- Check your credit report
- Pay bills on time
- Reduce credit card balances
- Establish a positive credit history
- Diversify credit types
- Be patient