Your FICO credit score is a compilation of data about your past and present credit and financial condition. Both positive and negative information combine to make up a FICO score, and it affects whether you can get credit such as mortgages, credit cards and auto loans and the interest rate you'll pay. When lenders pull your score from credit reporting agencies, they'll use it to get an accurate assessment of the credit risk you pose in a lending situation.
Understanding Different FICO Categories
When lenders talk about your credit score, they are generally talking about the FICO score developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation. Five categories of data make up a FICO score: payment history, debt, length of your credit history, newest credit and the types of credit you use. Of these categories, your payment history has the most bearing on your score. The amount of debt you carry ranks second in significance. FICO scores run from 300 to 850, and most people score somewhere in the 600s and 700s. The higher the score, the better you are at managing your finances.
What's a Good Score?
A FICO score above 800 is exceptional, and a score between 740 and 799 is very good. People with scores in these ranges have proven that they are very good at managing credit and reliably paying off debt. When applying for loans or a mortgage, these people generally will qualify for the best interest rates. Scores between 670 and 739 – your score of 672 falls within this range – are known as median credit scores, which means that most people fall into this category. These scores are classified as "good." In other words, lenders do not consider you a high-risk for loans so you shouldn't have too much trouble qualifying for loan products. However, your score is lower than the "very good" benchmark of 740, so it would not meet criteria for the strongest financial management. Generally speaking, you may not qualify for the best interest rates. Scores below 670 are below average to poor and may preclude you from getting conventional types of credit.
Improving Your Credit Score
Taking some simple steps can boost your credit score over time and push you up into the "very good" range. Keep your credit card balances low, pay your bills on time and avoid applying for credit unless you absolute need it. If you have missed a payment or two, get current as quickly as you can. By paying attention to how you manage your finances, you should see upper movement in your credit score.