How To Get A 700 Credit Score – And What That Can Do For You
Miranda Crace9-Minute Read
October 08, 2022
A 2021 report from FICO® found that the average credit score among Americans is over 700. This number suggests that people are getting better at managing their bills and credit. Having a credit score at or above 700 can open up a lot of financial opportunities if you’re looking to borrow money or save money on interest, so what’s the secret to getting and maintaining this number?
Let’s break down how to get a 700 credit score, how having this minimum score can help you, and the factors that go into determining your score.
What Is A 700 Credit Score?
The term “credit score” is often used interchangeably with the term “FICO® Score,” which is a three-digit number that’s calculated based on various personal finance factors, such as your credit mix and payment history. You’ll find different types of credit scores out there, but a credit score and FICO® Score are both essentially a credit scoring model that lenders use to assess the creditworthiness of borrowers.
A 700 credit score is a just-above-average score among American consumers.
Is 700 A Good Credit Score?
A 700 credit score is considered a good score. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, with 300 being the lowest and 850 being a perfect score. A 700 credit score is on the higher end of the spectrum and means the potential borrower has good credit and is very creditworthy.
Consumers want a good credit score because good credit usually means a better interest rate. While interest rates vary by lender, every lender offers the most advantageous interest rates to those with better credit. Lenders see borrowers with a higher credit score as lower risk and thus more likely to repay their debt.
What Goes Into Determining A Credit Score?
Before we delve into how to get a credit score of 700 or higher, you should first understand the factors that make up your score. Your credit score is determined by the “big three” credit bureaus: Experian™, TransUnion® and Equifax®. The building blocks of any credit score are pretty much the same.
Let’s take a look at what goes into your personal credit rating.
Payment History (35%)
The largest portion of a credit score is payment history – how often you make on-time payments toward your debts. Lenders want to know if you have a habit of making loan and credit card payments when or before they’re due.
Credit Utilization (30%)
Credit utilization is how much of your available credit you’re using at any given time.
For example, if you have $20,000 in credit between your credit cards and are utilizing $15,000 of your credit limit, this is a credit utilization of 75%.
The general financial best practice is to keep your credit utilization at 30% or below, but recent reports from CNBC recommend keeping utilization at 10% or below for an excellent credit score (750 and above).
Lenders consider credit utilization to determine if you have a healthy relationship with credit – that is, whether you carry balances each month or you’re paying your obligations back in full.
Length Of Credit History (15%)
The longer you’ve been using credit (and keeping lines of credit open), the higher your credit score will likely be. A long credit history shows lenders you’re not new to borrowing and that you have a history of repaying the money you owe.
Credit Mix (10%)
There are different types of credit: revolving debt (like credit cards and lines of credit) and installment loans (like auto loans, student loans and mortgages). Lenders want to see that you have experience with different types of credit and can handle each responsibly.
New Credit (10%)
Applying for a type of credit always triggers an inquiry on your credit report. Soft inquiries won’t affect your credit score, but a hard inquiry will. Lenders like to see only a handful of credit inquiries at a time because lots of inquiries in a set period could indicate financial trouble.
How To Get A 700 Credit Score
You can hit a 700 in multiple ways, but you’ll have to work at improving your credit if your credit score is low and you want a 700 score.
Take the following steps to aim for a credit score of 700 or above.
1. Lower Your Credit Utilization
Since credit utilization makes up the second-largest percentage of your score, your credit score will be higher the less amount of credit you use from the total amount available to you. That means you can lower your utilization by paying off loans and credit card balances or asking your credit card issuer to increase your limit.
2. Limit New Credit Applications
Opening a new credit account frequently will lower the age of your credit history, which will likely hurt your credit score. You can help prevent a significant dip in your score by only opening one new credit account at a time. Spacing out applications should also give your credit score enough time to recover between inquiries.
3. Diversify Your Credit Mix
A nice mix of revolving and installment debt will show you’re capable of managing multiple types of credit accounts. If you only have credit cards, you might consider applying for a personal loan. On the other hand, if you only have installment loans, you might consider applying for a credit card or personal line of credit.
4. Keep Old Credit Cards Open
Credit bureaus want to see a long credit history of managing debt, particularly with low balances. While it may be tempting to cancel your accounts once you consolidate your credit card debt, this can harm your score. Instead, leave the accounts open and avoid using your credit cards for large transactions moving forward.
5. Make On-Time Payments
Paying off debt and paying on time are even more important than your credit mix and opening new lines of credit. Any effort you make to grow your score won’t work if your history contains negative entries, such as late payments, delinquencies, bankruptcies or foreclosures. To make significant improvements to your credit, you’ll need to focus on paying off what you owe in a timely manner.
How Long Does It Take To Get A 700 Credit Score?
The good news is that you can always work to make your credit score higher. The bad news is that it takes some time. For example, if you have more than three hard inquiries, you may want to wait before applying for new credit. This will limit new inquiries on your credit report, or you can wait potentially up to 24 months for an existing inquiry to “roll off.”
To see faster score improvements, you can pay down balances to lower debt-to-income ratio (DTI) and credit utilization rate. This will likely yield an improvement within just a few months.
Use Our Debt-To-Income Calculator To Find Your DTI
What Can You Get With A Credit Score Of 700?
In a broader economic sense, a good credit score means you won’t be turned down for important milestones like getting a mortgage or a job, and you’ll be just fine when a landlord checks your credit to assess whether they should rent an apartment to you.
A 700 score also offers the benefits we’ll describe next.
An excellent credit score opens up various financing options. These include home and auto loans as well as a personal loan if you want to make a large purchase or consolidate debt.
It’s also important to maintain healthy credit since most mortgages have minimum credit score requirements. Consider:
- A conventional loan typically requires a credit score of at least 620.
- An FHA loan requires a minimum credit score of 580.
- A VA loan has no minimum credit score, but lenders do. (Rocket Mortgage® has a minimum credit requirement of 580.)
- A USDA loan requires a minimum credit score of 640.
With a 700 credit score, a borrower will likely have access to any mortgage option they want among those listed above.
A good credit score can also save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime. Let’s use buying a home as an example. Interest rates are set by the Federal Reserve and dictate the price at which banks can borrow money from the government.
The banks then turn around and set the “price” of how much it costs for consumers to borrow money.
For someone who has a “fair” credit score of 650, a $200,000 mortgage at 6.44% will cost $252,346 in interest alone over 30 years.
At today's rates, someone with a 700 credit score may pay 5.62% interest on a $200,000 mortgage and pay just $214,291 over the lifespan of the loan. This means even a 50-point difference in credit score will save someone over $30,000 over 30 years.
This equals a savings of over $1,000 each year, just for having a higher credit score.
More Buying Power
Did you know that good credit and a lower interest rate can increase buying power on a big-ticket item such as a mortgage?
A higher credit score means you’ll get a lower interest rate, which means you can get more house (or car, or whatever you desire) for your hard-earned money.
Let’s use mortgages again as our example since the interest rate on a home mortgage affects the monthly payment. Recent data finds that with each .0125% change in interest rates, your home-buying power can increase or decrease.
Perhaps you only have $1,500 each month to spend on a housing payment. With a $5,000 down payment and 6.25% interest rate, you could afford around $250,000 worth of house in your area.
By shaving off 1 percentage point, a home buyer with $5,000 down and a 5.25% interest rate could buy a home closer to $280,000 and still keep their monthly payment at $1,500.
Now imagine the savings and increased buying power across everything the typical consumer finances in their lifetime: private student loans, personal loans, car loans and more. When put in this context, a 700 credit score gets you a lot.
How Much Can You Borrow With A 700 Credit Score?
An improved credit score doesn’t increase the loan amount you can borrow, since you’ll only be allowed to borrow up to a certain amount of your income.
The biggest indicators of how much a consumer is allowed to borrow are DTI and the amount of the down payment. The larger your down payment, the more you can borrow. Additionally, the lower your debt-to-income or housing-payment-to-income ratio, the more you’ll be able to borrow.
A 700 credit score does dictate how much you’ll pay for debt, meaning you’ll pay less in interest for what you borrow over time. This can account for thousands of dollars in savings over a lifetime.
How Many People Have A 700 Credit Score?
Credit scores fall into ranges that lenders use to determine the interest rate to offer you on items such as mortgages and personal loans. The ranges are as follows.
- Exceptional: 800+
- Very Good: 740 – 799
- Good: 670 – 739
- Fair: 580 – 669
- Poor: 579 and below
The average credit score in America is 716, according to FICO®. Their research also shows that older generations – Generation X, baby boomers and the Silent Generation – all have average credit scores above 700.
While this data may seem to indicate it takes until mid-life to achieve “good credit” status, the average millennial has a credit score of 686, meaning they aren’t far off from a 700 credit score and they can easily achieve a 700 with a few good credit moves.
Most research finds that those with a 760 score and above receive the best rates, so the interest-rate savings above a 760 are minimal. If you’re just starting to build credit or your credit profile is a bit shaky, 700 is the best major credit score milestone to strive for, but it still leaves room for more improvement in the future.
Since time is often required for factors of a credit score (length of credit history, history of on-time payments, waiting for inquiries to roll off the report, etc.), 700 is a great starting point and often the gateway to an even higher credit score if you’re willing to be patient.
While waiting for your score to improve, a baseline 700 score will ensure access to more types of credit and a lower rate than a credit score in the 600 – 699 range.
A credit score of 700 or above can open a lot of financial doors for you and make you extremely creditworthy in the eyes of lenders. A credit score of this strength can qualify you for a lower interest rate and a number of home loan options, so getting and maintaining a 700 score can pay off in numerous ways. Understanding how your score is determined will make it easier for you to maintain a good or excellent score.
Want to see what personal loan rates your credit score can get you? Get prequalified today with Rocket Loans℠.
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