A credit score of 684 is officially considered “Good” according to the FICO credit score model — although just barely.
The Good range stretches from 670 to 739, which puts a score of 684 on the lower end of that spectrum. Below 670, your score enters the “Fair” range, which can be very disadvantageous. It’s important to take steps to build on your fledgling good credit score to push up into the “Very Good” and “Exceptional” ranges of the FICO model.
Below are tips and recommendations to help you better understand your score, see how it can help you financially, and strategize what you can do to build on it in the future.
Table of Contents
Why Your Credit Score Is 684
There are many factors that go into calculating a credit score. Some of the most important of these are:
- Payment history;
- Credit utilization ratio;
- Credit age and mix;
- Total debt;
- Derogatory marks.
Each of these is outlined below. Use each summary to help you better understand how that element has impacted your score either positively or negatively.
Your payment history is the biggest activity that factors into your score. Not surprisingly, this simply consists of your past ability to pay your bills on time.
If you have a perfect payment history it can be a huge boon for your score. If you miss payments consistently, it can drag your score down.
Credit Utilization Ratio
Your credit utilization ratio is the amount of your revolving credit — things like credit cards or a home equity line of credit — that you’re currently using. For instance, if you’ve used $2,000 out of a $10,000 limit on a credit card, that line of credit has a utilization ratio of 20%.
Your credit utilization ratio shows how well you can manage to pay off your revolving credit regularly. If your various lines of credit inch above a ratio of 30%, it can start to negatively impact your credit score.
Credit Age and Mix
The average age of your credit is very important. The older your credit the better. This makes it difficult for younger people to get a higher score. It also means opening a new line of credit can lower your score.
Your credit mix is the various kinds of credit that you have at any given moment. It may include things like auto loans, credit cards, student loans, and a mortgage. The more variety of credit that you responsibly manage, the higher your score.
Your total amount of non-revolving credit — that is single-time loans like auto or student loans — also makes a difference. If you have too much debt, it can lower your score as a signal to lenders to be wary about loaning you even more money.
If you fail to make payments on your various loans and lines of credit, it can lead to a derogatory mark. This shows up on your credit report — which you may get for free once each year — and can be due to:
- Missing a payment;
- Having a delinquent account or a debt settlement;
- A claim by a collection agency;
- A repossession or foreclosure;
- A tax lien or debt-related civil judgment against you;
With a score of 684, you probably don’t have a major item like bankruptcy or a foreclosure on your credit report. Nevertheless, even smaller marks can damage your score and linger for years at a time.
A hard inquiry is another mark that will show up on your report and hurt your score. This happens when a lender checks your credit report to see if you qualify for a loan.
Unlike derogatory marks, hard inquiries are normal and only lower your score for up to a year. As long as you don’t have too many inquiries in a short period, this shouldn’t be a concern.
What Can You Do With a 684 Credit Score?
It’s important to remember that a 684 credit score is still very close to the Fair credit range. Even so, you are still technically in the upper three tiers of the FICO model, which means you have good credit. This can lead to several different financial options that are severely restricted or even non-existent for those with lower scores, such as:
- Having more negotiating power with lenders;
- Getting higher borrowing limits and lower interest rates;
- Making it easier to pass credit checks by a landlord for an apartment or an employer for a job;
- Qualifying for some of the credit card rewards offered by many major credit card companies.
While these are all technically available to you at this point, they may still be limited. To experience the full benefits of good credit, you should continue to work on raising your score toward the Very Good range.
How to Improve a 684 Credit Score
If you want to continue to enjoy the benefits of good credit, you have to take steps to keep your score from vacillating back into the Fair credit range. Additionally, the higher you can get your score, the more pronounced many of the benefits listed above will be.
Here are a few recommendations for different ways that you can begin to inch your score north of the 684 mark:
- Paying down as much of your non-revolving debt as you can;
- Avoiding taking new loans unless you need them;
- Utilizing your revolving debt while also paying it off fully every month;
- Reviewing your credit report for errors or derogatory marks;
- Staying fit and healthy in your daily life;
- Sticking to your budget.
These may not be dramatic activities, but the truth is, you aren’t fixing your credit, you’re improving it. With a score of 684, you’re already in the Good credit range. All you need to do is shore up your ongoing current financial activities.
The goal should be to build on your current financial status by consistently demonstrating a track record as a person who can responsibly handle money.
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