If you’ve checked your credit score lately and seen that it’s at 685, you may be wondering how good your score is. After all, that’s much higher than 300, the lowest score. At the same time, it’s significantly below 850, the best score.
In this case, a score of 685 means you have good credit. Literally, according to the FICO credit score model, you fall solidly within the “good credit” range, as seen below:
- Very Poor: 300 to 579.
- Fair: 580 to 669.
- Good: 670 to 739.
- Very Good: 740 to 799.
- Exceptional: 800 to 850.
While this is a great place to be, you’re still on the lower end of the good credit range. In addition, you don’t have a Very Good or Exceptional score yet.
Fortunately, a credit score of 685 is a very healthy starting point to work toward improving your score. You likely don’t need to make any drastic changes to straight-up repair your credit, as is often the case with a poor or Fair score.
Nevertheless, it’s important to break down what possible factors are holding you back from the higher ranges. From there, you can strategize how you can get your score even higher to tap into the benefits of even better credit.
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Why Your Credit Score Is 685
Before you start making adjustments to your financial behavior, it’s important to break down why your score is currently at 685. This is important. If you make the wrong decision or tweak your spending, borrowing, or saving behaviors in the wrong way, you could end up damaging your score.
No credit score is the same, and there isn’t a perfect formula to understand how your score got to the place that it is. In its essence, your score is a numerical representation of hundreds and thousands of individual financial decisions unique to your particular life.
Despite this individuality, there are several factors that, broadly speaking, tend to impact credit scores the most. Review the list below one at a time and consider if each one has helped or hindered your credit journey so far.
Your Payment History
The most important factor of your credit score is your payment history. This single item accounts for a whopping 35% of your entire score. Your ability to make payments consistently, in full, and on time is a crucial factor in maintaining a high credit score.
Your Credit Utilization Ratio
Your credit utilization ratio is another factor that can impact your credit score. This is the total amount of money that you’ve borrowed divided by the total amount of credit that you have available.
So, if you borrow $1,000 against $10,000 of total available credit, you have a 10% credit utilization ratio. If your ratio gets to be over 30%, you begin to appear to lenders as a risky investment, dragging your score down in the process.
The Age and Variety of Your Credit
The quality of your credit makes a big difference as well. This is primarily represented by two things: age and diversity.
The age of your credit is important. You can’t even get a credit score until three to six months after opening your first lending account. After that, the older your average credit, the better your score.
In addition, the variety of your credit matters. If you only have one line of credit, it gives lenders less insight into your financial habits. Instead, showing that you can manage credit cards, auto loans, student loans, and a mortgage at the same time naturally boosts your score.
The Quantity of Your Debt
The total amount of debt you owe is another factor that is often taken into consideration. If you have very large quantities of debt, it can be a red flag to lenders if you come to them looking to borrow even more money.
Derogatory Marks and Hard Inquiries
Finally, a derogatory mark can hurt your credit score. This may include but is not limited to:
- Having an item repossessed by a lender.
- Going through a home foreclosure.
- Missing a payment.
- Declaring bankruptcy.
- Having a collection agency make a claim against you.
- Defaulting on a loan.
If you have a derogatory mark, it can remain on your credit report for seven to 10 years.
In addition, a hard inquiry takes place when a lender officially checks your credit before giving you a loan. While not a derogatory mark, hard inquiries can also impact your score. They typically remain for up to two years, but should only negatively impact your score for half that time.
What Can You Do With a 685 Credit Score?
While it may not be Very Good or Exceptional, 685 is still a solid and respectable credit score. It lands you well into the good credit score range, which opens up the door to a variety of different financial activities:
- You can get an auto loan: A good credit score allows you to successfully apply for a car loan. However, keep in mind that with a score this low, you may not be able to get a very good interest rate. Make sure to shop around before committing to a lender.
- You can borrow money for housing: It’s much easier to get a mortgage with a good credit score. Once again, though, you will likely have to pay a higher rate of interest if you cannot get a higher score before signing on the dotted line.
- You can get approved for an apartment: Landlords often do a credit check before approving a new tenant. A good credit score shows that you’re responsible and able to handle things like paying rent on time.
- You can open up a credit card: Many of the bigger credit card lenders will easily approve someone with a good credit score. However, they may limit your borrowing amount. In addition, you may not qualify for certain perks reserved for better scores.
While all of these become possible with a 685 credit score, the truth is, many of them will be severely limited or come with stipulations. If you want to gain access to things like lower interest rates and better credit card rewards, you want to make a plan to boost your score in the future.
How to Improve a 685 Credit Score
If you’re interested in improving a score that is already decent, such as a 685 score, you should focus on a few different activities:
- Your payment history: If you ever miss payments, even occasionally, make sure to stop doing so. Perfect your payment history.
- Manage your credit: Make sure that you have multiple lines of credit. Then use your revolving credit responsibly and often while paying down your non-revolving credit as quickly as possible.
- Check your credit report: You can get a free credit report once each year. If you see any errors in your report, dispute them. If you have derogatory marks, fix the issue and then send a forgiveness letter to the lender.
Chances are, with a score of 685, you won’t have any glaring financial activity that will need to be repaired. However, if you do notice your credit score suddenly dropping, you may want to contact a credit repair company to help you fix your score.
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