If you recently checked your credit, you may have found that you have a credit score of 691. When this is the case, you have good credit.
Of course, simply saying that credit is good doesn’t tell you much. Technically speaking, though, a score of 691 means you have “Good” credit. Any score that is over 670 and under 740 on the FICO credit scoring model is considered Good.
While this is certainly a plus, “Good” is only the middle of the five-tiered system, which is broken down as follows:
- Very Poor: 300 to 579.
- Fair: 580 to 669.
- Good: 670 to 739.
- Very Good: 740 to 799.
- Exceptional: 800 to 850.
Make no mistake, a Good score is highly desirable compared to a “Very Poor” or “Fair” mark. However, it is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to good credit. If you can boost your score into the “Very Good” and “Exceptional” ranges, you’ll tap into even greater benefits that come with these elite tiers.
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Why Your Credit Score Is 691
If you’re wondering how you came to have a score of 691, it’s a fair question to ask. Your rating of 691 is calculated through an amalgam of all of your different past financial activities. This makes it impossible to delineate a specific formula, as each person’s score is uniquely their own.
While it’s difficult to see exactly how you got to your current score, it is possible to get a rough idea of what behaviors influenced it the most.
The following are seven of the biggest factors that can raise or lower your credit score — depending on the decisions you make. Consider each one and think of how it might be a positive or negative influence on your credit.
A derogatory mark is one of the easiest ways to lower your score. This takes place when you engage in an activity that a lender considers “high risk.”
This typically involves chronically missing payments and can end in a defaulted account, a claim by a collection agency, a foreclosure, and even bankruptcy. Once there, a derogatory mark can stay on your account for as much as 10 years (although most go away after seven years).
If you get a free annual copy of your credit report, you may find that it contains a hard inquiry. This could also be a factor that is lowering your score.
A hard inquiry simply shows that a lender formally checked your credit report before giving you a loan. While it can harm your score, hard inquiries are common, and the effect should go away within 12 months.
Your payment history makes up a robust 35% of your score. This means your ability to make on-time payments consistently over the long-term is an essential part of good credit.
Credit Utilization Ratio
The amount of your available credit that you’re using at any one given moment is your credit utilization ratio. For example, if you have a credit card with a $5,000 limit and you spend $2,000 with the card, your credit utilization ratio is 40%.
If the ratio on all of your accounts starts to inch up over the 30% mark, it can negatively impact your credit score.
The different kinds of credit that you have are also important. If you only have one kind of credit, such as an auto loan, it limits your score.
However, if you can responsibly manage an auto loan, mortgage, student loans, and credit cards, it will push your score up.
The age of your credit also matters, with older credit always being preferable. The longer your credit track record, the higher your score can go.
This makes it difficult for younger individuals to have higher scores. It also means someone who opens up several new lines of credit rapidly lowers the average age of their overall credit — along with their credit score, as well.
The amount of non-revolving debt you owe can also impact your score. This refers to the kind of debt that you receive in a single lump sum and then pay back over time. Auto loans, student loans, and mortgages are all forms of non-revolving debt.
If you have too much of this kind of debt, it can be a red flag to lenders. Your inability to pay back what you already owe may make them think twice. It can lower your credit score, too.
What Can You Do With a 691 Credit Score?
If your credit score is 691, you are officially part of the good credit club. Even though it isn’t higher, you can already begin to experience some of the benefits that come with good credit, such as:
- Getting approved for an apartment and avoiding hefty security deposits.
- Qualifying for higher credit limits and certain credit card rewards.
- Being approved to take out or refinance a loan.
- Wielding more negotiating power with lenders and getting lower interest rates.
- Landing a job more easily when an employer checks your credit score.
There are many benefits to having good credit. However, at 691 you’ve only just started to tap into the positive aspects of having a higher credit score.
How to Improve a 691 Credit Score
Even at 691, there is still plenty of room for improvement. If you can get your score up over 740 or even 800 — the thresholds for Very Good and Exceptional scores, respectively — you can experience even greater financial advantages. Here are a few suggestions to help you keep your score trending in an upward direction:
- Your credit report: Get a copy of your credit report and review it. Dispute any errors that you find. If there are derogatory marks, fix them and then send a goodwill letter to the lender.
- Your budget: Creating, updating, and sticking to a budget is a foundational behavior of financially healthy individuals.
- Your debt: Continue to use your revolving debt responsibly. Additionally, do your best to pay down as much of your non-revolving debt as possible.
- Your payments: Set up autopay and put reminders in your calendar to make every single payment on time.
You already have good credit, which means you probably don’t need to make any drastic changes to your money habits. However, it’s important that you continue to look for little ways to improve your financial health. If you make enough positive changes, they can add up and boost your score over time.
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