How Good Is a Credit Score of 690?

FT Contributor

According to credit reporting agency Experian, a 690 credit score officially ranks as “Good.”

While you’ve eclipsed “Very Poor” and “Fair” rankings, achieving future “Very Good” and “Exceptional/Excellent” scores will help make it even easier to secure additional financial benefits. These may include lower loan interest rates, more affordable insurance premiums, and minimal fees on financial products.

The result of factors like credit age and type, total debt and payment history, your credit score provides the foundation for future financial decisions. Accounts showing signs of a Good credit score can help borrowers unlock additional lines of credit, together with personal and property loans, apartment rentals, and low car insurance premiums. Just as easily, poor credit scores serve as major roadblock toward obtaining even basic loans from reputable lenders.

Once you understand the source of your credit score of 690 — where it came from, and the major contributing factors to your current ranking — you can take simple, concrete steps to further improve your score toward achieving Very Good and Exceptional/Excellent credit standings.

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Why Your Credit Score Is 690

While it’s impossible to identify the exact factors that are contributing to your credit score, common influences on a credit score of 690 include credit age, payment history, and credit activity.

Current Age of Credit

With a credit score like 690, your credit age is sufficient to improve your ranking. Overall credit age — one of the fundamental factors which influences your overall credit score — takes into account not only the age of each active credit line, but also the average age of your credit altogether.

After a few successive months of active credit lines and complete, on-time payments, your credit age will become more of a benefit to your overall credit score, and entirely less of a hindrance.

If you find credit age is negatively impacting your overall credit score, be patient. Time is the biggest factor in your favor when it comes to the impact credit age has on your credit ranking.

As months pass and lenders recognize your commitment to repaying balances from open accounts, credit age begins to yield a more positive credit score across the board.

Complete Payment History

Assessing complete payment history in terms of how it is impacting your credit score means going back to the very beginning of your active credit.

Even if you’ve made successful, on-time payments for each of the last three to four payment periods, incomplete, late or missing payments from months, or even years ago, can hinder your credit score from advancing past a Good ranking.

A surprisingly high percentage of individuals with Good credit scores are still negatively affected by late or incomplete payments toward their open balances.

Given that your payment history accounts for 35% of your total credit score, easily ranking as the top influential factor in making or breaking your credit, it’s in your best interest to make complete payments whenever possible.

Don’t wait until the payment deadline looms; reserve healthy percentages of your regular income specifically for paying off debts or open loans, to improve your credit score through complete payments and a reduction of overall credit utilization.

New Credit Activity

Though the effect is typically only short term, opening new lines of credit can have temporarily negative consequences on your overall credit score. But more importantly, lenders perform a hard inquiry, sometimes called a “hard pull,” every time you are considered for a new line of credit.

Essentially a check to gauge your creditworthiness, a hard inquiry remains on your financial record for a year and indicates your total number of credit checks to all potential lenders.

While one or two hard inquiries are fairly common during the course of the calendar year, anything more is a red flag for lenders and a detriment to your credit score of 690.

Therefore, limiting new credit activity can both help you preserve your credit score of 690 in the short term, and help you guard against excessive hard inquiries that may indicate irresponsible borrowing behavior to lenders.

What Can You Do With a 690 Credit Score?

With a Good credit score of 690, your ranking serves as more of an opportunity and less of an obstacle when it comes to pursuing financial opportunities that rely on credit. From the best rewards-based credit cards to mortgage and personal loans, you’ll need a solid credit score to streamline applications and avoid lofty premiums and high annual fees.

Consult the below details for more on everything your credit score of 690 can do for you, as well as information on further benefits achieved through Very Good and Exceptional/Excellent credit scores.

  • Personal loans can help you finance a range of projects, everything from emergency debts and medical bills to your dream wedding.
    • While your credit score of 690 won’t likely unlock the top interest rates on the market, it’ll be more than enough to secure you a personal loan worth accepting from a trusted lender.
  • Apartment rentals should be a cinch to secure with your Good credit score.
    • Especially since many apartment complexes understand that a majority of renters may have lower credit scores not yet positively influenced by recurring mortgage payments, you should have no trouble finding an apartment.
  • Rewards-based credit cards make it even more fun to make necessary, everyday purchases. And with a 690 credit score, you’re likely in line to obtain one.
    • While you can enjoy money-saving credit cards from your favorite stores, you’ll need further credit score increases to land a credit card that offers benefits like hotel and restaurant points, airline miles, and cash-back options.
  • Mortgage loans are entirely possible to obtain with a 690 credit score.
    • While you won’t have a problem securing a mortgage that can put you into the home of your dreams, you likely won’t earn one of the industry’s lowest interest rates.
    • Very Good and Exceptional/Excellent credit scores are often necessary for those coveted, bottom-barrel rates.

A credit score of 690 can help you secure new loans and new lines of credit. Further improvements to this score can mean even lower interest rates, and access to the best rewards-based credit cards available to consumers.

How to Improve a 690 Credit Score

With a credit score of 690, you’re well on your way toward credit that unlocks a full range of financial benefits. The first step in further improving your credit score is simply doubling down on what’s working.

Keep making full, regular payments against your statements to minimize overall debt and credit utilization. Prioritize any payments owed to collections agencies, or payments characterized by especially high interest rates or pending due dates.

Further improving your 690 credit score toward a Very Good score could also mean adopting stricter spending habits. If you find yourself scraping together the necessary funding to repay debts, consider examining recent purchases on a case-by-case basis.

What percentage of your income is spent on discretionary or leisurely purchases? Cutting down on unnecessary spending doesn’t just put more money in your pocket; it also allows you to dedicate a fuller percentage of your regular wages toward erasing debts and improving your credit score up over 700.

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