What Is a Fair Credit Score?

Quick Answer

A fair credit score is generally a FICO Score of 580 to 669. While this is considered a low credit score, you can take steps to improve your score.

Young man sitting on the stairs using his credit card and checking his credit score on his mobile phone

A fair credit score is generally considered to be a FICO® Score of 580 to 669 or a VantageScore® score of 601 to 660. Credit scores often range from 300 to 850, which puts a fair score in the middle of the scoring range. However, the average FICO® Score was 714 in 2022, according to Experian. If you have a fair score, you may qualify for many financial products, but you likely won't receive the best rates and terms.

What Is a Fair Credit Score?

Fair credit scores are scores that fall within a certain range—580 to 669 for FICO® Scores and 601 to 660 for VantageScore credit scores. The fair range is above poor credit but below good credit, and it aligns with the subprime score range.

You may have many credit scores, and those scores will depend on the scoring model and which of your three credit reports it analyzes. Although your scores will generally be different, you may find they tend to be within similar score ranges or categories.

Here's a closer look at what the different scoring categories mean:

FICO® Score Ranges and Ratings
Credit Score Rating Impact
300-579 Poor Credit applicants may be required to pay a fee or deposit, and applicants with this rating may not be approved for credit at all
580-669 Fair Applicants with scores in this range are considered to be subprime borrowers, meaning their credit standing is less than what is normally desired
670-739 Good You may qualify for many financial products, but you could have to pay additional fees and receive average interest rates
740-799 Very Good Applicants with scores here are likely to receive better than average rates from lenders
800-850 Exceptional Applicants with scores in this range are at the top of the list for the best rates from lenders

A higher score means that someone is less likely to fall behind on one of their bills than a person who has a lower score. That's why a higher score is better and can help you qualify for more favorable rates and terms.

If you want to take a closer look at the relationship between score ranges and risk, you can use the interactive VantageScore RiskRatio tool. It's intended for lenders rather than consumers, but you can clearly see how a higher score corresponds with a lower chance that someone will become 90-plus days past due on a bill—the specific risk that credit scores measure.

Is It OK to Have a Fair Credit Score?

As the name implies, a fair credit score is OK—but not great. If you have a fair score, lenders may consider you to be a subprime borrower and charge you more upfront fees and higher interest rates. You might even have trouble getting approved for certain financial products.

You're not alone: 28.7% of people had a subprime score in 2022, according to Experian data. Improving your credit scores can take time, but it's best to start as soon as possible because having a high credit score can help you:

  • Qualify for more loans and credit cards. Creditors may have required a minimum credit score for certain products. For example, you might need a higher credit score to get the best rewards cards or certain types of mortgages.
  • Get lower interest rates and higher credit limits. Your credit score can affect your interest rate and credit limit (or loan amount) on loans, credit lines and credit cards. A higher score can help you qualify for the best possible offers.
  • Pay lower (or no) upfront fees. Many personal loans have an origination fee that's a percentage of the loan amount. You might receive a lower fee—or qualify for a loan without a fee—if you have a higher credit score. Similarly, you might need a better credit score if you want to qualify for a mortgage with a low down payment.
  • Have more rental opportunities. Landlords and property managers may also require a minimum credit score. Or you might have to pay a larger security deposit if you have a fair credit score.

What Affects My Credit Score?

Credit scores depend on the information in one of your credit reports, and different things can either help or hurt your score. Generally, credit scoring factors are put into five groups:

  • Your payment history: This notes whether you've made your payments on time, missed payments, had accounts sent to collections or filed for bankruptcy. These can all have a major effect on your credit scores, and this is often the most important category.
  • How you're using credit: Your current credit usage is also an important factor. The remaining debt compared to the original balance on your loans can affect your scores, and your credit utilization ratio—which compares balances and credit limits on revolving accounts such as credit cards—is also an important factor.
  • Your experience with different types of credit: If you have a mix of revolving and installment credit accounts, such as a credit card and a loan, that can help your credit scores.
  • How long you've used credit: A long history of credit usage, measured by the age of the accounts in your credit report, can also help your credit scores.
  • Recent new credit activity: New credit applications might hurt your scores a little, but it's generally a temporary setback if you can make on-time payments and keep your credit card balances low once you open an account.

These five categories can help you remember what affects your credit scores, but there are also multiple specific factors within each category. For example, the average age of your credit accounts, the age of your oldest account and the age of your most recently opened account can all be factors within the age-related category.

How to Improve a Fair Credit Score

If you have fair credit, you may be new to credit or have negative marks in your credit history that are hurting your credit scores, such as late payments or charge-offs. Although you can't remove accurate negative information from your credit report, its impact will usually diminish over time.

You can also look for ways to improve your credit score while you wait:

  • Pay all your bills on time. A long track record of on-time credit card and loan payments can help your payment history. Don't miss other payments, either, as past-due accounts could be sent to collections and hurt your credit.
  • Open credit-builder accounts. If you don't have any open and current credit accounts—or if you only have a couple of accounts—you might want to open a new credit card or a credit-builder loan.
  • Boost your credit. Use Experian Boost®ø to add on-time payments for utility, phone, streaming service and rent payments to improve your credit without opening a new account.
  • Pay down credit card balances. Particularly if you're carrying a large balance relative to your card's credit limit, paying down the balance (which will lower your utilization ratio) might quickly help your scores.
  • Review your credit report for errors. Closely review the information in your credit reports. If you spot inaccuracies, you should contact the lender reporting the information, and you have the right to dispute the items on your credit report.

Everyone's credit is different, but these actions can help most people improve their credit scores over time.

Monitor Your Progress for Free

Check your FICO® Score for free with Experian, and then use your Experian account to continually monitor your credit report and FICO® Score. You can also review the specific factors that are helping or hurting your credit score and create a plan for improving your score. As you build your credit, use Experian CreditMatch™ to find out if you're matched with any credit cards or loans based on your credit profile.

How Good Is Your Credit Score?

300 credit score301 credit score302 credit score303 credit score304 credit score305 credit score306 credit score307 credit score308 credit score309 credit score310 credit score311 credit score312 credit score313 credit score314 credit score315 credit score316 credit score317 credit score318 credit score319 credit score320 credit score321 credit score322 credit score323 credit score324 credit score325 credit score326 credit score327 credit score328 credit score329 credit score330 credit score331 credit score332 credit score333 credit score334 credit score335 credit score336 credit score337 credit score338 credit score339 credit score340 credit score341 credit score342 credit score343 credit score344 credit score345 credit score346 credit score347 credit score348 credit score349 credit score350 credit score351 credit score352 credit score353 credit score354 credit score355 credit score356 credit score357 credit score358 credit score359 credit score360 credit score361 credit score362 credit score363 credit score364 credit score365 credit score366 credit score367 credit score368 credit score369 credit score370 credit score371 credit score372 credit score373 credit score374 credit score375 credit score376 credit score377 credit score378 credit score379 credit score380 credit score381 credit score382 credit score383 credit score384 credit score385 credit score386 credit score387 credit score388 credit score389 credit score390 credit score391 credit score392 credit score393 credit score394 credit score395 credit score396 credit score397 credit score398 credit score399 credit score400 credit score401 credit score402 credit score403 credit score404 credit score405 credit score406 credit score407 credit score408 credit score409 credit score410 credit score411 credit score412 credit score413 credit score414 credit score415 credit score416 credit score417 credit score418 credit score419 credit score420 credit score421 credit score422 credit score423 credit score424 credit score425 credit score426 credit score427 credit score428 credit score429 credit score430 credit score431 credit score432 credit score433 credit score434 credit score435 credit score436 credit score437 credit score438 credit score439 credit score440 credit score441 credit score442 credit score443 credit score444 credit score445 credit score446 credit score447 credit score448 credit score449 credit score450 credit score451 credit score452 credit score453 credit score454 credit score455 credit score456 credit score457 credit score458 credit score459 credit score460 credit score461 credit score462 credit score463 credit score464 credit score465 credit score466 credit score467 credit score468 credit score469 credit score470 credit score471 credit score472 credit score473 credit score474 credit score475 credit score476 credit score477 credit score478 credit score479 credit score480 credit score481 credit score482 credit score483 credit score484 credit score485 credit score486 credit score487 credit score488 credit score489 credit score490 credit score491 credit score492 credit score493 credit score494 credit score495 credit score496 credit score497 credit score498 credit score499 credit score500 credit score501 credit score502 credit score503 credit score504 credit score505 credit score506 credit score507 credit score508 credit score509 credit score510 credit score511 credit score512 credit score513 credit score514 credit score515 credit score516 credit score517 credit score518 credit score519 credit score520 credit score521 credit score522 credit score523 credit score524 credit score525 credit score526 credit score527 credit score528 credit score529 credit score530 credit score531 credit score532 credit score533 credit score534 credit score535 credit score536 credit score537 credit score538 credit score539 credit score540 credit score541 credit score542 credit score543 credit score544 credit score545 credit score546 credit score547 credit score548 credit score549 credit score550 credit score551 credit score552 credit score553 credit score554 credit score555 credit score556 credit score557 credit score558 credit score559 credit score560 credit score561 credit score562 credit score563 credit score564 credit score565 credit score566 credit score567 credit score568 credit score569 credit score570 credit score571 credit score572 credit score573 credit score574 credit score575 credit score576 credit score577 credit score578 credit score579 credit score