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*Credit score calculated based on FICO® Score 8 model. Your lender or insurer may use a different FICO® Score than FICO® Score 8, or another type of credit score altogether. Learn more

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Why get your free credit score with Experian?

Lenders like FICO® Scores

90% of top lenders use FICO® Scores.

See the same type of information lenders see when requesting your credit.

Credit score factors

View specific factors that are impacting your FICO® Score.

See the factors influencing your FICO® Score, including payment history, amount of debt, credit history length, amount of new credit and credit mix.

Credit score tracking

FICO® Score tracking powered by Experian data.

With an interactive FICO® Score tracker, you can visualize your progress over time and receive customized alerts when your score or rating changes.

Boost your credit scores

Raise your FICO® Score instantly for free with Experian BoostTM.

Get credit for your eligible phone, utility and streaming service bills by adding positive payments to your Experian credit file.

Results may vary. Some may not see improved scores or approval odds. Not all lenders use Experian credit files, and not all lenders use scores impacted by Experian BoostTM.

What can you do with your credit scores?

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Save money on interest rates

When taking out a large loan, even a small difference in interest rates can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Borrowers with higher credit scores will find it easier to secure the lowest interest rates.

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Access personalized credit cards

Get credit card offers based on your unique credit and see if you're matched before you apply. From rewards cards to balance transfer cards and more, Experian can help find the right card for you.

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Receive better insurance rates

Insurance companies often consider your credit history or use a credit-based insurance score as one of many factors to determine your rates. Some states strictly limit or entirely prohibit insurance companies' use of credit information.

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Get a loan

With a higher credit score, you could qualify for better loan products with better terms and higher loan amounts. Experian can help you find loans based on your FICO® Score.

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3-bureau FICO® Scores
See how each credit report impacts your FICO® Scores.

Compare all 3-bureau credit reports and FICO® Scores, and see what different factors and data provided by creditors are impacting each of your credit scores.

Additional FICO® Scores
Did you know that you have more than one FICO® Score?

The FICO® Score 8 is widely used by lenders, but with Experian's paid membership you'll get access to your credit card, auto and mortgage scores.

FICO® Score Planner
Get help meeting your FICO® Score goals.

Hit your credit score goals with a 3-, 6-, 9- or 12-month plan specifically tailored for you.

FICO® Score Simulator
See how different scenarios may affect your FICO® Score

Use the score simulator to see how actions such as applying for a new credit card, missing a payment or closing a credit card could impact your credit score.

Credit score FAQs

What credit score do you get from Experian?

With Experian, you can get your FICO® Score, used by 90% of top lenders.

Does checking your credit score lower it?

Checking your credit score is considered a soft inquiry and will not lower your credit scores.

How often is a credit score updated?

With every new update from a creditor to your credit report, there can be a potential change to your credit scores.

How often should you check your credit score?

You can check it any time, but it's especially important before you make a major purchase or apply for a loan or credit card.

Can Experian BoostTM help your credit score?

Experian Boost could improve your credit scores by using eligible bills, including phone, utility and streaming services.

How can you establish credit if you have no prior credit history?

If you're just starting out, Experian can help you establish and get access to credit with Experian Go.

Credit score education & advice

  • A credit report is a record of your history managing your credit and debt. It includes how and when you paid your bills, how much debt you have and how long you've managed your credit accounts. Credit reports contain your positive information, such as on-time payments and accounts in good standing. They also show negative items, such as collections, bankruptcies and foreclosures.

    A credit score is a three-digit number, often ranging from 300 to 850, that lenders use to evaluate your ability to repay any money you borrow. Credit scores are commonly based on information in your credit report, including your payment history, amounts owed, credit history length, credit mix and new credit. A credit score can also provide the model used (e.g., FICO®), the version number (e.g., 8.0), and the credit report data used (e.g., Experian). Scores can also include a risk factor range, from Poor to Exceptional, along with the score factors that are positively and negatively impacting your score.

    Credit report vs. credit score
    What is it?
    A detailed record and history of your credit management
    Who creates it?
    Experian®, Equifax® and TransUnion®
    How can I see it?
    From AnnualCreditReport.com and direct from Experian for free
    What type of information is included?
    Your credit report includes:
    • Personal information: Your name with any variations, current and past addresses, phone numbers, Social Security number, possibly current and past employers, and names from joint accounts
    • Accounts: All your open and closed accounts
    • Public records: Chapter 7 bankruptcies within the past 10 years; Chapter 13 bankruptcies within the past seven years
    • Inquiries: Any companies that have asked to view your credit report
    What is it?
    A numerical value, often ranging from 300 to 850, that estimates your creditworthiness
    Who creates it?
    FICO® and VantageScore®
    How can I see it?
    VantageScore® for $7.95 FICO® Score for free direct from Experian
    What type of information is included?
    Your credit score can include:
    • Your score, often ranging from 300 to 850
    • The model, the version and which bureau data was used
    • Your score range, from Poor to Exceptional
    • Score factors that impact your credit
    Why is a credit score important?

    A credit score is important because it can affect your finances and ability to achieve your goals, such as owning a home and buying a car. With a higher credit score, you're showing lenders that you're a responsible borrower who can manage your finances well. While creditors look at many factors, showing good credit management can open doors to new opportunities, including offers for new services or products that could benefit you.

  • Your credit score is determined by a scoring model that analyzes your credit report and then assigns you a score. This score usually ranges from 300 to 850. FICO® and VantageScore® are the two main credit scoring models, and they use different factors when calculating your credit score.

    FICO® Score factors
    35%: your payment history, including positive history and late payments
    30%: total amount of debt you owe
    15%: length of your credit history
    10%: your credit mix or the types of credit you have
    10%: the amount of new credit you have
    VantageScore® factors
    Extremely influential: total credit usage, balance and available credit
    Highly influential: credit mix and experience
    Moderately influential: payment history
    Less influential: age of credit history
    Less influential: new accounts opened
  • Generally, a credit score of 670 or higher is considered a good credit score. A score higher than 800 is considered exceptional. The average credit score in 2020 in the United States was 710, with 67% of Americans having a good FICO® Score or better. Understanding your own credit score is the first step in maintaining and even improving your credit score. Experian can help you keep up to date with the changes that occur and show you what has changed, along with tips to guide you on the path to better credit.

    Score Rating
    Score range
    Exceptional 800-850
    Very good 740-799
    Good 670-739
    Fair 580-669
    Poor 300-579
    Why do you need a good credit score?

    Whether you are starting out with credit or retired, having a good credit score gives you access to more credit options and better control of your finances with better rates and terms. In the U.S., many consumers use credit:

    90% have a credit card
    62% have an auto loan
    44% have a mortgage
    22% have a personal loan
    14% have a student loan
    12% have a home equity line of credit (HELOC)

    Credit is important at every stage in life, from getting your first apartment and buying your first car to refinancing your home and qualifying for a travel rewards card. Creditors will look at your entire financial profile, including your credit score, to determine your qualification and your rates or terms.

  • There are several different ways you can start to increase your credit score. Each credit situation will differ by individual, which is why we recommend using our FICO® Score Planner. But in general you can begin to improve your credit score by:

    • Paying all of your bills on time:
      As payment history is the biggest factor in your FICO® Score, this will help move the needle the most. If you've been on time with your payments up until now, great. If not, start making sure that you're paying all your bills on time–late or missed payments can stay on your credit report for 7 years. Over time, a late payment will decrease in impact, but several missed payments in a row or late payments on multiple accounts can hurt your credit.
    • Catching up on past-due accounts:
      Even if you missed a payment before, getting all your accounts up to date can help improve your credit score. This will also prevent more late payments from being added to your credit history. Qualifying for new credit with a late payment on your credit report will depend on the lender and how much time has passed since your late payment. Some lenders might approve you sooner, but interest rates and terms may not be as favorable as they'd be for someone with exceptional credit.
    • Paying down your current accounts:
      Even if you aren't late or missing payments, paying down more of your account balances will decrease your credit utilization, which could improve your credit scores. In general, under 30% credit utilization is recommended, but under 10% indicates optimal credit management and can help your credit scores.
    • Limiting how often you apply for new credit:
      Applying for new credit can lead to a hard inquiry, which could temporarily decrease your credit scores. One or two hard inquiries during the normal course of applying for a loan can have an almost negligible effect on your credit scores, but many hard inquiries outside of rate shopping could indicate a higher credit risk.
    • Adding bills you're already paying:
      With Experian Boost™, you can add on-time payments from your utility, cell phone and streaming service bills to help increase your credit score. 60% of Americans have seen their FICO® Score increase by an average of 12 points.
    How can you improve your credit score if you have bad credit?

    If you have bad credit, you should first check your free credit report and score to find what factors are affecting it the most. This will show you where you can make the biggest improvements to a bad credit score. You'll be able to see the factors that are both helping and hurting your credit.

    If you have excellent credit, what can you do to maintain it?

    If you already have excellent credit, you can maintain your credit score by continuing to pay all of your bills on time, maintaining a credit utilization below 10%, keeping your oldest accounts open and only applying for new credit when needed.

  • No one likes to see their credit scores drop. But understanding the factors that affect your credit could help you get back on track. Credit scores continually change as your creditors provide information to your credit file. Small drops in your credit scores shouldn't cause any alarm, but if you see a significant decrease to your credit scores it could be for one of the following reasons:

    • Late or missing payments:
      Your payment history is the biggest factor in your FICO® Score. A single late payment will impact your scores, but over time, its impact on your credit will decline. Multiple missed payments can significantly damage your credit, and contacting your lender before that happens could help your situation. Managing your debt properly will only benefit your credit scores. In fact, most consumers who have the highest credit scores and pay their bills on time have the highest average amount of debt.
    • Credit utilization increased:
      By using more of your credit you'll increase your credit utilization ratio, which is the second most important factor in calculating your FICO® Score. To calculate your credit utilization, add up the total debt or balances on all your credit cards, then add up the credit limits on all your cards and divide the total balance by the total credit limit. You can then multiply this number by 100 to see your credit utilization percentage. For example, if you have a $200 credit balance and your credit limit is $500, you would divide $200 by $500 and multiply that by 100 to total 40% credit utilization.
    • Closed a credit card:
      Closing a credit card will reduce your available credit, which can increase your credit utilization ratio and cause your score to decrease. Another way that closing a credit card can impact your credit score is by reducing the length of your credit history. A closed account in good standing will remain on your credit report for 10 years and will continue to benefit your credit score. Closing your credit card may initially drop your scores—but it'll be temporary, and your scores will rebound as you continue healthy credit habits.

    With the FICO® Score Simulator you can view the impact to your credit score if you miss a payment, close an account or increase your credit usage. Additionally, our "See What's Changed" feature makes it easy to spot new information in your credit report. You'll be able to quickly see changes in your total debt levels, modifications to accounts, the opening or closing of new loans and/or credit card accounts, new inquiries or credit checks in regard to applications for new loans or credit. These report changes will also include annotations so you can quickly see if they're helping or hurting your FICO® Score.

    How much does a credit check affect your scores?

    When a company checks your credit report when you apply for new credit, such as a credit card or a loan, the process is called a "hard inquiry." This credit check remains on your credit for 2 years but has a short-term impact. After a few months, the impact to your credit scores should start to decrease. If you have multiple credit checks, outside of rate shopping, the impact to your credit scores could be greater.

  • Credit scores do not start out at the lowest number (e.g., 350) or at the highest (e.g., 850)—or even at zero. Everyone starts out with no credit score at all. A credit score can only be calculated if there's an account on your credit report with recent credit activity.

    Why don't you have a credit score?

    A FICO® Score will develop after you have at least one account open and recorded on your credit file for 6 months. A VantageScore® could generate a score more quickly, as long as your credit report shows at least one account. If there are credit accounts on a credit report that haven't been active in the last 6 months, it may also take several months of activity to calculate credit scores.

  • It's common for your credit score to be different across the three bureaus. This can happen for many reasons. One reason is that while many companies often report to all three credit bureaus, some may only provide information to one or two, causing differences in the credit information between the bureaus. Another reason your scores can be different is because the creditor will likely pull one of your credit reports and not all three when you apply for new credit, causing a difference in the number of hard inquiries made on your credit.

  • What credit score do you need to buy a house?

    The credit score you need to buy a house depends on the type of mortgage loan and who the lender is. There are different types of mortgages and each has its own minimum credit score requirement. Conventional loans typically require a minimum score of 620, with some requiring 600 or higher. Jumbo loans require scores of 700 or higher because of greater risks involved with larger loan amounts. FHA and USDA loans have lower score minimums of 500 or 580, respectively. When applying for a mortgage, it's especially important to work on your credit well ahead of buying a home. The better your credit score, the better the rates and terms will be for you, which mean you could save a good amount of your hard-earned money.

    What credit score do you need to buy a car?

    There are no industry standards that dictate what credit score a lender should use or what minimum score is needed to buy a car. The most important thing to focus on is to plan for your purchase and make sure your credit score is where you'd like it to be. In 2020, consumers with bad credit paid an average interest rate of 13.97%. That would mean a $30,000 loan with a 60-month term would cost around $11,700 in total interest. On the other hand, consumers with excellent credit pay an average of 3.24%. For the same $30,000 loan and 60-month term, consumers would pay around $2,500 in total interest. That's a difference of $9,200. To see how much total interest you could pay, try calculating your car payment.

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Free Credit Score

Get your FICO® Score* for free and see how you might look to a lender.

No credit card required

Get your FICO® Score for free

*Credit score calculated based on FICO® Score 8 model. Your lender or insurer may use a different FICO® Score than FICO® Score 8, or another type of credit score altogether. Learn more

Why check your Credit Score with Experian?

Credit Score factors

View the specific score factors that are impacting your FICO® Score.

Your credit score is calculated from the information found in your credit report. See the factors influencing your FICO® Score, including payment history, amount of debt, credit history length, amount of new credit, and credit mix.

Credit Score tracking

FICO® Score tracking powered by Experian data.

With an interactive FICO® Score tracker, you can visualize your progress over time and receive customized alerts when your score or rating change.

Boost your Credit Scores

Raise your FICO® Score instantly for free with Experian Boost

Get credit for your phone and utility bills by adding positive payments to your Experian credit file. Other services such as credit repair may cost you thousands of dollars and only help remove inaccuracies from your credit report.

Credit cards matched for you

See personalized credit card and loan offers based on your credit score with CreditMatch.

Use CreditMatch to compare credit card rates, rewards, fees, and other details to find the right card right for you.

Results may vary. Some may not see improved scores or approval odds. Not all lenders use Experian credit files, and not all lenders use scores impacted by Experian BoostTM.

Credit Advice

What is a Credit Score?

A credit score is a number generated by an algorithm using the information in your credit report and is usually updated each month. Lenders and other service providers use credit scores to indicate your creditworthiness and how likely you are to repay a loan on time.

What is a good Credit Score?

There are multiple credit scoring models which means that a good credit score can be different depending on the scoring model being used. Credit scores can range between 300 and 850. A good credit score generally starts at 700, and a score of 800 or above is considered excellent.

One of the most well-known credit scores is the FICO® Scores. A good FICO® Score starts at 670. The higher your credit score is, the better your chances are to be approved for a loan with better rates.

Why is checking your Credit Score important?

Checking your free credit score can be a good indicator of where your credit stands and whether you need to work towards improving your score. Lenders such as credit card companies, banks, and car dealerships providing auto loans use credit scores along with other criteria to decide whether to approve you for credit. Knowing your credit score before applying for a loan or any type of credit can help you better prepare and eliminate surprises such as unfavorable terms or even denial.

How to improve your Credit Score

Improving your credit score can take time but the sooner you address the factors affecting your credit, the faster your score will increase. You can increase your scores by taking the necessary steps, like paying bills on time, keeping your credit utilization ratio low, and paying down debt. It can also be a good idea to keep unused credit cards open and only apply for new credit accounts when necessary. Finally, you might want to make sure your credit reports don't contain any inaccuracies that can potentially hurt your scores.

Another effective way to raise your credit score quickly is by using tools like Experian BoostTM, which allows you to add utility and telecom bills to your Experian credit file. It could give your credit score an immediate increase that can be especially helpful to those struggling with building credit.

What can impact my Credit Score?

Your credit score can be affected by a number of factors and while the exact criteria can vary by scoring model, the most influential factor is typically your payment history. Even one missed payment can have a negative effect on your score.

Your credit utilization ratio also plays a big factor in determining your score. It's solely based on your revolving credit and measured by how much of your available credit you're using.

Credit scoring models look at the number, types and age of accounts you have. Maintaining a good mix of credit and positive history shows that you are able to handle new credit responsibly.

Although hard inquiries don't make a huge impact on your score, they can temporarily lower it. Hard inquiries stay on a credit report for 2 years, but in general, the impact to your FICO Score will lessen after 1 year.

Lastly, negative information on your credit such as late or missed payments, foreclosures, collection accounts, and charge-offs can negatively impact your credit.

Does checking my free Credit Score hurt my score?

Checking your free credit score is considered a soft inquiry. Soft inquiries are not a factor in credit scoring models and therefore don't impact your credit scores.

Why did my Credit Score drop?

Credit scores change all the time. If you notice that your scores went down, there may be a few reasons why. For example, your score could have dropped if you have a late or missed payment or recently applied for a new loan or credit card. Other possible reasons include increased credit utilization, closing an account, or a new derogatory mark on your report. Checking your free credit score can help you narrow down why your credit score may have dropped.

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