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What is a good credit score? Your rating explained

Your credit score matters when it comes to being accepted for a credit card or your mortgage application getting the OK. There could be quite a lot riding on those digits.

So, what is a good credit rating? Well, there’s no real magic number because it depends on each lender’s individual scoring system. But the general rule is the higher your score with the credit reference agencies, the more chance you’ve got of being accepted for credit.

What counts as a good credit score, varies between the UK’s consumer credit reference agencies. The main ones, Experian, Equifax and CallCredit, all have their own scoring systems. For Experian, anything over 881 is classed as good or excellent. For Equifax it’s anything above 420, and for CallCredit it’s 4 and over.

Lenders never actually see your credit score. It’s an assessment the credit reference agencies put together based on your credit file. It gives you an idea of how lenders might see you, but lenders form their own assessment from the information in your file.

The information lenders use when deciding whether to give you credit includes:

  • Your borrowing history (how you pay your existing credit cards, loans and mortgage, for example).
  • Public court records (whether you have any county court judgements or other adverse information in your name).
  • Linked financial data (if you have a joint account with someone else, how they manage their credit could affect you).

A good credit score isn’t the only thing lenders look at when you make an application. They all have their own guidelines and criteria when assessing applicants to make a final decision.

What does my credit score mean?

A good credit score depends on the credit reference agency. Experian, Equifax and CallCredit all make it pretty easy to tell whether or not you’ve got a decent credit score. They each use a visual scale, with bands that range from very poor to excellent. Once you know your score, you can see where you sit on the scale:

Experian credit score

Score

Rating

What it means

961-999

Excellent

There’s no guarantee, but you’re very likely to get almost always be accepted for the most competitive credit offers.

881-960

Good

You’re more likely to have your credit card application accepted, but won’t necessarily be offered the most competitive offers or rates.

721-880

Fair

The interest rates you’ll get offered will be reasonable, but your credit limit may be quite low.

561-720

Poor

You stand a chance of being accepted for a credit card, but it might come with a high interest rate.

0-560

Very poor

If you’re in this category, it’s likely your credit card application will be rejected.


Equifax credit score

Score

Rating

What it means

466-700

Excellent

If you’re in this category, chances are you’ll get the best credit card deals out there.

420-465

Good

Your credit card application is likely to be accepted, but you may not always be offered the best rates.

380-419

Fair

This is the middle ground where you may or may not be accepted for credit, it depends on the lender.

280-379

Poor

Your credit card application may not be accepted, but if it is you may have to pay a higher interest rate.

0-279

Very poor

Your credit card application is more likely to be declined if your score falls into this category.


CallCredit credit score

Score

Rating

What it means

5

Excellent

This is the best category to be in. Your credit card application has more chance of being accepted, for the best deals available.

4

Good

This is a healthy rating and your credit card application should be accepted by many lenders.

3

Fair

If you fall into this category, your application could equally be accepted or rejected by lenders, and the best possible offers are probably out of reach.

2

Poor

You’ll probably be rejected by most lenders if your score is in this category.

1

Very poor

As this is the lowest category, you may find it’s difficult to be accepted for credit. If you are accepted, you’ll probably face high interest rates.


Now you know how the credit scoring system works, the next step is to find out your credit score. Our helpful guide will show you how to do it.

If you already know your score, or discover it’s not as good as you thought, there are plenty of things you can do to take it up a notch. From registering on the electoral roll to simplifying your balances, check out all the ways to give your score a lift with our handy guide.

Finding out your credit score could boost your chances of making a successful application. Not only that, but keeping closer tabs on your rating could help you when it comes to managing your overall finances.