We think it's important for you to understand how we make money. It's pretty simple, actually. The offers for financial products you see on our platform come from companies who pay us. The money we make helps us give you access to free credit scores and reports and helps us create our other great tools and educational materials.
Compensation may factor into how and where products appear on our platform (and in what order). But since we generally make money when you find an offer you like and get, we try to show you offers we think are a good match for you. That's why we provide features like your Approval Odds and savings estimates.
Of course, the offers on our platform don't represent all financial products out there, but our goal is to show you as many great options as we can.
A 720 credit score is considered a good credit score by many lenders.
|Percentage of generation with 700–749 credit scores|
“Good” score range identified based on 2021 Credit Karma data.
A credit score is a number that lenders use to help assess how risky you might be as a borrower. Credit scores are based on credit reports, which contain information about your credit history. Generally, a good credit score can signal to lenders that you’re more likely to pay back money you borrow.
Having good credit can be a game-changer. It can mean you’re more likely to be approved when you apply for a credit card or loan. Good credit can also help you qualify for lower interest rates and better loan terms.
It’s not quite as simple as that though. You don’t have just one credit score. Here’s why. Scores can be calculated using different scoring models, like the ones created by FICO and VantageScore. These credit-scoring models use several factors to generate your scores, drawing on data from different sources, namely the three main consumer credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). So there are actually many different versions of your credit scores.
With so many different credit scores out there, what counts as a “good” credit score can vary. What one model or lender defines as good could be different from what other models or lenders define as good.
So what does this mean when you’re shopping for a loan or credit card? While knowing roughly how good your credit scores are can be a helpful gut check, a good credit score is not a guarantee that you’ll be approved for the loan or credit card you want.
Here’s what you need to know about building and maintaining a good credit score — and, if you’re aiming higher, how you can eventually take that score from good to excellent.
Check your credit scores for free
- How to get a 720 credit score
- Mortgage rates for good credit
- Auto loans for good credit
- Can I get a credit card with a 720 credit score?
How to get a 720 credit score
While there’s no sure-fire way to achieve an exact credit score, there’s plenty you can do to build and maintain your credit within a range. Most importantly, you’ll want to practice healthy credit habits.
Even with so many different credit scores out there — thanks to different scoring models and different credit bureau data — some general principles apply. Most credit scores take into account at least five main credit factors.
Here’s a breakdown of each factor and how it can affect your overall credit.
1. Payment history
One of the more important factors in determining your overall credit health is your record of on-time payments. It’s as simple as this: Paying your bills on time, every time, can go a long way toward building credit. On the flip side, even a single late payment could affect your scores in a significant way (and stay on your reports for up to seven years). So, consistency is key.
2. Credit utilization
You might already know that paying off your credit card’s statement balance in full every month helps you avoid interest charges. But it could also help lower your credit utilization ratio, a key measurement that tracks how much of your available credit you use at any given time. Most experts recommend keeping your credit utilization ratio below 30%, but it’s a good practice to keep it even lower than that if possible.
3. Length of credit history
The longer you can demonstrate a sustained track record of positive credit use, the better. The age of your credit history, or how long you’ve kept your active accounts open, can signal to lenders that you have more experience using credit.
4. Credit mix and types
It’s helpful to show lenders that you can juggle various types of credit, including revolving credit (like credit cards) and installment loans (like auto loans and mortgages). But because this tends to have a lesser impact on your credit, we don’t encourage taking out a loan you don’t need just to build credit.
5. Recent credit
When you apply for a new credit card or loan, your credit reports usually get hit with a hard inquiry. On its own, a single hard inquiry should only have a small impact on your credit. But the more hard inquiries you collect, the bigger the impact could become. And too many hard inquiries in a short time period might give some lenders pause, so it’s a good idea to only apply for credit products when you need them and when you feel confident in your odds of approval.
|Hard inquiries by credit score range|
|Credit score range||Avg. number of inquiries|
Ranges identified based on 2021 Credit Karma data.
Mortgage rates for good credit
Your credit scores are just one factor to consider when you’re looking to get a great mortgage rate. Having good credit can help you get a better rate, but so can factors such as …
- The type of mortgage loan you’re looking for
- The total cost of your home
- Your debt-to-income ratio
- The size of your down payment
The average credit score it takes to buy a house can also vary greatly by location.
Once you have a general picture of your overall credit — as well as how much house you can afford and the type of loan you want — it’s a good idea to shop around. This can give you a better idea of what different lenders could offer you.
Compare your current mortgage rates on Credit Karma to learn more.
Auto loans for good credit
The best rates for auto loans are typically available to people with good-to-excellent credit, but what “good” credit means to auto lenders can vary. Beyond the base credit-scoring models like FICO and VantageScore, there are also industry-specific scores that lenders could check, such as FICO® Auto Scores.
Even though you may not know which specific score a lender will use, it’s still a good idea to have an understanding of your overall credit health when shopping around. You can check your credit from Equifax and TransUnion for free on Credit Karma. You can also periodically get a free credit report from each of the three main consumer credit bureaus from annualcreditreport.com.
And yes, it’s important to shop around! Take some time to compare offers to find the best terms that could be available to you. In particular, the rates offered at car dealerships may be higher than rates you might be able to find at a bank or credit union, or with an online lender.
If you’re shopping around for auto loan rates, consider getting preapproved to boost your negotiating power when you’re at the dealership. A preapproval letter can be a great way to show car dealers you’ve done your homework and won’t accept a subpar financing offer. Just be aware that it can result in a hard inquiry, which can temporarily ding your credit.
And if you already have a car loan but you’ve improved your credit since you first got it, you might be able to find a better rate by refinancing.
Compare car loans on Credit Karma to explore your options.
Can I get a credit card with a 720 credit score?
With good credit scores, you might qualify for credit cards that come with enticing perks like cash back, travel rewards, or an introductory 0% APR offer that can help you save on interest for a period of time.
Still, the very best and most-exclusive credit cards may be out of reach to those with “merely” good credit. You may need excellent credit to be approved for these cards, so there’s still room for improvement if that’s your goal.
Of course, your credit scores are only one piece of the puzzle. A credit score can be a helpful gauge in measuring your progress, but issuers may also consider other factors before making a lending decision.
For example, an issuer may consider eligibility requirements not accounted for in your credit scores, like your job status or income. Or they may give more weight to one aspect of your credit reports than another. This means it’s possible that two people with similar credit scores may not be approved for the same offer — and even if they’re both approved, their rates and terms may be different.
This can make it difficult to understand why you’re not approved — but lenders are required to tell you why you were denied credit if you ask. It’s illegal for lenders to discriminate against you, and getting an answer as to why you weren’t approved can be a first step to protecting your rights when it comes to credit and lending.
Compare offers for credit cards for good credit on Credit Karma to learn more about your options.
Having good credit can mean having more access to credit products with better terms — but the very best rates and products tend to be reserved for those with excellent credit.
Check your credit scores for free