What does a 738 credit score mean?

Illustration of a woman looking at a framed image of a 738 credit score.Image: Illustration of a woman looking at a framed image of a 738 credit score.

In a Nutshell

Compared to lower scores, a good credit score can unlock better credit opportunities. While lenders look at a variety of factors when considering a credit or loan application, good credit scores generally correlate with higher approval odds. Good credit scores can also help you qualify for lower interest rates and more-favorable loan terms. That said, if you’re aiming to go higher, there’s still room for improvement.

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A 738 credit score is considered a good credit score by many lenders.

Percentage of generation with 700–749 credit scores
Generation Percentage
Gen Z 21.1%
Millennial 17.1%
Gen X 16.9%
Baby boomer 19%
Silent 15.6%
Greatest 14.7%

“Good” score range identified based on 2021 Credit Karma data.

With good credit scores, you might be more likely to qualify for mortgages and auto loans with lower interest rates and better terms. You might also be approved for credit cards with valuable sign-up bonuses and attractive rewards programs.

Why do these three-digit numbers matter so much to your financial well-being? Well, lenders use your credit scores as a gauge of how likely you are to pay back any money they lend to you. So, a good credit score can give a lender the confidence to lend you money at terms favorable to you. It might not be enough to unlock the absolute best financial products or terms, but it’s a milestone indicating you’re on the cusp of excellence.

People often talk about their “credit score” as if they have only one, so you might be surprised to learn that there are many different credit scores out there. A credit score is based on a credit-scoring model, which differs depending on the company that created it, like VantageScore or FICO. To generate your credit scores, these models can use data from different sources: Equifax, Experian or TransUnion (otherwise known as the three main credit bureaus).

Each model has its own standard for what qualifies as “good.” And to make matters even more confusing, it’s often not clear which credit score, model or bureau’s data a particular lender is using — and what other factors the lender may look at beyond scores.

With this in mind, think of any individual credit score as a barometer to help you understand your overall credit and progress. No single score you look at is a guarantee that you’ll qualify for certain products or offer terms.

Here’s what else you need to know about building, maintaining and using a good credit score.



How to get a 738 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
300–639 8
640–699 5
700–749 4
750–850 3

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 738 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.


Next steps

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.

Knowing how to read and understand your credit scores and credit reports is the first step in taking your credit from good to excellent.