A 742 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.
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 742 credit score
- Mortgage rates for good credit
- Auto loans for good credit
- Can I get a credit card with a 742 credit score?
How to get a 742 credit score
While there’s no exact formula to achieve a specific score, you can aim to get within a general score range. Even taking the different credit scores and definitions of good credit into account, there are general principles that can help you build and maintain healthy credit. Sticking to these principles over time can raise your scores, making you a better credit risk in lenders’ eyes.
Here are some actionable tips to help you stay on top of the important factors that can affect your credit.
1. Keep your credit utilization rate low
Your credit utilization rate is the percentage of your available credit that you use. The usual recommendation is to keep your credit utilization rate below 30% — in other words, using less than 30% of your available credit at any given time. Generally speaking, the less available credit you use (while still maintaining consistent use to help keep the card active), the better.
If you check your credit reports and find that you have a credit utilization rate higher than 30%, you have options to lower it, such as paying down debt or increasing your credit limits. To increase your credit limits, you’ll need to ask your current lenders for a limit increase — but be aware that this could result in lenders doing a hard inquiry on your credit when they make their decision.
2. Pay on time
Your payment history, or the record of your on-time payments, can be a significant factor in your credit scores. How much a late payment can affect your scores varies depending on how late the payment is and how recently the payment was missed.
But on the flip side, consistently paying on time can help you build your credit, which could increase your likelihood of being approved for more credit if you need it in the future.
3. Build your credit mix
We generally don’t recommend taking out a potentially expensive loan just to build your credit scores. But it’s true that having a mix of different types of credit can benefit your scores over the long term. Types of credit include revolving credit (like credit cards) and installment credit (like auto loans and mortgages).
But there’s a wrinkle: Applying for new credit can lead to a hard inquiry on your credit reports, which can have a negative impact on your scores. While this impact is typically minor, too many hard inquiries in a short time period can be a red flag to lenders. That’s why it’s important to have a general sense of how likely it is that you’ll be approved before you apply for a credit card or loan.
4. Give it time
The age of your credit history, or how long your active accounts have been open, can also affect your credit scores. A longer credit history can indicate to lenders that you have more experience using credit.
If you have an expensive line of credit open (like a credit card with a high annual fee), you may be looking to close it. But closing a credit card can affect important credit factors like the age of your credit history, so carefully consider your options when you’re looking to cancel a credit card.
|Age of open accounts by credit score range|
|Credit score range||Avg. age (years)|
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 742 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.