A credit rating chart is a chart that provides a general graphical overview of what constitutes an excellent, good, fair, or poor credit score. Rather than showing all possible credit scores, a credit rating chart will generally just illustrate credit scores that fall between two values; for example, a credit score between 600 and 700 might be considered "good." Unfortunately, there is no standard chart for credit ratings; what one lender considers a good credit score may only be considered a fair credit score by another lender.
Credit scores are based on credit reports compiled by three different credit bureaus; the score may also be called a FICO® score. Each of the credit bureaus may determine a different score, but usually they are relatively comparable and within 20 or 30 points of each other. Though a consumer is entitled to a free credit report from each of the three bureaus each year, there is usually a small fee associated with receiving the credit score. It is a good idea to do so, however, because the consumer can then look on a credit rating chart and see where the score falls.
Usually, a credit rating chart is broken up into four categories. Credit scores fall somewhere between 300 and 850, from the worst to the best. In general, a credit score from 300 to 500 is considered very poor, 500 to 600 can be poor to fair, 600 to approximately 720 is considered good, and anything above 720 is considered excellent. Again, these numbers are simply a rough estimate of those that may be found on a credit rating chart — charts may differ depending on the source, and there is no standard available.
While it is a good idea to consult a credit rating chart to determine where a person's credit score falls in a general sense, it is a better idea to know the exact credit score, keep track of it, and work hard to improve it. The credit score is made up of a combination of a consumer's debt, payment history, length of credit history, the types of credit that he or she uses, and new debt acquired, so it is important to keep track of all these. Landlords, employers, lenders, insurance companies, and others can all check a consumer's credit report, and they will be looking at the actual score, not a credit rating chart.