Credit Scores


In college, it’s easy to get lost in numbers: final grades, test scores, GPAs. Once graduation hits, these numbers don’t have such a huge impact on your life. However, there is one number that sticks around forever: your credit score. Once you open your first line of credit (i.e. credit cards, student loans), Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are keepng tabs on all of your spending. Your credit score determines what type of lending you will get in your future. So basically, the spending you are doing in college can affect whether or not you get approve for a car or home loan (or if your interest rates are hitting the roof) in the future.

It is important to recognize that not every credit score provided for sale online (i.e. CreditKarma, FreeCreditScore.com) are FICO scores. FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) scores are the most widely used an accepted credit scores and are calculated by the credit information that the crediting agency keeps on you. You have a credit score for each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). See how your credit score is calculated below.

ce_FICO-Score-chart

What is a good credit score?

FICO credit scores range between 300 and 850. The higher an individual’s credit score is, the lower their risk for lending is. There is no specific factor that determines whether an individual will be a “good” or “bad” customer. However, there are ranges of credit scores from bad to excellent: 

  • Excellent Credit: 750+

  • Good Credit: 700-749

  • Fair Credit: 650-699

  • Poor Credit: 600-649

  • Bad Credit: below 600

Checking My Credit Score

Your credit score is not stored as part of your credit history, but is a number determined by your credit history and delivered based on the information provided in your credit report. Your credit score determines your worthiness to pay back credit. Premiums you may be paying for things such as your car payment or credit cards are determined by your credit score.

Each person is allowed to check their credit report once per year from each of the three reporting agencies for free through AnnualCreditReport.com. This website is the only one that is government authorized to provide you with free copies of your credit report. It is important to regularly check your credit report. Regularly checking through AnnualCreditReport.com will not affect your FICO credit score. 

Transit Financial Wellness Initiatives of The University of Alabama Student Health Center and Pharmacy | 750 5th Avenue East, Box 870360 | Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 | transit@ua.edu 
This website was created and is operated by the University of Alabama Student Health Center and Pharmacy Department of Health Promotion & Wellness. Transit Financial Wellness Program is an entity of The University of Alabama Student Health Center and Pharmacy. For more information on Financial Wellness or Financial Literacy, please contact Brittney Vigna at bevigna@ua.edu.