Is 697 a Good Credit Score?

If you have a credit score of 697, your credit score is considered “good” by some measures. But “good” doesn’t necessarily mean “great,” and a 697 score could be “borderline” when it comes to getting approved for loans or credit cards.

697 is “Good” But Not “Very Good” or “Exceptional”

Many people use the FICO credit score range chart referenced below as a shorthand way to understand their score. As you can see, FICO uses the word “Good” to cover a range of credit scores (including 697) that are actually in a middle tier that falls below “Exceptional” and “Very Good” scores:

  • Over 800 is “Exceptional”
  • 740-799 is “Very Good”
  • 670-739 is “Good”
  • 580-669 is “Fair”
  • Under 580 is “Poor”

FICO Doesn’t Make Loan Decisions, Lenders Do

Since FICO (Fair Isaac Company) is the originator of credit scoring, we should take their chart seriously. But FICO doesn’t decide on your application for a credit card or car loan or mortgage. And the lenders that DO make the decisions don’t use the chart above. In fact, every lender has its own standards of what a “good credit score” is. A 697 credit score will be judged differently by different lenders, and it also may be judged differently depending on what type of loan you are applying for.

697 May Be “Good” or “Good Enough” or “A Little Too Low”

In most cases, a 697 credit score will be good enough to qualify you for whatever type of loan you are seeking. However, it might not be good enough to get you the lowest interest rates available or the most desirable credit products. (But it’s definitely good enough that you can avoid working with “bad credit” lenders that charge astronomically high fees and interest.)

For a mortgage or car loan, you are very likely to be approved with a 697 credit score at an interest rate that will satisfy you, especially if you have a good down payment when you apply.

For credit cards, 700 is often seen as the “cutoff” score to be approved for the very best reward credit cards. However, that is not set in stone, and obviously a 697 score is extremely close to 700.

If a credit card company sees that your recent credit history is spotless, with no missed payments in the past year, they are more likely to look at you favorably than if your recent history suggests that your score is trending downward instead of up. Other factors beyond credit score will also be considered, such as your income, debt levels, length of credit history, and how many other loans accounts you have opened recently.

Shoot for 700, Then Work Toward 750 (and Maybe even 800)

At 697, you’ll hit that 700 credit score soon — as long as you continue to make on-time payments on existing loans and keep your debt levels low.

But while 700 is worth feeling good about, if you really want to get the best interest rates and be approved for top-tier credit cards, you should continue working to raise your score to 750 or above. At 750, almost every lender is going to see you as a low-risk applicant and will want to approve you — usually with low rates, high credit lines, and the best rewards.

While most FICO (and VantageScore) credit scoring models go up to 850 as the very best score possible, a score beyond 750 should get you almost anything you want in terms of loan products, and if you eventually hit an 800 score, even better. But there’s no need to worry about reaching a perfect 850 score; it won’t make much of a difference and there’s no prize for being perfect. 😀

Author: Adam Jusko