Good credit vs. bad credit: What do the big bad credit bureaus look for?

It's the 850 credit score for me

'Good vs bad credit' text

In the (slightly modified) words of DJ Khaled: 

They don’t want you to understand your credit score !

They = banks

We = here to tell you credit doesn’t have to be complicated. And building it doesn’t have to feel like running in a dream.

Gif of game of a man running slowly then falling

It starts with small steps, like knowing the difference btw good and bad credit and how to keep the credit bosses happy.


Credit scores typically range from 300 to 850, with 850 being perfect credit and anything from 300 to 580 being considered poor. According to the FICO scoring model:

🌱 Scores above 669 = 𝑔𝑜𝑜𝒹 𝒸𝓇𝑒𝒹𝒾𝓉

🌾 Scores below 580 =𝓅𝑜𝑜𝓇 𝒸𝓇𝑒𝒹𝒾𝓉

🌵 Scores between 580 and 669 =  𝒾𝓃 𝓉𝒽𝒶𝓉 𝒶𝓌𝓀𝓌𝒶𝓇𝒹 𝑔𝓇𝑜𝓌𝒾𝓃𝑔-𝑜𝓊𝓉-𝓎𝑜𝓊𝓇-𝒷𝒶𝓃𝑔𝓈 𝓅𝒽𝒶𝓈𝑒 (Not the worst place to be, but you should probably keep growing.)

Cardi B saying 'Don't stop, keep going'


First of all, why shouldn’t they be? You’re an icon. 📸

Second of all, they just want to know whether they can trust you to pay back your loans on time. There are three major credit reporting agencies keeping tabs on your borrowing skills: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. 

There’s no need to be intimidated by credit bureaus. Each one is just another business that compiles information that’s already out there and uses it to predict your future behaviors. 

Gif of woman laughing with the caption [nervous laughter]

Since we kinda have no choice but to play by their rules, let’s just focus on how to keep your credit score on the up n up.


Looking good to credit bureaus means you’ll look good to lenders. That’s because credit bureaus send your info to lenders in the form of a neat little credit report. Here’s how to make sure it stays looking good:

🤜 Pay your bills and loans on time

This is a big one. Missing a payment is one of the easiest ways to get a ding to your score, and it can take a while to correct. Obvi the best thing is to just pay your credit card balance in full every month, but that’s not always realistic. Just do your best and try to at least make the minimum payment.

🤜 Have a healthy credit mix

This is based on how many different credit accounts, or loans, you have. If you have two credit cards, a mortgage and an auto loan, then you have four credit accounts. There’s not really an ideal amount of accounts credit bureaus look for. They just want to know that you can successfully maintain multiple.

🤜 Don’t use more than 30% of your available limit

Credit bureaus look at your credit utilization, which is just a fancy term for how much of your credit you use. For some reason they don’t want you to use more than 30% of your available credit. So if your credit limit is $1,500, you should only use 30% of that, which is … 

*Googles what is 30% of $1,500*

$450 😎

🤜 Don’t apply for a bunch of loans at once

Every time you apply for a loan, your credit is pulled. And every time your credit is pulled, the credit bureaus get notified. The good news is that they don’t base their judgment solely on credit pulls — they also base it on your actions. They really are obsessed huh? 🤔

Kim Kardashian banging a gavel saying 'Eww. This is so cringe'

Say you apply for three credit cards in the span of a month. This might cause them to view you as a risky borrower because like, what do you need three credit cards for at one time? 

But if you’re shopping around for the best financing option for a car and you submit three loan applications, that’s a little different. They’ll likely recognize that you’re rate shopping and won’t view this as risky behavior.

Typically these *credit inquiries* as they’re called drop off your report in 12 months or so.


No matter what your score is, it’s a good idea to always be working to maintain it or make it better — even if it’s just in small increments. Where's your score? 👇

🤸 On the high end? Hell yes. Let’s see what we can do to keep you there. 💪

🤸 On the low end? Don’t stress. You can always build it up. 🧈🥤

🤸 Don’t know? Cleo can find out. 👀

🤸 Answer yes to one or more qs above?

Keep moving up in the credit world 🪁

Still have questions? Find answers below.
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