5 min read

credit score ratings actually mean

Your credit score rate helps lenders determine if you’ll be a responsible borrower. This helps them assess risk before deciding whether or not to lend money to you. Knowing the credit score ranges for Canada and regularly checking in on your credit report can put you on the path to establishing good financial habits to boost your score.

Your credit score ratings reflect your credit history, including payment history and credit limit usage. A good credit score falls within specific ranges, detailed in your credit report. Understanding these factors helps maintain a healthy credit score essential for financial stability and future opportunities. Here’s what you need to know about credit score ratings and what they mean.

Why Your Credit Score Rating Matters

Credit scores in Canada can range from 300 to 900. The higher your score, the more likely you are to get approved for financing and lock in better lending terms. Maintaining a good credit score is essential for financial health. Your credit history, reflected in your credit report, includes payment history and credit limit adherence. Understanding credit score ranges is crucial for assessing your financial standing. Regularly monitor and manage your credit scores to ensure a positive credit profile and financial stability.

The credit bureaus define your score based on where your credit score range falls and what is reported on your credit reports. Here are the five categories, according to most credit reports issued by the Canadian credit bureau:

  • 760 and up - Excellent

  • 725 to 759 - Very good

  • 660 to 724 - Good

  • 560 to 659 - Fair

  • Below 560 - Poor

If you pay your bills on time and keep your credit balances low, you’ll have a better chance of increasing your score. But if you have missed payments, your score may be in the lower credit score range. Understanding how credit score calculations are made and how lenders calculate credit scores and what they consider the ideal minimum credit score is critical to making the most of your financial opportunities.

Credit Scores Rating Breakdowns In Canada

Every lender has their own system for deciding whether or not to approve you for a credit account. Some credit card issuers may approve you for credit-building cards if your credit score is in the poor or fair range, while reserving credit card products with better rewards or terms for those with higher credit scores. The credit reporting agencies have closely guarded exactly what they use to make their credit reports but the basics are known of how credit scores work.

If you’re applying for a mortgage, you’ll typically need at least a 680 credit score to get approved. But the higher your credit scores and history, the more likely you are to lock in a low interest rate — which can save you tens to hundreds of thousands over the lifetime of your home laon.

Typically, it’s recommended to keep your credit scores within the ‘good’ range, but you should also work to grow your score. Regularly reviewing your score and seeing where your credit rating falls can help you when preparing to apply for a new credit account. Your credit score is important you should keep close tabs on it to see how the credit scores change and fluctuate over time.

How To Improve Your Credit Score Rate In Canada?

If you’re looking to boost your credit score to the next credit score range, here are some tips that can help you keep your credit scores as high as possible.

  • Focus on high-interest debt. If you carry a balance on your credit card or have a personal loan, prioritize reducing your debt. This can have a positive effect on your credit score as your credit utilization ratio decreases, and can also help free up money down the line to ensure you don’t fall back into a cycle of debt. Many credit scoring models focus in the higher credit limits so paying these down first can help your credit scores.

  • Pay more than the minimum payment each month. If you’re only paying the minimum on your credit cards, you’re likely getting hit with interest that can quickly rack up your balance. While paying your statement in full is ideal, if you can’t afford that, focus on paying more than the minimum to help yourself get ahead. Many lenders look at payment and balance relationships and use this with their chosen credit scoring models to determine your creditworthiness.

  • Enroll in Autopay payment options when possible. It may sound simple, but automating your payments to ensure you never miss one is one of the easiest ways to fast track building your credit. This ensures you never miss a payment, which is essential since on-time payments account for 35% of your credit score.You can get into a good credit score range easily by taking this one simple step to help you avoid situations where you miss payments.

  • Keep your credit utilization low. Lenders prefer it when you use 30% or less of the credit that’s available to you, also known as your credit utilization rate. Keeping your spending below this number is important, because it accounts for 30% of your credit score. Paying purchases off as you make them is one tip that might help keep your debt-to-credit ratio low and maintain a good credit score.

  • Don’t open too many credit products at once. Although a new credit account can help you work towards improving your payment history and credit utilization, applying for too many credit accounts at once can signal financial duress to lenders. Instead, compare options to find the right next credit card or loan for your financial goals. This can help to maintain your credit scores at a good range.

  • Check in on your credit scores progress. To make sure you stay on track, be sure to review your credit score and credit report regularly to make sure no errors or surprises pop up. Maintaining a good credit score hinges on several factors: payment history, credit limit utilization, and credit history. Understanding credit score ranges and regularly checking your credit report aids in managing finances, ensuring a healthy credit score and favorable creditworthiness.

The bottom line on credit ratings and credit scores

Credit score ratings help measure your financial health, so lenders understand how you manage credit. By using your credit products responsibly — always paying your bills on time, paying more than the minimum, and keeping your spending low — you can help push your score into the next credit score range.

Credit scores reflect your creditworthiness, influenced by factors like payment history, credit limit usage, and credit history. Good credit scores indicate responsible financial behavior. Monitoring your credit report helps understand credit score ranges and ensures a healthy financial profile by maintaining a positive credit history.

As your credit scores increase, you’ll be able to get improved for better credit products like rewards cards, larger loans, and more favorable mortgage terms. Keep tabs on your credit scores with KOHO free credit scores and online account options. Learn from the pros on how to maximize your credit scores, manage debt to credit ratio, increase interest rate savings, and understand your credit limits and credit history. Check out our credit accounts today and start working on improving your credit scores!

Note: KOHO product information and/or features may have been updated since this blog post was published. Please refer to our KOHO Plans page for our most up to date account information!

Courtney Johnston

Courtney is a professional writer, editor and financial literacy enthusiast. You can find her writing on CNET, Investopedia, The Motley Fool, Yahoo Finance, MSN and The Balance. She spends her free time exploring different cities across the globe or enjoy some downtime with her two cats and one dog.