699 Credit Score: Close But No Cigar

699So far this year I’ve seen more than one person asking about a credit score of 699 and whether it was good or not.

699… it sounds more like the price of something at Target rather than a credit score, right? Why such a peculiar number?


What type of credit score are you getting? For the people I have heard from having that number, they were using an Experian PLUS Score… not a FICO.

So it seems that for some odd reason, the PLUS Score seems to spit back that 699 number more frequently. It could be just a coincidence, but then again, maybe it’s not.

If you are referencing a 699 PLUS Score, then keep in mind that the scale of that type runs on a 330 to 830 range (which is different than FICO). To compare on that scale, check out my Experian PLUS Score post.

699 FICO Score?

If you are indeed talking about a true FICO, then how does a 699 measure up? Well let’s take a look…

It’s not 100% clear what the average credit score in America currently is, but the median is estimated to be around 723. That’s what it was the last time FICO publicly reported it.

So if you have a 699 credit score you are well below the median (remember, that means exactly half are higher and half are lower). If you want the true average score, then it will be it will be lower than the median. Why? Because it’s being skewed by people with really bad credit. That means the best way to gauge your score is in relation to the median.

FICO score distribution

Obviously a 650 and 699 are quite different, but that’s as specific as FICO gets in the information they release to the public. Either way, the above graph should give you a good idea of where you fit in on a relative basis.

What it can – and cannot – do for you

Is 699 a good credit score? Nope, but at least you are close to having one.

Most of the popular cash back credit cards you see advertised on TV will require a FICO score of at least 710-720 to be approved, some are even higher. It’s not impossible to be approved with a score of 699 but it’s highly unlikely.

For mortgage rates, a 699 score won’t get you the best deal. You will still probably be able to get approved as long as the home price is reasonable relative to your income, but don’t count on getting the lowest rates.

Acccording to MyFICO, here were the score ranges it gave me for the different tiers of mortgage rates:

mortgage rates by credit score range

As you see, a 699 credit score will probably only qualify you for 3rd from the top.

How to improve it?

No matter how you look at it, the honest truth is that a 699 credit score is bad. If you can’t even get approved for most reward cards or loans, I don’t know how anyone can classify it as being “good.”

So what’s the next step you should take to improving your credit? Here are some posts I would recommend that should help your journey…

Your score – in context

Here’s what various score ranges mean (based on definitions from Experian regarding FICO scores):

699 credit score – what it means

ScoreCredit typeExplanation
800+ExcellentConsumers in this range can expect easy approval for credit products and the best terms.
740-799Very goodConsumers in this range can expect to qualify for a wide range of products and are eligible to receive favorable terms.
670-739GoodConsumers in this range may vary in their qualification for credit products. Those at the lower end may get denied for premium products, or may have less-favorable terms/lower credit limits. Still, getting approved for a card or loan is absolutely feasible.
580-669FairConsumers in this range can expect higher interest rates and may not qualify for some credit products. Results will vary, based on whether the score is due to thin credit history or a troubled one (bankruptcies and late payments).
579 and lowerPoorConsumers in this range will have trouble qualifying for most credit products.
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You’re an idiot. I have a 699 score and got a mortgage rate last year at 3.25, plus have multiple rewards cards with low interest rates. 699 is by far not as bad as you’re making it out to be.

I also have a credit score of 699 what would you suggest for a first credit card?

I have 4 credit cards. 2 paid off with no penalties or interest. One, I owe $900.00 (have until Feb 2014 to pay off) and one I just got (a $500 line of credit to be paid by May 2014). I want to cancel one of the others that I have paid off, but I heard it hurts your credit score to cancel a card. What would you do. (BTW, my credit score is 699 according to Trans Union)

But…. we need to remember this is just an article you have written, you are not a professional. Just giving out your opinion.

There’s no such thing as “professional” degrees for credit, but it is my full time job and has been for several years now.

I always end up with something like 775 or some other rounded number. But I think in general your credit score is going to mean less and less in the future as access to lending in general shrinks. The only kind of finance that does not require credit checks all the time is hard money so that will probably be unaffected. Typical loans will decrease in availability however.