Credit Debt LoansUnderstanding What Your Credit Score Starts At: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding What Your Credit Score Starts At: A Comprehensive Guide

And how to increase your credit score to over 800

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Are you curious about what your credit score starts at? Understanding your credit score is essential for managing your finances and ensuring your future financial stability. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about credit scores, including what your credit score starts at, how to boost your score and maintain good credit.

As a former financial planner – I have seen the devastating effects a lousy credit score could have on clients. And conversely – how much easier a good credit score can be for your finances. But we all have to start somewhere, right?

According to Equifax, the average credit score in the United States is 698. Have you ever wondered -what does your credit score start at? And, more importantly – how to get your credit score over 800 quickly?

First, let’s define what a credit score is. A credit score is a numerical representation of your creditworthiness based on your credit history. Lenders use it to determine if you’re a reasonable risk for a loan or credit card. Your credit score starts at a base score, which can vary depending on the credit bureau.

The starting credit score depends on the scoring system used by the lender. For example, FICO scores range from 300 to 850, and Credit Karma’s VantageScore 3.0 ranges from 300 to 850. But other credit scoring systems differ.

Wondering What Your Credit Score Is? FIND OUT NOW BY CLICKING BELOW

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Also, if you’re looking to improve your credit score and are curious about where you currently stand, this article has the answers you’re looking for.

From understanding how your credit score is calculated to where you can go to check your current credit score, this article will provide you with the information you need to take control of your finances.

So, read on to learn what your credit score starts at and how to improve it.

This article will go through. 

  • What is your initial starting credit score?
  • How to go from credit invisible to how to get started building a positive credit history
  • How is a credit score calculated? What is a good credit score, and what is a bad credit score?
  • What is the credit score range? Credit scoring model and credit range from bad credit to a perfect score.
  • When did credit scores start?

What Credit Score Do You Start With?

Ever wonder what does your credit score start at 18? Does your credit score start at 0?

Most people assume your starting credit score is zero, but your credit score starts at 300.

  • Credit scores range from being credit invisible and having a short credit history to having an initial score.
  •  We then start building a form of credit history and a credit profile by applying to potential lenders and establishing a limited credit history.
  •  Initially, most people typically do this by applying to credit card companies with different types of credit accounts, such as entry-level credit cards, secured cards with a security deposit, and student credit cards.
  •  We create a positive credit history by making monthly payments – developing a payment history of paying your bills on time.
  •  You then graduate to regular credit card issuers and unsecured cards, installment loans, personal loans, and lines of credit.

You have now started the critical process of developing a “credit history” – you are going from credit invisible, viewed as a credit risk and a short credit history, to creating a minimum initial credit score. You are starting the process of going from a poor credit score (a low three-digit number of 300) to an excellent score, or even a perfect score (850)

So what does the FICO credit reporting agency say you need to develop a positive credit history and a starting credit score? This is what the credit scoring model, credit bureaus, and credit monitoring services require:

  1. You need to open and maintain a credit account for at least SIX MONTHS
  2. The credit account must have been reported to the credit bureaus and credit reporting agencies for at least six months.
fix your credit

That’s it – you have now gone from credit invisible to the first steps of developing a credit history and building a credit score.

What Is The Starting Credit Score Then?

As mentioned earlier, everyone’s credit score starts at 300. That does not mean that is where your credit score starts; that is just the minimum credit score. Whether your credit history’s poor or bad, your credit score cannot exceed 300.

In reality, your credit score start will be in the credit score range of 550 to 650. Over time, your credit score will increase with your credit mix, credit age, and payment history of making on-time payments to your outstanding balances. Your goal is to have a good credit score of no lower than 700 – the average credit score in the US is currently 698. Even better is to have an excellent credit score of over 740.

How Is A Credit Score Calculated

Before we move forward with credit scores and the importance of maintaining an excellent credit score vs. a bad credit score – we need to understand the credit scoring model that the credit reporting agencies and credit bureaus use to create your credit profile. To understand your credit score, start with understanding how it is calculated first.

It’s important to note that there are different credit scores, including FICO and VantageScore. The most commonly used credit score is the FICO score, which ranges from 300 to 850. The higher your score, the better your creditworthiness.


Now, let’s talk about how your credit score is calculated. Your credit score takes into account several factors, including:

  • Payment history: Have you made all of your payments on time? Late payments can lower your score.
  •  Credit utilization: How much of your available credit are you using? High credit utilization can negatively impact your score.
  •  Length of credit history: The longer your credit history, the better.
  •  Types of credit: A mix of different types of credit, such as a mortgage, car loan, and credit card, can positively impact your score.
  •  Recent credit inquiries: Too many recent credit inquiries can lower your score.

It’s essential to regularly check your credit score to make sure it’s accurate. You can get a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

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  1. Payment History this makes up 35% of your credit score. This is where our credit score starts to take shape. Do you pay your monthly payments on time, or make late payments on your outstanding balances? Have you ever defaulted on loan payments or declared bankruptcy? The most important factor to a good credit score starts with making your payments on time.
  2. Credit Utilization Rate and Ratio makes up another 30% of your credit score. These two alone make up two thirds of your score – that’s how important they are. So the credit scoring model likes to see that you have a payment history of on time payments, and second – to see that you are not a big credit risk who is borrowing everything that they can. What this means is the credit utilization rate is where you take your available credit and divide it by the amount of the credit you are currently using (outstanding balances)
  3. Credit History Another 15% of your score is based on how long you have had credit, or credit age. This is where they look at how old are your credit accounts. Do you have a bunch of credit cards and personal loans that are one year old, or do you have a history of paying your bills on time for twenty years?
  4. Diversity and Credit Mix 10% of your credit formula wants to know, do you have just one credit card or do you have a car loan, a mortgage, credit cards and a line of credit? Someone with a good credit mix is considered to be a batter credit risk than someone without a good credit mix.
  5. Applications 10% last but not least is to see how many inquiries or credit applications show on Equifax, Experian, and Transunion the past two years? A few applications or inquiries are normal – but a flurry of them could be sign of credit risk


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Where does your credit score start?  

We now know that our credit scores start at as low as 300, but most will people have a credit score starting in the 500-600 range. Most lenders will accept scores of 600 or more, but they may lower the amount of credit you are approved for if they see a lower score. You will also see a greater interest rate or higher annual percentage rate (APR) than if you had a higher score.

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So, how do I get a higher credit score start than the minimum of 300 or 500? The best way to start with a higher score is to be listed as an “authorized user” on your parent’s credit card before getting your credit card at 18. This allows you to borrow their credit history a little to boost you when you start and have no credit history yourself. It is ideal if you can do this by age 16 or 17.

Why is this important? Because the higher your credit score – the more outstanding credit card balance you will be eligible for – and the lower interest rate, or APR, you will be charged on your loans.

What’s an APR?

The APR is the annual percentage rate. It’s the interest that your lender charges on your loan. 

For example, someone with a credit score of 700 may pay 7% interest. Or $700 per year to borrow $10,000. That would mean paying $1,400 over the two years from their pocket to cover that original loan.

Someone with a 500 credit score may have to pay 15% interest or $1,500 yearly. It cost $3,000 over two years, all because you had a lower credit score.

What Is The Average Credit Score By Age

According to data from Experian, the avergae credit score by age is as follows:

GenerationAverage credit score in 2021 (FICO)
Generation Z679
Generation X705
Baby Boomers740
Average Credit Score By Age FICO

But I Need To Know What Will My Credit Score Be To Start?

It is difficult to predict your credit score since you have not provided any information on your financial situation or history. That being said, you can get an idea of what type of scores you might be able to achieve by viewing a free credit report snapshot at  

The national average FICO scores are listed on this site, and others may be more in line with your current financial situation.

Most consumers have a good idea of the credit scores range but are unsure where they fall within that range. In other words, they know what bad and good scores are but not where their credit falls within that scale. 

To be eligible for the best rates on loans and to qualify for the most attractive lenders and terms with which to work, you should target getting your FICO® score above 700.

Keys to A Good Credit Score:

To boost your credit score, consider the following tips:

  • Pay all of your bills on time
  •  Keep your credit utilization low
  •  Don’t open too many new credit accounts at once
  •  Dispute errors on your credit report
  •  Consider a credit monitoring service

When you turn 18, order a free credit score and report.

  •  Open a credit account as early as possible, such as a car loan
  •  Make sure you make payments on time
  •  Understand how your credit score is calculated.
  •  Maintain a low credit utilization ratio
  •  Work to establish credit on your credit file over time. Good credit, not bad credit
  •  Keep working to increase your credit limit over time.
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Getting a good credit score is essential, and it starts with understanding

  • where your credit score begins at
  • what your credit score is and
  • how it can affect your financial future.

As a financial expert with years of experience in the credit score space, these tips are tried and accurate methods for improving your credit score. By following these guidelines and understanding your credit score, you’ll be on your way to a brighter financial future.

Knowing your credit score and how to maintain a good one is critical to unlocking the door to financial freedom.

So, don’t wait for another second; find out your credit score and get started on your journey to financial success.

FAQ – Other Questions You May Have About Credit Scores

FAQ frequently asked questions

What credit score does an 18 year old start with?

As I pointed out throughout the article.  Your credit score can range from 300-850 and typically when you start your score may fall between 550-650.  But there are many factors.

How Young Can I Check My Credit?

Children 13 and older can check their credit. Visit for free/  your child can enter their information to receive a copy of the report.
Sign up for Credit Karma for FREE to keep track of your credit score!!

Do minors have credit scores?  Does My Child have a credit score?

Typically only people over age 18 have a credit score.  It is possible for a minor to have a credit report. This is especially true if the minor is an authorized user or opened a joint account in the minor’s name.

How can I raise my credit score without a job?

One way to build credit without working is to be added as an authorized user on your parents account.  When you get added as an authorized user on someone else’s account, the account is added to your credit report.

How can I build credit with no income?

3 Ways to Grow Your Credit With No Income
– Become an authorized user on someone’s credit card account.
– Apply for a secured credit card.
– Understand payment relief options for student loans and other bills.

Credit scores can seem confusing, especially for those who have no credit or are just starting to build credit. Looking through answers to other commonly asked questions about what credit score you start with and what you can do to improve it going forward can help.

Some reputable sources for information on credit scores include:

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Note: The content provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as financial or legal advice. Consult with a professional advisor or accountant for personalized guidance.

Michael Ryan
Michael Ryan
Who Am I? I'm Michael Ryan, a retired financial planner turned personal financial coach. And author and found of blog. My advice is backed by decades of hands-on experience in finance and recognition in esteemed publications like US News & World Report, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance. 'here'. Find answers to your financial questions, from budgeting to investing and retirement planning, on my blog My mission is to democratize financial literacy for all.