A 680 FICO score is considered only a fair credit rating, according to the standards set by the Fair Isaac Corporation. The calculation for each of the three major credit reporting bureaus -- Experian, Equifax and TransUnion -- is based on the credit history that each company has for you. FICO scores range overall from a low of 300 to a top score of 850. While it's not a terrible number, a 680 FICO score can make it more difficult to get a loan.
Poor to Excellent Scores
FICO scores from 300 to 649 are considered poor, while scores from 650 to 699 rank as fair. A score in the fair range means you may be approved for a loan, but you'll probably have to pay a higher interest rate than someone with a good or excellent score. Your loan application also might be turned down.
A score of 700 to 749 is considered good, and means you'll probably get your loan approved. An excellent score ranges from 750 to 850, carrying the best chances of loan approval with the lowest available rate of interest.
The Breakdown of Your Score
On its myFICO website, the Fair Isaac company discloses how it weighs the various components of your FICO score:
- Your payment history counts for 35 percent of your score.
- Amounts owed make up 30 percent.
- The length of your credit history counts for 15 percent.
- New credit counts for 10 percent.
- The range of credit types, such as credit card accounts or mortgages, make up 10 percent.
A particular component may be more or less important in your own score because of individual differences, such as the length of your credit history.
More than 9 out of 10 lenders use your FICO score when qualifying you for loans, according to Fair Isaac. The required score depends on the lender, and a fair credit score isn't always a dealbreaker. A 680 FICO score, for example, can qualify you for a Federal Housing Administration mortgage with only 3.5 percent down.
However, a 680 FICO won't qualify you for the best rates on a traditional mortgage. According to Bankrate.com, mortgage lenders typically require a FICO score of at least 740 for their best rates.
Increasing Your Score
Borrowers with fair FICO scores typically have at least one account past due and use all their available credit, Fair Isaac reports. They also usually owe more than $4,500 on credit cards.
To raise your 680 score to the excellent range, Fair Isaac recommends paying all of your bills on time without fail and using less than 10 percent of your available credit. This typically means owing less than $3,500 on your credit cards. Showing responsible credit use over time also boosts your credit score.