What Is a Prime Credit Score?

Credit can be a useful tool as long as it is not abused.

Credit can be a useful tool as long as it is not abused.

A prime credit score can be hard for young couples to attain, because the length of your credit history plays a role in building up your score. However, the benefits of a prime credit score make it worth striving for. If you ever want to buy or refinance a home, take out a car loan or borrow money from a bank, a prime credit score can help save you money on interest rates.

Credit Scoring Scale

Many lenders use their own proprietary scoring scales, but there is only one standard industry-wide credit score, the Fair Isaac Corporation, or FICO, score. FICO scores have a range of 300 to 850. Scores of 700 or over are considered high, with scores topping 720 generally qualifying for prime interest rates.


The main benefit of having a prime credit score is the ability to receive additional credit at the lowest possible rates. Lenders price loans based on the risk that a borrower represents. If you have a top tier or "prime" credit score, lenders view you as likely to pay a loan back. Since you represent a lower risk, lenders will extend you a lower interest rate to earn your business. A prime credit score may also allow you to receive a higher credit line than a borrower with a lower score may be able to obtain.

Ways to Improve

A credit score is made up of five major components: payment history, amount owed, length of credit history, new credit and types of credit used. Of these, the most important factors are payment history and amounts owed. If you have a low credit score, you can improve toward a prime credit score by always making your payments on time and lowering the amount of your debt. Acquiring diverse lines of credit over time, such as car loans, credit cards and mortgages, can also help your score as long as you make your payments and keep your overall debt limits low.

Effect of Negative Marks

If you have negative marks in your credit history, it can take a considerable amount of time to reach a prime credit score. Making late payments, having accounts in collections or filing bankruptcy are all black marks that will stay on your credit history for seven years, or 10 years in the case of bankruptcy. During this time, the largest single factor in your credit history, your payment history, will be negatively impacted, most likely precluding you from getting a prime credit score.


About the Author

After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English from UCLA, John Csiszar earned a Certified Financial Planner designation and served 18 years as an investment adviser. Csiszar has served as a technical writer for various financial firms and has extensive experience writing for online publications.

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