What does “credit score” mean?

When it comes to buying a home, your credit score can be a pretty big deal. Of course, you don’t have to have perfect credit to get a mortgage. But generally, the higher your credit score, the more choices and better rates you’ll have when you do apply for a mortgage.

Credit score ranges

There are several credit reporting agencies and all use a slightly different set of ranges. While the specifics vary, these ranges from TransUnion® offer an idea of what the numbers mean:

  • 850 – 781: Excellent
  • 780 – 720: Very good
  • 719 – 658: Good
  • 657 – 601: Fair
  • 600 – 300: Poor

Credit score factors

Factors that affect your credit score can fit into five categories and are spelled out in more detail in your credit report. Here are the categories that can affect your score:

  • Payment history
  • Amounts owed
  • Length of credit history
  • Amount of new credit
  • Types of credit

How much do you know about credit?

Test your knowledge.

Understanding how credit works is the first step toward building it, improving it and making it work for you. Take this quiz and see where you stand.

Check your credit score.

If you’re a U.S. Bank customer, you can check your VantageScore® credit score from TransUnion® for free.1 This score is for educational purposes and isn’t used by U.S. Bank to make credit decisions.

Review your credit report.

Lenders use your credit report to assess what kind of borrower you are. And you can also check your report once a year for free via annualcreditreport.com to make sure it’s accurate.

Get closer to your new home.

Are you ready to start taking steps toward a new home? If your answer is yes, get a basic estimate of what you may be able to borrow in just a few minutes or connect with a mortgage loan officer about your mortgage options.

What are lenders looking for?

Now that you know your credit score, you might wonder if you’ll need help with credit to buy a house. It’s worth understanding how lenders might view your credit, so you’ll know what to expect when you apply for a mortgage. (Guess what? There are lending options for many credit scores and situations — more than you might expect.)


Understand the 5 C’s.

Just like the five categories that can impact your credit score, lenders also have criteria you need to meet before they’ll give you credit. Get familiar with the 5 C’s.


Know your debt-to-income ratio.

Along with your credit score and credit history, lenders will look at how much you owe against how much money you bring in. This is known as your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI.


Credit scores affect mortgages.

While credit score isn’t the only deciding factor in the mortgage process, it does play a major role. Read on to see where your score stands and how to build credit to buy a house.


Take steps to prepare.

There are things you can do to make buying a home with low income possible, like boosting your credit score, paying down debt, creating a budget and more.

Ready to manage your score?

You’ve got the basics about credit figured out. You know your score, understand what it means and have an idea of how lenders will respond to it. If you like your score the way it is, maintain it! If not, here are suggestions to help you raise it.


Build and maintain a solid score and history.

The easiest way to boost your credit score is to establish good habits, but knowing where to start and what to prioritize can be tricky. We break it down into five easy steps.


Six tips for a better credit score

Maybe you’ve looked at your credit score and see room for improvement. Check out this video and read through our tips on how to build up (or maintain) your score.


Truth and myths revealed

There are plenty of rumors about what affects credit scores, and what can be done to improve them. Get insight from some of our client relationship specialists.

Take Action

Have you found a home you love? Start your application process.

We’ll confirm your personal and financial information, pull your credit, and then a mortgage loan officer will connect with you about the results.

Looking for more information on affordable housing and mortgages?

If you’re interested in down payment assistance or grant programs for homebuyers with limited incomes, check out our access to homeownership resources. Learn about mortgages you might not have heard about, connect to mortgage loan officers and find answers to even more of your homebuying questions.

Start of disclosure content
  1. Free credit score access, Alerts and Score Simulator through TransUnion’s CreditView Dashboard are available to U.S. Bank online and mobile banking customers only. Alerts require a TransUnion database match. It is possible that some enrolled members may not qualify for alert functionality. The free VantageScore® credit score from TransUnion® is for educational purposes only and is not used by U.S. Bank to make credit decisions.

Start of disclosure content

Loan approval is subject to credit approval and program guidelines. Not all loan programs are available in all states for all loan amounts. Interest rates and program terms are subject to change without notice. Mortgage, home equity and credit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Deposit products are offered by U.S. Bank National Association. Member FDIC.