Yes, it is possible to have a credit score of at least 700 with a collections remark on your credit report, however it is not a common situation.
It depends on several contributing factors such as:
- differences in the scoring models being used
- the age of collections
- number of collections
- whether some or all of the collections are less than $100
- if the collections have been settled, or included in a bankruptcy
How is my credit score calculated?
In simple terms, the algorithms of credit scoring models begin with a perfect score for every consumer.
This score is then cross referenced with the consumer’s real world information such as payment history, length of credit history, and so on.
Points are deducted for every circumstance that, according to the algorithm, is less than ideal. What remains is the consumer’s credit score.
What many consumers do not realize is there is no singular score model.
FICO has over 50 scoring models that can be used by various creditors, insurance companies, and rental agencies.
Each is weighted with slight differences in importance. For example, a boat dealership may use a scoring model that puts emphasis on boat loan payment history since that is the specific area of interest.
Algorithms are proprietary so the specifics of these calculations are generally unknown to the public and can only be determined by observing behavioral trends that negatively or positively impact credit score.
What is a credit scoring model?
A scoring model is a formula used to determine the likelihood that a potential borrower will end up with delinquent credit issues, such as:
And the score is typically calculated with varying influences from the following factors:
- credit utilization
- different types of credit
- payment history
- age of credit accounts
- new credit accounts
It’s important to note that there are different types of scoring models, where each:
- provides varied weighting on factors mentioned above, or
- ignores certain factors from the score calculation entirely.
FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation until 2013)
Widely used both domestically and internationally, 95% of lenders use FICO. Credit score range is 300-850.
Because creditors, banks, employers, insurance companies, and rental agencies will utilize different scoring models, an individual FICO score will vary from one place to the next.
It should be noted that the FICO 9 version does not overlook paid collections. This is reassuring since prior models assumed collections to be negative whether paid or unpaid.
This scoring model was created as collaboration between Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
It is slowly gaining popularity as a FICO competitor, but with just over 2500 unique users, it remains a far distant second.
Until recently the VantageScore range started at 0, but a recent update adjusted the scoring range to be consistent with FICO at 300-850.
Credit scoring versions 3.0 and 4.0 are improved and also no longer calculate paid collections the same as unpaid.
Like the FICO 9 version, paid collections are positive.
What is different between FICO and VantageScore?
Although, the FICO and VantageScore models both have the same lower and upper limit their range, they differ slightly in their categorizations of grade within this spectrum.
In the table above, both scoring models range from 300 to 850, but are broken into graded sections, with slightly different coverages, visualized in the infographic below.
What’s interesting is that VantageScore places more weight on the upper side of the spectrum, which means that higher grades are given more coverage.
This means that whilst a credit score under VantageScore is considered Excellent, it may only be Very Good under FICO standards.
Can you have a credit score of 0?
As far as the FICO and VantageScore scoring models are concerned, it is not possible to have a credit score of 0.
There are situations however where consumers have indicated the following:
- credit score went from 552 to 0
- credit score of 4
These concerns appear across the Internet from time to time, but they are most likely the result of:
- Technical errors: Given the fact that scoring models start at 300, it is best to assume that these may have been momentary technical errors or misunderstanding regarding the data received by the consumer.
- Inactivity: If you’ve only been using credit for a short time, have never used credit before, or you have been inactive with using credit for at least 6 months, your credit report may inadvertently display what seems to be quite a low score of 0 or in some cases, 4, which generally means “no credit”.
- Uncommon scoring model: If such a score was provided, a possible likelihood is that the scoring model was not FICO or VantageScore but another entirely.
Does the collection amount affect your credit score?
Collections that are less than $100 will not significantly impact credit score, and possibly not at all depending on the score model being used.
Collections over $100 will negatively impact credit score, and quite severely depending on the amount and how many there are.
It is always best to pay collections if or when it is financially possible.
Depending on the scoring model used, paid collections may not significantly impact credit score however, a creditor will always view paid collections in a positive light.
Paying off collections demonstrates accountability and a commitment to actively improving a negative credit situation.
Is 700 a good credit score?
The majority of consumers hover between a credit score between 600 and 680, so 700 is would be categorized as relatively good.
Both FICO and VantageScore classify 700 to be a Good credit score, which means that it’s definitely not perfect.
It may have a few blemishes such as late payments and of course the possibility of having debt in collections.
Note also that only a handful of consumers who fall under this category will exhibit delinquency in their payments.
How much can I borrow with a 700 credit score?
You can borrow an amount commensurate with your income level, since a credit score of 700 is considered good.
However, if your credit report is stained with delinquencies such as 30 day late payments (perhaps even due to identity theft), collections, or charge-offs, the lender will likely grant approval with higher interest rates.
While 700 is considered a good credit score, qualification for specific loan amounts or types of credit is also dependent on other factors such as:
- how much debt is already owed, and
- overall credit usage.
However, loan approval is far more likely with a credit score of 700 than one that is Fair or Poor, which would likely be denied and served with an adverse action notice.
What is a bad credit score?
A Poor credit score is any score below 580 according to FICO, but many creditors place higher interest rates and fees on loans within the Fair score range as well.
It is always better to achieve and maintain the highest score possible in every financial phase.
Is no credit better than bad credit?
For young borrowers, no credit is definitely better than bad credit. Establishing credit is all about making on-time payments over several months and years.
When a consumer has an established history, and then goes through a rough patch financially, it is often the depth of this solid payment history that will counterbalance delinquencies and other difficulties.
Credit scores will still drop significantly but not as severely had the prior history not been there in the first place.
What causes a bad credit score?
Credit scores drop for many reasons including:
- late payments
- short or long term delinquency
- over limit credit cards
- high credit usage
- significant increase in debt level
- multiple inquiries in a short amount of time.
All of these will contribute to a credit score dropping. But how low it goes will depend on the individual situation.
How to fix a bad credit score?
Credit scores are improved by making on-time payments and paying off debt as quickly as possible, using credit sparingly, and eliminating balances on all unpaid collections.
You also have the option to dispute any derogatory statement which you believe may be inaccurate. If you are successful, the statement will be removed (ideally by all credit agencies), after which your credit score will most likely improve.
Otherwise, any collections that you may have on your credit report will remain for 6 years and 9 months, before it is removed.
The effect of such a statement on your ability to borrow money will gradually wear off during this time, depending the number of collections you have of course.
There is no quick fix to raising a credit score, but taking small steps in this direction will have a long term impact and will significantly improve bad credit over time.
It may also be useful to determine the most likely credit bureau from which a particular creditor will pull your credit report.
Although financial institutions may vary the bureau from which they pull, they typically will have a preference. It will depend on the state in which you live and the credit card or loan for which you are applying.
Below is a list of a few financial institutions along with the bureau from which they will preferably pull your credit report.
|Creditor||Preferred credit bureau|
|American Express (AMEX)||Experian|
|Navy Federal (NFCU)||Equifax|
This information was sourced from creditboards.com, where consumers share the results of their credit applications regardless of whether they are successful or not.
Each preference is based on all the results compiled in the United States. If you are looking to find the preferred credit bureau at the state level, click on the creditor link for this information.
Knowing which credit bureau a particular creditor will likely pull from, will help guide you in determining which credit report to begin addressing first.