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Prime time for understanding credit

woman enjoying a cup of coffee while working on her laptop with text overlay 'Prime Time For Understanding Credit' September 17, 2018

Prime time for understanding credit

When you hear “prime,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Prime rib? Prime numbers? Optimus Prime? Chances are, your brain doesn’t go immediately to anything related to financing. Understanding what constitutes different levels of financing and the “prime” terminology that goes with them can help you stay on track to a good credit score.

It’s also important to remember that scoring models from credit bureaus, financing companies and FICO® can differ, so the credit tier you fit into can vary depending on who you’re financing with.

Conditions and Requirements

Depending on your credit score and history, lenders might ask for:

  • Proof of income like a pay stub
  • Proof of residence like a bill
  • Personal references
  • Down payment

Prime: >680

If your credit score is above 680, congratulations! You’re considered a “prime” customer, and you can typically expect lower interest rates and fewer requirements or documentation to get financed. Rates vary, but prime customers can look forward to interest rates in the single digits.

If you’re considered prime, that doesn’t mean your work is done. Continue to maintain healthy credit habits by strengthening your financial standing and striving for a lifetime of good credit.

Near Prime: 620-679

Just below prime credit scores are those that are considered “near prime.” With scores typically ranging from 620 to 679, these customers can anticipate credit rates in the high single digits or low double digits. They also might be asked to provide additional Conditions and Requirements.

Sometimes near-prime customers simply need to adjust a few of their credit habits to move their way into prime territory. Knowing how credit works, how credit is built and how often to check your credit report are a few ways to make sure you’re on the right path.

Subprime: <620

Credit scores that are less than 620 are considered “subprime” or “nonprime.” Lenders consider customers with these credit scores to be higher risk, so those who are subprime will probably be looking at interest rates in the mid-teens and up. These customers will also likely be asked to provide Conditions and Requirements and a higher down payment.

If your credit score is considered subprime, there are steps you can take to help improve it. Know what makes up your credit score and begin developing productive credit habits to start getting on the right path.

By Scooter Hendon, GM Financial

GM Financial’s Scooter Hendon might have a funny name, but he’s serious about educating customers about financing their vehicles – and no, not the foot-powered kind on two wheels.

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