A credit score above 680 is good, according to Credit.org, and a score above 740 is excellent. The median score in the United States is 723, meaning that half of all credit-owning Americans have credit at or above that level.
To improve a credit score, the Federal Trade Commission recommends that individuals make sure that they have demonstrated their ability to manage credit responsible. This includes paying bills on time. Late and unpaid bills have a negative effect on a credit score as does bankruptcy.
Maxing out available credit is often harmful to a credit score, adds the FTC. Scoring systems frequently use a ratio of available credit to credit used to determine the credit score, and owing an amount close to a person's credit limit has a negative effect on his score.
The amount of time an individual has had credit is also factored into credit score, with new credit owners incurring a slight penalty, notes the FTC. This penalty is easily offset by paying bills on time.
Applying for too much credit in a short time also has a negative effect on a score, states the FTC. It is best to apply for new credit gradually and only when necessary. The number of credit accounts also affects a person's score; having established credit accounts is generally helpful, although having too many new accounts is harmful.