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America’s Most-Searched Credit Questions (And the Answers to Them)

Sep 20, 2022 05:12PM ● By Charlie Dowling-Jones

“What is a good credit score?” is searched more than 100,000 times each month in the U.S. The second most searched credit question is, “What is APR?” which is Googled 59,000 times each month 

Financial experts from Forbes Advisor answer America’s most searched credit questions 

The study by financial comparison site Forbes Advisor analyzed thousands of credit-related search terms to see which is Googled the most, with the most common phrase inquiring how to obtain a good credit score. 

In third place is, “How to build credit,” which is Googled 40,000 times a month on average. 

The top five is rounded out by, “What is the highest credit score?” in fourth with 25,000 monthly searches, followed by 19,000 searches each month for, “What does APR mean?”

“How many credit cards should I have?” ranks as the sixth most-searched credit question, thanks to an estimated average of 18,000 searches each month, followed in seventh by, “How to check credit score,” with 17,000 monthly searches.  

A trio of credit score queries take up positions eight, nine and 10, with, “How to improve credit score” on 16,000 searches, along with “How to check your credit score” and “How to increase credit score,” with 13,000 monthly searches each. 

Forbes Advisor recruited its financial experts to provide the definitive answer to each of these key credit questions: 

1. What is a good credit score? 

FICO, the most widely known credit scoring model, says a credit score between 670 and 739 is generally considered “good.” That’s on a scale from 300 to 850. FICO scores help lenders predict the risk of a borrower defaulting on a loan. The higher your score, the lower the risk you represent to anyone who lends you money. A higher score also makes it more likely you’ll qualify for the best offers. 

2.What is APR? 

APR stands for annual percentage rate. It’s a calculation of loan’s interest rate and a loan’s finance charges over time -- the total cost of credit. APR accounts for interest, fees and time. If your APR is similar to the interest rate that shows you the lender isn’t charging many additional fees.  

3. How can I build credit? 

To build credit you must first establish responsible credit habits. That means you should always make payments on time, every time. Pay your credit balances in full, if you can. Use credit responsibly, meaning keeping your utilization ratio (how much credit you use versus. how much is available to you) below 30 percent. Keep old credit card accounts open even if you don’t use them anymore — this can help increase the average age of your credit history. 

4. What is the highest credit score? 

The FICO score is the credit score most commonly used by lenders. It has a scale that ranges from 300 on the low end to 850 on the high end. FICO says less than 2 percent of U.S. consumers have an 850 credit score. But you don’t need to have the highest credit score in order to get the best available rates on loans. Credit scores of 740 to 799 are considered “very good,” while any score 800 or higher is treated as “exceptional.” 

5.How many credit cards should I have? 

The answer to this question is different for everyone based on their credit history and credit needs. All you need is one credit card in order to build a solid credit history. But you may be interested in using multiple cards in order to take advantage of different rewards programs or card features. If you can handle credit responsibly, there’s nothing wrong with have multiple credit cards. But if you can’t afford to pay your credit cards bills in full every month, you probably shouldn’t add another card to your wallet.  

6. How can I check my credit score? 

There are three primary ways to check your credit score: free credit scoring websites, your credit card provider and nonprofit credit counselors. The easiest way to get your score is probably through your card issuer. All major issuers offer free access to credit scores either on a weekly or monthly basis. 

The data in this article came from a study commissioned by Forbes Advisor,