How does a credit score impact your ability to get credit?

Many people are finding that their credit scores have taken a big hit during these tough economic times. and as layoffs continue to mount more people will find they face a problem. In today's tight market if your score is below 650, you can probably forget about getting new credit.

People with scores between 650 and 700 may be able to get credit, but they'll pay higher interest rates. To get the best rates you'll need a score over 760, but that's been true for a long time. The big difference now is that fewer people have scores above 760 as the credit reporting agencies put tighter restrictions on those scores.

Most people who pay their bills on time and who carry average credit utilization of about 25% to 35%, fall in the level of 700 to 750. You have to use less than 20% of your available credit to get the best scores. You also should not have applied for credit more than twice in the past 12 months.