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Guides

What’s Considered a Bad Credit Score?

Mike Randall 1/11/18

No one wants a bad credit score. We all know it affects what we pay for insurance and our ability to borrow money, land a job, or rent a house. Avoiding a bad credit score is just the smart thing to do.

But what exactly is considered a bad credit score? Is there a magic number that is seen as a risk? Actually, there is — but it’s a little complicated.

Anything Below 660, Theoretically Speaking.

Everyone who has ever gotten a loan, charged something on a credit card, or paid a bill has a credit score. The scoring system the major credit rating agencies use is called the FICO system, and it has a range of between 300 and 850 points.

Using this system, a score of 850 is the best you can be assigned.

Depending on the credit rating agency you ask and what region of the country you’re in, the average credit score in the U.S. is between 660 and 700. Theoretically, this means a credit score below 660 is considered a bad credit score.

However, FICO itself considers a score of between 625 and 659 to be a “standard” rating. The score range they reserve for “subprime” is 624 and below.

If your credit score is above 700, you can be pretty sure banks and lenders will see you positively. Below 650 points or so and it’s a gamble.

If you are one of those unfortunate enough to have a score in the subprime category, there are things you can do to improve your credit score.

Lexington Law Credit Repair Can Help

By paying your bills when they’re due, you receive a positive weighting on your credit score. The more you meet your obligations and pay your debts, the better your credit score is likely to be. But if you should fall behind in your payments or default on a loan, your credit score will take a hit. And it doesn’t take too many of these hits to bring your credit score crashing down to earth.

A credit repair service can remove negative items from your credit reports. Lexington Law’s past clients have seen an average of 10.2 negative items removed from their credit reports within four months. It’s definitely worth it if you’ve got some things on your report dragging your score down.

★★★★★
4.9 /5.0 Stars
  • Free consultation: 1-855-200-2394
  • Most results of any credit repair law firm
  • Clients saw over 9 million negative items removed from their credit reports in 2016
  • More than 500,000 credit repair cleints helped
  • Cancel anytime
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Better Business Bureau A+
In Business Since 2004
Monthly Cost $79.95
Our Expert Review 4.9/5.0 (see review)

Consultations are free and there’s never any obligation. Lexington Law also has a good reputation, sporting 4.5 stars with Consumer Affairs.

A Secured Credit Card is Another Good Option

A secured credit card can actually help boost your score when you use it responsibly. By responsibly, we mean always paying your monthly bills on time, never missing a payment, and keeping your credit utilization ratio low. Here are the top-rated secured cards for folks looking to rebuild their credit as reviewed by our experts:

★★★★★
4.8 /5.0 Stars
  • Checking account required
  • We may approve those currently building their credit history
  • No security deposit required
  • Application response in 30 seconds
  • Know the score! Quarterly FICO score on your monthly billing statement
  • All credit types welcome to apply
  • Your First PREMIER Bank credit card activity is reported to the Consumer Reporting Agencies each month. Making your payment on time and keeping your balances low relative to the credit limit will result in positive marks on your credit report
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See issuer website
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 6 minutes
★★★★★
4.8 /5.0 Stars
  • Holiday gifts they'll like, payments you'll love! Use your line of credit to shop over 550,000 items from great brands like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
  • Take advantage of low monthly payments if you apply and are accepted for a Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank, who determines eligibility and qualifications for the terms of credit
  • Fast, easy online application process and a quick decision
  • Not an access card
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See issuer website
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 5 Minutes
★★★★★
4.7 /5.0 Stars
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Initial Credit Limit of $500.00! (subject to available credit)
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Use your card at locations everywhere that Mastercard® is accepted
  • Free online account access 24/7
  • Checking Account Required
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate See terms
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 9 Minutes

A secured credit card works the same as an unsecured card — the only difference is that it requires a deposit to secure your line of credit.

Remember, nothing is permanent. Our credit scores are being recalculated all the time. With a little help, you can quickly improve yours.

Photo source: bobrutledge.com.

About Mike Randall
Mike Randall is most knowledgeable in the areas of credit scores and credit cards, having written on those topics and others for the past eight years. He graduated from California State University with a degree in English literature, and he has an extensive background in personal finance studies. When he's not keeping BadCredit.org readers informed of changes in the subprime market, Mike’s hobbies include sailing and gourmet cooking. Connect with Mike on Google+.
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