12 Best Loans & Credit Cards for 550 to 600 Credit Scores

12 Best Loans & Credit Cards for 550 to 600 Credit Scores
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Adam West
By: Adam West
Posted: November 21, 2019
Our popular “How-To” series is for those who seek to improve their subprime credit rating. Our articles follow strict editorial guidelines.

So, you’ve got a credit score in the 550 to 600 range, but what does that really mean? To some, it may seem average, but not to a lender or credit card company.

The average credit score for U.S. consumers is just above 700, which means anyone looking for loans and credit cards for a 550 to 600 credit score will likely be facing a challenge.

A score in the range of 550 to 600 straddles the line between a poor credit score and one that’s considered fair (580 to 669). But don’t let a low credit score deter you — there are loans and credit cards for 550 to 600 credit scores that can help people rebuild their below-average credit score.

Personal Loans | Credit Cards | Auto Loans | Home Loans | FAQs

Personal Loans: 550-600 Credit Score

Personal loans — also known as installment loans — are often used for emergencies in which you just need a bit of cash to see you through. This type of loan is paid back in monthly installments of a fixed amount, spread out over time.

Unlike cash advance or payday loans, a personal loan comes with a lower interest rate, and what are intended to be manageable monthly payments. You know the amount you’ll pay each month, and the exact length of time until the loan is paid off.

Here are some of the personal loan companies we recommend for folks with subprime credit scores.

  • Short-term loans up to $2,500
  • Online marketplace of lenders
  • Funds available in as few as 24 hours
  • Simple online form takes less than 5 minutes
  • Trusted by more than 2,000,000 customers
  • Not available in NY or CT
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Loan Amount Interest Rate Loan Term Loan Example
Up to $2,500 Varies Varies

See representative example

Some borrowers at the low end of the 550 to 600 credit score range may find it difficult to qualify for a standard installment loan. For these folks, MoneyMutual offers different types of short-term and installment loans for bad credit.

These “hybrid” loans are similar to a payday loan but repaying the loan can be extended over multiple pay periods. Loans can be approved for up to $2,500 depending on your qualifications and ability to repay.

MoneyMutual is not a direct lender, but rather a nationwide network of lenders that are willing to work with borrowers who have low credit scores. By filling out a single online application, you can potentially get loan offers from dozens of lending institutions. Any loan offers you receive will contain the terms, rates, APRs, and fees that each lender charges, so you can choose the loan that’s best for your situation.

   
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Loan Amount Interest Rate Loan Term Loan Example
$500 to $10,000 5.99% - 35.99% 3 to 72 Months

See representative example

Borrowers looking for a personal loan that can be repaid over a longer duration can turn to the CashUSA lender network. Loans of up to $10,000 are available depending on your qualifications, and many of the lenders in the CashUSA network offer rates from 5.99% to 35.99%. Repayment terms for these loans can be as short as 90 days to as long as 72 months.

There are no fees or costs to use the CashUSA network of lenders, and loan requests can often be approved in minutes. If approved, proceeds could be transferred into your checking account within 24 hours.

To be eligible for a loan from the CashUSA lender network you must be at least 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You also need to show you have an income of at least $1,000 a month, a checking account where the funds can be transferred to, and a valid email address and phone number.

A bad credit loan from CreditLoan.com is intended for people who can’t qualify for a standard installment loan, but don’t want to pay the high rates of a payday loan. The lenders in this network offer loans in amounts from $250 to $5,000, depending on a borrower’s ability to repay.

Applying for a loan with CreditLoan.com is as simple as submitting your information through the secure application process, reviewing any loan offers you receive, and choosing the lender that best fits your needs. After accepting the loan offer, funds can be available and deposited into your account in as little as 24 hours.

Borrowers do need to have a bank account where funds can be deposited, and must also meet certain minimum income requirements. Also, CreditLoan.com reports to the three major credit rating agencies, so making on-time payments can help improve your credit score.

Credit Cards: 550-600 Credit Score

While most credit card issuers want to focus on consumers with pristine credit, some recognize the needs of those with less lofty credit ratings. These cards may not come with all the perks and benefits of higher-tier cards, but when used wisely, they can help rebuild and repair a less-than-stellar credit score.

Credit cards are perhaps the easiest way to get your credit score back on track. That’s because they‘re typically the easiest type of credit to get, and the credit rating agencies can quickly see your track record of usage and payments.

Make those payments on time, and before you know it, your score could begin to rise. Here are some cards that we recommend for credit scores in the 550 to 600 range.

  • Easy application! Get a credit decision in seconds.
  • Build your credit history – Fingerhut reports to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • Use your line of credit to shop thousands of items from great brands like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
  • Not an access card
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 Minutes See issuer website Yes 9.0/10

Fingerhut is an online retailer that specializes in helping consumers establish or rebuild their credit. While not technically a credit card, the Fingerhut Credit Account allows consumers to buy products online and have their payment history reported to the three major credit rating agencies. The line of credit can be used just like a credit card to shop from among thousands of name-brand products in the Fingerhut online catalog.

A Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account issued by WebBank is meant to help consumers build credit, but applicants who don’t qualify are automatically considered for a FreshStart Installment Loan. This is still a credit-builder account but requires a small down payment to make a purchase.

Because the Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account and the FreshStart Installment Loan are true revolving credit accounts, they’re a great way to make the most of purchases for things you need. That’s because the credit bureaus place a high value on payments made toward revolving credit lines. By making on-time payments, you could soon see your credit score begin to increase.

  • Checking account required
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • A genuine Visa card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • If approved, simply pay a program fee to open your account and access your available credit
  • Reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 Minutes See terms Yes 8.5/10

People with credit challenges know one thing; a credit card is both necessary and very hard to get. That’s why the Total Visa® Card is a great option.

You won’t need a security deposit for the Total Visa® Card because it is an unsecured credit card. While this card is designed to help you build credit, there are some things you need to know before applying — mainly that it comes with some very high fees.

For one, there’s the processing fee just for opening the account. Next is the annual fee, which drops after the first year.

The processing fee is paid upfront, and the annual fee is deducted from the card’s $300 credit line, which doesn’t leave much to spend. Finally, if you do keep the card past the first year, it will cost you $6.25 a month in service fees.

If you can stomach all the fees, the Total Visa® Card may still be worth getting, but we recommend it purely as a credit-building card. Pay your bill on time and carefully watch your credit limit. With some luck and responsibility, you’ll have a high enough score in a year to qualify for a more traditional card.

  • Get the security and convenience of a full-feature, unsecured Visa® Credit Card – accepted at millions of merchant and ATM locations nationwide and online
  • Reporting monthly to all three major credit reporting agencies
  • Perfect credit not required for approval; we may approve you when others won’t
  • Easy and secure online application
  • If approved, pay a Program Fee and you can access the $300 credit limit (subject to available credit)
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
10 Minutes See Terms Yes 8.0/10

Credit cards for folks with bad credit are intended for one purpose — to help you build or rebuild credit. That’s because these cards typically have low credit limits, high fees, and steep APRs. However, they are great at what they’re meant to do.

The First Access Solid Black Visa is such a card. The one-time program fee plus the annual fee is quite steep. And, considering the $300 credit limit from which the annual fee is automatically deducted, you may wonder what the advantage of this card is.

The First Access Visa isn’t meant to be a card you cherish and grow old with. It’s a credit-building card — pure and simple. And it does exactly what it’s supposed to do.

That is as long as you make timely payments and don’t exceed your credit line. Use it to pay your monthly data plan or insurance bill and pay it off as soon as you receive the statement. Within a year you may have a credit score that qualifies you for a better card.

Auto Loans: 550-600 Credit Score

Getting an auto loan when you have a low credit score may seem like a stretch, but this type of loan can be easier to get for credit-challenged borrowers. That’s because an auto loan is secured by a lien on the vehicle, meaning lenders carry less risk than they would with a personal or unsecured loan.

Of course, one thing to remember with an auto loan is that the vehicle belongs to the lender until it’s paid off, shifting the risk to the borrower. If you don’t make the payments, the vehicle can be repossessed.

However, having a vehicle and the chance to rebuild your credit by making on-time payments helps compensate for that risk. Here are some lenders we recommend for low credit score auto loans.

  • Network of dealer partners has closed $1 billion in bad credit auto loans
  • Specializes in bad credit, no credit, bankruptcy and repossession
  • In business since 1999
  • Easy, 30-second pre-qualification form
  • Bad credit applicants must have $1500/month income to qualify
  • Click here for application, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.9

Overall Rating

Interest Rate In Business Since Application Length Reputation Score
3.99% - 29.99% 1999 3 minutes 9.5/10

One of the things you realize when you have bad credit is that just about everything is harder, and that’s especially true of car shopping. Auto Credit Express is working to change that fact of life. By working with a nationwide network of dealers, this bad credit auto loan specialist is able to match buyers with a local dealership willing to work with them.

Getting matched with a dealership through Auto Credit Express is fast and easy with the secure online application process. And while there are no minimum credit score requirements, you do need to have a monthly income of at least $1,500 to qualify.

By working directly with dealerships, Auto Credit Express provides more flexibility than dealing with a bank or credit union. And with a network of more than 1,300 dealerships across the country, they can help just about anyone get financed.

For more than 25 years Car.Loan.com has been the place to turn to if you’re having trouble getting financed. Specializing in auto loans for bankruptcy, bad credit, first-time, and subprime car buyers, the experts at Car.Loan.com can help consumers with any credit type. The online loan request takes just three minutes, and you could get loan offers from multiple dealerships near you.

The Car.Loan.com online lending process works by connecting you with special finance lenders who look at factors beyond your credit score when considering your loan request. If you have a consistent income and steady employment history, this can help overcome a low credit score.

A quick and easy application will let you know if you’re prequalified at a local dealership. Once you receive your prequalification, simply visit the dealership and decide on the vehicle that’s right for you. Since you’re prequalified, the application and approval process is fast, and you could be on the road that same day.

Whether you need a new or used vehicle, want to refinance an existing loan, or want to buy out a lease, myAutoloan.com can help. Working with a nationwide network of lenders, myAutoloan matches people of all credit types with the right lender for their situation. And by setting up your financing in advance, the trip to the dealership can be a breeze.

Applying for a loan with myAutoloan is free, fast, and easy using the secure and confidential application process. Prospective car buyers can receive multiple offers within minutes and can choose the one that best suits their needs.

You can use the interest rate estimator and payment calculator to see just how much you can afford, then request the exact loan for you. Then simply select the loan type you need, and wait for the offers to come in.

Home Loans: 550-600 Credit Score

There is perhaps no other area where a credit score is more important than when applying for a home loan. Prospective borrowers with low credit scores need to make good in numerous other ways to compensate for subpar credit. The good news, however, is that it can be done.

Factors that can influence a mortgage lender to look past your 550 to 600 credit score include a large down payment, low debt-to-income ratio, a lengthy employment record, and frankly, a high income.

Some lenders may consider these mitigating factors as carrying more significance than a low credit score. Here are some we recommend.

  • Options for: home purchase, refinance, home equity, and reverse mortgage
  • Lenders compete for your business
  • Receive up to 5 offers in minutes, and pick the best offer for you
  • Founded in 1996, LendingTree has facilitated 55 million+ loan requests and $250 billion+ in closed loan transactions
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.9

Overall Rating

Interest Rate In Business Since Application Length Reputation Score
Varies by Applicant 1996 7 Minutes 9.0/10

As one of the largest and best-known lender networks around, LendingTree can help even bad credit borrowers get a home loan. Whether you’re looking to buy a home, refinance, get a home equity loan, or even a reverse mortgage, LendingTree can send you multiple offers to choose from.

Plus, the LendingTree website has resources and information designed to optimize your search for the right home loan. One of the biggest advantages of choosing a large lending network like LendingTree is the time and effort you save.

Rather than applying to multiple lenders or banks, one simple application through the LendingTree online loan marketplace gets your loan request in front of dozens of lenders. This can be especially helpful for borrowers with bad credit since lenders know your situation right upfront.

  • Options for: refinance only
  • Get 4 free refinance quotes in 30 seconds
  • Network of lenders compete for your loan
  • Trusted by 2 million+ home loan borrowers to date
  • Interest rates are near all-time lows
  • Click here for application, terms, and details.
 
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Interest Rate In Business Since Application Length Reputation Score
Varies 2004 4 minutes 8.5/10

Homebuyers with low credit scores have limited options when it comes to finding a home loan. Fortunately, the government’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insures mortgages for people who would not otherwise qualify.

FHA-backed mortgages give lenders protection against potential default by a borrower. FHA Rate Guide is an online directory of lenders who offer FHA loans for consumers who don’t qualify for a conventional loan.

Rather than having a network of participating lenders, FHA Rate Guide offers consumers a list of lenders that match their submitted requirements. Because these lenders aren’t part of a network, there are theoretically more options to choose from. The downside, though, is a little more work for the borrower in applying to each lender separately.

  • Easy to OwnSM programs give options for those with lower income, limited credit history, and low down payment needs.
  • Provides the potential for minimal out-of-pocket expenses with seller contributions.
  • Offers loans that don't require monthly mortgage insurance.
  • Requires less cash upfront for your down payment and closing costs.
  • Click here for application, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.5

Overall Rating

Interest Rate In Business Since Application Length Reputation Score
Varies 1852 6 Minutes 8.0/10

As one of the largest direct home mortgage lenders in the country, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage has programs to help even borrowers with low credit scores. Some of these loans require less cash upfront and can even allow the use of funds received as a gift for the down payment.

Government programs like FHA, VA, or the Guaranteed Rural Housing program can have less strict requirements.

A word of caution, though, for those at the low end of the credit spectrum — compensating factors will likely be required to qualify for most conventional loans. These factors can include having a large down payment, a low debt-to-income ratio or no debt at all, and a high income or access to large cash reserves.

FAQs About Bad Credit Loans

Getting approved for a loan when you have bad credit can feel like you’ve just been thrown a lifeline, but don’t forget that it also comes with risks. Bad credit loans have higher interest rates and fees, and stricter penalties than do conventional loans, and there is far less room for error — such as missing a payment.

Here are some other things you need to know about bad credit loans.

Is a 600 Credit Score Bad?

The FICO credit scoring model assigns a number between 300 and 850 to represent an individual’s overall creditworthiness. This means a score of 600 is nearly smack in the middle of that range, but a 600 score actually falls into the lower 1/3 of all credit scores in the U.S.

FICO® Score Range

According to FICO, a 600 credit score is in the range considered “fair,” but just barely. Anything below 580 is deemed to be a bad credit score.

Can I Get Approved for a Credit Card with a 600 Credit Score?

A credit score of 600 is high enough for you to be considered for a credit card. But don’t have any illusions — a 600 score is still subprime, and the cards you qualify for are likely to come with high fees, a high APR, and a low credit limit.

However, any card company that gives you an unsecured credit card will report to the credit rating agencies, so using your card wisely and making on-time payments is likely to boost your credit score. This will make approval for credit cards easier in the future.

What is the Minimum Credit Score for a Loan?

The minimum credit score required for any loan depends on several factors, including the type of loan and the amount needed. In addition to your credit score, a lender will consider other personal financial information, such as your earnings, job stability, overall debt, bankruptcy or defaults, length of credit history, recent financial record, and other mitigating circumstances.

The loan request is scrutinized to determine whether enough positive factors exist to overcome a low credit score. Things such as the down payment amount, whether there is collateral as in the case of a vehicle loan or mortgage, the loan term, APR — all these factors will also come into play.

Can I buy a House with a 600 Credit Score?

According to FHA credit requirements, a score of 580 or higher can qualify you for a mortgage with as little as 3.5% down. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee you will get approved, as there are many other factors that need to work in your favor.

In addition to your credit score, a lender is likely to look for things that may include no late payments in the past six to 12 months, a high income and/or low debt-to-income ratio, and a low loan-to-value ratio.

FHA loans have the lowest credit score requirements of all mortgage programs, but not every home can be purchased with an FHA loan. If the seller won’t consider an FHA loan, you’ll need a much higher down payment to compensate for a 600 credit score. Your best bet is to raise your credit score before you apply for a mortgage.

Leverage Loans and Credit Cards to Increase Your Score

A credit score in the 550 to 600 range is low, but it’s not the end of the world. The factors that got you here aren’t permanent, and neither is your score.

The actions you take going forward are going to determine which direction your credit score goes from here. By making the most of the loans and credit cards for a 550 to 600 credit score we’ve outlined, you can take control and work toward increasing yours.

Range of credit scores covered in this article: 550, 551, 552, 553, 554, 555, 556, 557, 558, 559, 560, 561, 562, 563, 564, 565, 566, 567, 568, 569, 570, 571, 572, 573, 574, 575, 576, 577, 578, 579, 580, 581, 582, 583, 584, 585, 586, 587, 588, 589, 590, 591, 592, 593, 594, 595, 596, 597, 598, 599, 600