Can't get approved for cash advance by banks, credit unions or other traditional financial institutions? Maybe, it's because of your bad credit score? To raise your chances find out the necessary information on credit score ranges, what good or bad credit is, how to check it and improve if necessary.

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Table of Contents:

What is credit score?

Credit score ranges

How to check Credit Score? 

Credit score free

What is a Good Credit Score? 

What is a bad credit score?

Сredit score range

Personal loans for credit score under 550

Max credit score

How to improve credit score

What is credit score?

Credit score is a figure which lenders, banks and other financial institutions use to assess how trustworthy or how risky you are as a borrower. This number is based on the information from your credit report.

Difference between fico and credit score

Credit scores are numbers that banks use to evaluate your creditworthiness. A FICO score is just one brand of credit score. The reason you’ve heard about it is because it’s the most widely used. 

Credit report vs credit score

Credit report is a detailed report of an individual's credit history prepared by a credit bureau. Credit bureaus collect information and create credit reports based on that information, and lenders use the reports along with other details to determine loan applicants' credit worthiness. 1

The information included is:

  • name, date of birth, your addresses from the past 6 years, and any financial associations with another person, e.g. joint mortgage. 
  • Whether you are registered to vote at your address
  • County Court Judgements (CCJs), bankruptcies and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs)
  • Credit account information: how much you owe and whether you have paid on time, the age of the account (including mortgages, credit cards, store cards)
  • ‘Hard’ searches carried out on your account
  • Fraud that has been committed using your name or any fraud that you've committed using someone else’s name

This information is collected from banks, lenders and utility companies. It’s updated once a month and saves the data for half a year.

Your credit report is given to you by one of the three main credit reference agencies (Equifax, Callcredit and Experian). It shows you how your credit report will look to lenders (the higher the score, the better it looks).

Credit history is a record of a borrower's responsible repayment of debts. A credit report is a record of the borrower's credit history from a number of sources, including banks, credit card companies, collection agencies, and governments. 2

Credit score ranges

According to your payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, new credit, types of credit used the score ranges are the following:

FICO

300 - 850

Experian

330 - 830

Equifax

300 - 850

TransUnion

300 - 850

VantageScore

501 - 990, A - F

FICO credit score

The most commonly recognized is FICO score, while Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are the biggest official organizations maintaining records for practically everyone in the USA, and VantageScore is rather new one. It was created to provide lenders with risk assessment across all three reporting agencies.

The most influential factors for your FICO score are your payment history and the debt you owe (65%) alongside with the length of your credit history, your credit mix, and new credit/inquiries (35%).

For VantageScore, the most important is your payment history. The next go the age and types of credit you have, combined with how much of your credit limit is in use.

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Actually, there are hundreds of credit scores. They may be specific to a certain credit bureau, or to the type of a loan. But fortunately, a few of them are more common and widely recognized than others. They are FICO, Experian, Equifax, TransUnion and Vantage scores. They share some of the main criteria identifying your creditworthiness but are slightly different. Let’s see how.

Read more: FICO credit sore.

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Transunion credit score

TransUnion, based in Chicago, Illinois, is the third largest credit bureau in the United States. It offers credit reports and other credit-related products directly to borrowers and lenders. TransUnion credit score ranges from 300 to 850, with the highest number being your goal for the best credit available. Good credit scores are generally 700 and above. Among the factors influencing the score Transunion puts your payment history at the first place.

Equifax credit score

The Equifax Credit Score ranges from 280 to 850, where higher scores indicate lower credit risk. It's almost the same as the FICO Score which uses a numerical range of 300 to 850, where higher scores also indicate lower credit risk.

Experian credit score

Experian credit scores are based on FICO and VantageScores. The calculations are done using the VantageScores model.

Experian also has its own scoring model, Experian PLUS. Experian PLUS scores range from 330 to 830 and are calculated similarly, but not identically to, to FICO Scores.

How to check Credit Score? 

Federal law allows you access to a free copy of each of your three reports every 12 months, so there’s no reason not to take advantage of this benefit. You can check your credit report from each bureau for free once per year from AnnualCreditReport.com. It’s recommended to get a report from each of them as the score may vary. You’d better ensure they have the most accurate and up to date information – otherwise your credit score could be affected.

Interesting to know!
9% of Americans worry that they won’t be able to pay off their debt in the long term future while 2% of them are planning to check their credit report more often and 2% are going to check their credit score more often. These tendencies are definitely interconnected and interdependent!3

When you request a copy of your credit report, you’ll see your financial history. It’s not the score. To get the score you need to purchase it from the company’s website. You can also sign up for a credit monitoring service if you expect to work on your credit score over time and want to view your progress on a regular basis. Just be sure to select a company that does indeed use the real FICO.

How long does it take to get a credit score?

It takes about 6 months to build up a credit score if you don't have any. On condition that you carry out a regular credit activity within 3 - 6 months, you'll be able to acquire a credit file enough to calculate your score.

In case you need to find out your credit score and wonder about the time of credit check - it is usually from 2 to 10 days which are necessary to get approved for the inquiry. Afterwards it takes much less time, sometimes a few seconds to learn your credit score.

Credit score calculator

Although credit scores are calculated on the basis of different methods by various credit bureaus, you can check an approximate score value usng any online credit score calculator. You will be required to enter some data such as:

  • if you have had a credit card or loan within the recent months;
  • when you had them;
  • what kinds of loans you have;
  • what your credit limit and credit balance are;
  • how many times you have applied for a loan this year;
  • if you have had any bankruptcies, debts, collection practices, etc.

Use a credit score calculator to help you determine a possible range of credit scores you have and be aware what type, amount of credit and rates you can count on.

Credit score free

You can apply for a free copy of your credit report from each of three major credit bureaus – Equifax®, Experian®, and TransUnion® – once each year at AnnualCreditReport.com or call toll-free 1-877-322-8228. Sometimes, in case of emergency, or if you think you've become a victim of a scammer, you can request an additional free credit report.

You can also see your credit report within 60 days of being refused a loan, or if you are on welfare, unemployed, or your report is inaccurate.

How to get a free credit score?

  • You can find your free FICO credit score on your monthly credit card statement.
  • Use free credit score websites such as CreditKarma.com, CreditSesame.com and Credit.com. 

Free FICO credit score

It's recommended to get free FICO® credit score directly from an authorized FICO® Score retailer to make sure it will be correct. The companies which provide FICO credit reports are Experian, Equifax, MyFICO. Apply online for free to check your score.

What is a Good Credit Score? 

Each lender determines what is a good or bad credit score. It can also vary according to the Credit Bureau you apply to and according to the type of loan you are going to take. However, there are several general score range points:

  • Excellent/very good credit score: 700 to 850
  • Good credit score: 680 to 699 (Average American score is 682)
  • Average/OK credit score: 620 to 679
  • Low credit score: 580 to 619
  • Poor credit score: 500 to 579
  • Bad credit score: 300 to 499

Credit score meaning is defined in the following table:

Credit title

Poor

Fair

Good

Very good

Exceptional

Credit score

300-579

580-669

670-739

740-799

800+

What does it mean?

You may be rejected. Or you may need to pay a fee or a deposit.

To get approved may be rather difficult and the rates are likely to be higher

You are an “acceptable” borrower

You may get better interest rates from lenders

You will be easily approved for a loan

27% of people have a very good score while only 2% - poor. The highest average score is in Wisconsin, the lowest – in Mississippi. Still any US resident with financial difficulties can apply and get approved for a loan. Those with very good or even exceptional score may qualify for any type, amount and lower rates loans, while the others can get a payday, personal or installment loan.

What is a bad credit score?

If you have a credit score between 580 and 669 according to the FICO scale, it means your credit score is bad, or poor. And you are considered a subprime or risky borrower, who is likely to have some problems repaying the loan.

According to the VantageScore models, a score of 601 to 660 is considered to be fair, while a score of 500 to 600 is poor. Scores between 300 and 499 are very poor.

Although there is some distinction between a low credit score and a bad credit score, it is important to note that many lenders consider consumers with scores under 620 as risky.

Сredit score range

The most widely used are FICO and VantageScore models, which range from 300 to 850. Good (690 and up) or excellent (720 and up) scores give you motre choice, lower rates and higher loan amounts.

credit score range

Personal loans for credit score under 550

Though credit score of 550 is bad credit, there still are some lenders ready to provide you certain types of Personal Loans, for example Payday Loans. You should be prepared to be charged high interest but in case of emergency it's the way out. Compare some of the top direct lenders offering bad credit Personal Loans:

 

Check Into Cash offers Payday Loans, Title Loans, Personal Installment Loans and other money products at affordable rates with convenient repayment. 

  • MIN Loan Amount: $50
  • MAX Loan Amount: $3000
  • Terms: Vary by state.
  • Rates and fees: 261% to 782% APR
  • Turnaround Time: 1 business day
  • Payday Loans
  • Online Payday Loans
  • Title Loans
  • Installment Loans
  • Online Installment Loans
  • Line of Credit
  • Flex Loans
  • Other Services
  • Check Cashing
  • Bill Pay
  • Western Union 
  • U.S. Money Card
  • Cell Phone Top-Ups
  • Sell Us Your Gift Cards For Cash
  • Active checking account open for 90+ days
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • Personal and work phone number
  • Valid email address
  • 21+ years old (19+ in Alabama)
  • Social Security number (for Indiana residents only)
Pros
  • You can get even as low as $50.
  • Quick funding on the next business day.
  • Money can be used for any personal needs.
Cons
  • Not available in every state.
  • APR can be more than 153.73% depending on your state.
  • High late payment fees.

 

 

Bad Credit Loans helps borrowers with bad credit score get the necessary urgent cash up to $5000. They connect you with reliable lenders who offer lower rates and affordable terms. 

  • MIN Loan Amount: $500
  • MAX Loan Amount: $5000
  • Terms: 3 - 36 months for Installment Loans
  • Rates and fees: 5.99% - 35.99% APR
  • Turnaround Time: 1 business day
  • Personal Loans
  • Business Loans
  • Credit Cards
  • Mortgage Loans
  • Home Loans
  • Student Loans
  • Auto Loans
  • a legal citizen of the US
  • an adult (age 18 or older)
  • a valid email address
  • a working phone number
  • the bank account where you’d like the money transferred. 
Pros
  • All credit score welcome
  • No collateral requirement
  • Easy loan request form.
  • Online processing
  • Quick Loan Request Decision
  • Rapid disbursement
Cons
  • High interest rates. 

 

 

PaydayloansUSA.online offers Payday Loans, Installment Loans, Personal Loans and other money products at affordable rates with convenient repayment. 

  • MIN Loan Amount: $100
  • MAX Loan Amount: $35000
  • Terms: Vary by state.
  • Rates and fees: 4.99% to 1386% APR
  • Turnaround Time: 1 business day
  • Payday Loans
  • Installment Loans
  • Personal Loans
  • Active checking account open for 90+ days
  • US citizen or permanent resident
  • Personal and work phone number
  • Valid email address
Pros
  • Quick - no driving, waiting, faxing, paperwork.
  • More than 300 direct lenders.
  • High approval rate even for bad credit Payday Loans.
  • Online Payday cash advance with no collateral.
  • Online Payday cash advance with no collateral.
  • 24 / 7 online service.
  • hard credit check Payday Loans.
Cons
  • High interest rates.
  • Available not in all the states.
  • Not many financial products offered.

 

 

 
Credit score 650
 
Is 730 a good credit score?
 
700 credit score
 
800 credit score

A credit score of 800 is considered a perfect one because improving your score further seems almost impossible.

Max credit score

The maximum credit score you can get is most often an 850 on two commonly used ranges. But only 1% of borrowers are lucky to achieve this number. 

 
What's the highest credit score you can have?
 
What is considered an excellent credit score?
 
How high can a credit score go?
 
Average US credit score

How to improve credit score?

If you already have a bad or poor credit score and you wish to improve it as soon as possible consider the following useful advice:

  • Become an authorized user on someone else's account.
  • Apply for a loan with a cosigner who has good credit score.  He will be responsible for your loan repayment and he has great chances to get approved due to good creditworthiness.
  • Open a secured account. Or choose a secured loan.
  • Take up some extra work, do your best to pay off existing debts and keep balances low.
  • Keep unused credit cards open.

In order to prevent your credit score from being low follow the tips below:

  • Pay bills and debts on time.
  • Take care of your credit card balance.
  • Don't apply for many loans, especially if you are unsure that you qualify for them.
  • Do a soft credit history check to keep track of it and notice any mistakes.

Read more: How to improve Credit Score.

 
How often does your credit score update?

The frequency of your scredit score update depends mostly on how often your account information is reported to the credit agencies. Usually it happens at least once a month or once in 45 days. As soon as credit bureaus get the new data they change the information on your credit report as well as your credit score is modified.

 
 How to improve your credit score fast?
 
Does closing a credit card hurt your credit score?
 
Why did my score go down?
 
Does checking your credit score hurt your credit?