Are you looking to build your credit or use your credit to get a mortgage, car loan, or something similar? If so, you may be wondering about your credit score, and if it’s low or not. So, how bad is a 650 credit score? And what does it mean if that’s where you’re sitting? Let’s talk about it!
What is the average credit score by age?
The average credit score by age varies from year to year, due to changes in the economy, and new generations getting old enough to have credit.
However, in 2021, Experian listed the following credit score averages based on generations:
- Silent generation (76+): 760
- Baby boomers (57-75): 740
- Generation X (41-56): 705
- Millennials (25-40): 686
- Generation Z (18-24): 679
So is having a 650 credit score bad?
As you can see, the average credit score across all generations is about 710. So in comparison, you might think 650 is a lower credit score. But let’s dive a little deeper before we land on a hard and fast answer!
Is 650 a low credit score?
How bad is a 650 credit score? Is it considered super low?? Or is a 650 credit score pretty good?
While a 650 credit score is considered lower than the average, it’s not poor. In fact, A FICO score of 650 is considered fair. It does fall below the national average of 710, but it’s considered higher in the fair score range (fair ranges between 580 and 669).
What can I do with a 650 credit score?
So, what can you do with a 650 credit score?
There’s more you can accomplish than you may think! A 650 score can even get you a mortgage if you’re looking to buy a new home.
Is 650 a good credit score for buying a house?
Yes. However, you may pay more in interest. Mortgage lenders will typically assign interest rates based on how risky they think it will be for you to pay it back. Since a 650 credit score is seen only as “fair”, you may be looked at as a greater credit risk.
So while you will most likely be able to get a loan with a 650 credit score, you may not get the best interest rate. But a 650 score meets many lenders’ minimum lending requirements; including the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
- As it stands right now, the national average interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage with a score of 640 to 659 is 5.589%.
- If you have a score of 660 to 679 it’s 5.159%.
- And, the 700 to 750 range gets you a rate of 4.768%.
That’s almost a 1% difference from a 650 credit score to a 700 credit score, which can save you $50,000+ over a 30-year mortgage. That’s a BIG deal!
So while a 650 credit score can buy you a house, you will need to make sure that you can afford the extra interest long-term.
The FICO® Scores usually used for mortgage lending are as follows:
- FICO® Score 2, or Experian/Fair Isaac Risk Model v2.
- Next: FICO® Score 5, or Equifax Beacon 5.
- Last: FICO® Score 4, or TransUnion FICO® Risk Score 04.
It’s important to note that you won’t see these scores when using a site like Credit Sesame or Credit Karma. In order for a lender to see these scores, it will require a hard inquiry on your credit. So be sure that you’ve done what you can to boost your score before you apply for pre-approval.
How much can you get approved for with a 650 credit score?
If you’re asking this question, you’re essentially wondering, “How big of a loan can I get with a 650 credit score?”
Unfortunately, you’re asking the wrong question.
Your credit score essentially does two things for you:
- If your credit score is too low, you won’t get a loan at all
- If your credit score is good enough for a loan, then it will depend how good it is for what type of interest rate you get on your loan.
But, your credit score doesn’t really have anything to do with how much you can get approved for. Instead, that’s where your income and your current debt payments are important.
Want a big loan for a big house?
Then you’ll need to have a large income and a low debt payment amount each month.
Is a 650 credit score good to buy a car?
Just like with a mortgage, you will most likely be able to buy a car with a 650 credit score. But, the interest rates and payment terms may not be the best.
According to Bankrate, these are the average new car loan rates for each range of credit scores:
- 781-850: 2.47%
- 661-780: 3.51%
- 601-660: 6.07%
- 501-600: 9.41%
- 300-500: 12.53%
Note that usually, a 725 score and above is recommended for low-interest rates, $0 down, and other benefits.
Is it worth getting to an 800 credit score?
Is it really worth going through all the effort to get an 800 credit score?
It can be if you need it to leverage your debt and assets.
- For example, having an 800 credit score can mean the difference of $50,000 in interest alone on a mortgage.
- Or, if your car were to suddenly break down, and you needed a loan, it can mean that you don’t have to put any money down because you’re seen as more trustworthy.
However, if you plan on renting forever, don’t mind driving older cars that you can pay for in cash, and don’t plan on needing credit very often, you may not see the point in getting an 800 credit score.
Yes and no. The short, simple, and sweet answer to this is that the credit scores you see on Credit Karma come directly from TransUnion and Equifax, which are two of the three major consumer credit bureaus.
However, the third credit bureau, Experian, isn’t reported. So if there is anything on your Experian account that isn’t on the other two, there may be a discrepancy between your Credit Karma score and your actual score.
To get the most accurate information about your credit score, pull your credit reports before asking for lending.
What can boost my credit score?
While a 650 credit score isn’t terrible, it’s not going to get you the best deals or interest rates. If you want to boost your score for whatever reason — including applying for a mortgage or getting a new loan — here’s what you need to know.
Review Your Reports
Before you take any of the following steps to improve your credit, you need to know what you’re working with. So, you’ll need to pull your credit reports from each of the credit bureaus and check your credit history.
You can do it all at once for free once a year through AnnualCreditReport.com. Then, go through each report and see if there’s anything hurting your score, or where you can make changes.
As a note, the main factors that contribute to a higher credit score are…
- a history of on-time payments,
- a 30% or less credit utilization,
- a mix of different accounts,
- older credit accounts (like an old credit card), and
- the inquiries on your report for new credit.
Pay Your Bills
Most lending companies use your FICO credit score to determine if you’re a risky investment or not. And simply paying your bills on time accounts for 35% of your score. This is the biggest impact on your credit score, whether good or bad. So you should always pay your bills on time, even if it’s just the minimum.
It’s important to avoid late payments at all costs. This may mean creating a budget and setting up due date alerts so you don’t forget to pay a bill. You can also set up automatic bill payment so you can set it and forget it.
Your credit utilization is the second most important factor in FICO credit score calculations. It accounts for 30% of your credit score. So, in order to boost your score, try to keep your credit card balances low (or even paid in full each month). At most, you want to be at 30% or less of your total credit limit.
You can also ask for a credit limit increase. Raising your credit limit can help show less credit utilization. Just remember to stop spending money on that card and not rack up more debt.
Keep Old Revolving Accounts Open
The age of your credit is important too, although not as much as the first two. But, if you’re trying to boost your score, keep old credit accounts open, even if you’re hardly using them. Closing revolving accounts like credit cards can lower your score for up to a few months.
Handle Delinquencies & Inaccurate Information
When you pull your credit reports, you should check to make sure all of your debt, accounts, and information are correct.
If you have some inaccurate information, like an account you never opened, you need this to be removed from your credit report immediately. You may even want to report identity theft or fraud, depending on what all the account entails.
If all of the information is correct, but you have delinquent accounts, charge-offs, or accounts in collections, you’ll need to resolve them, since they can negatively impact your score. Depending on the time of these debts, you may want to wait until they fall off, or get an agreement for a “Pay For Delete“.
Use An App Like Experian Boost
If your biggest issue with your credit is that you don’t have much history, that’s okay. There are ways to boost your score without getting into debt or paying high-interest rates. Instead, boost your credit by paying for the bills you already pay for — like Netflix or even your phone bill.
Apps like Experian Boost work with both credit bureaus and companies like subscription services to give you credit for paying your bills. This then shows up as “revolving credit” boosting your score upwards of 30-50 points (on average).
This is great if you’re younger or need help establishing a better credit history.
Related: 4 Ways to Build Your Credit
Do you have a 650 credit score right now? Wondering how quickly you can go from a 650 credit score to 700.
The short answer, roughly 6 months.
Now, obviously, not everyone’s score will move at the same pace. Perhaps you have more issues with your credit, so it might take you longer. Or, maybe your score is fairly new and you just need to build up some consistent activity, and therefore your credit score will jump more quickly.
I once had a 350 credit score. It took me just 3 years to go from a 350 credit score to a 750 credit score, so you can certainly go from a 650 credit score to 700 in less time than that!
How Bad Is A 650 Credit Score? Not As Bad As You Think!
So how bad is a 650 credit score really?
A 650 credit score actually isn’t bad at all, especially if you’re just getting started on your credit journey. But, it can make you pay more in interest, which no one wants to do!
So while 650 is a great starting place, building your credit and working at paying your bills on time can lead to a much higher score in the future!
Were you wondering how bad a 650 credit score is? It’s not terrible! But if you have a chance to improve it, do it! Life will only become easier and cheaper with a higher credit score.
AUTHOR Kimberly Studdard
Kim Studdard is a project manager for online entrepreneurs and small businesses. When she isn't spending time with her daughter and husband, or reading her growing pile of horror books, you'll find her working on her HR degree and working towards FIRE.