What Is a Bad Credit Score? | Capital One (2024)

You may know that your credit scores represent your creditworthiness. And that potential lenders might use your credit scores to make decisions about things like approving loans and extending credit. But what does it mean to have a bad credit score?

In general, what’s considered a bad credit score may fall below 670. But that number can vary by who’s judging it. Read on to learn about credit scores, how they might affect you and a few tips that may help you improve your score.

Key takeaways

  • A bad credit score may fall into credit score ranges that the credit-scoring companies, FICO® and VantageScore®, consider fair, poor or very poor.
  • FICO says a fair credit score ranges from 580 to 669, while VantageScore says fair credit scores range from 601 to 660.
  • A poor FICO credit score might be considered less than 580. A poor VantageScore credit score might be 600 or less, with very poor scores as 499 or less.
  • It’s possible to improve a bad credit score by using credit responsibly—doing things like paying bills on time and reducing overall debt.

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What’s considered a bad credit score?

A bad credit score typically falls into what’s called a “subprime” credit range. Although it can vary by credit-scoring company, a subprime credit score may be somewhere below 670.

Credit-scoring companies use different formulas, or models, to calculate credit scores. There are many different credit scores and scoring models. That means people have more than one score out there. But most credit scores range from 300 to 850, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The most commonly used credit scores come from FICO and VantageScore.

Remember that credit decisions—and what’s considered a bad score—are often determined by potential lenders. But here’s how FICO and VantageScore generally view credit scores.

What is a bad FICO credit score?

A bad FICO credit score may fall in the fair or poor FICO range. FICO considers a credit score to be fair if it’s between 580 and 669, and poor if it’s below 580. According to FICO, borrowers with a FICO score in a lower range tend to be viewed as a credit risk. This risk could make it difficult to get approved for credit cards, mortgages, car loans and more.

What Is a Bad Credit Score? | Capital One (1)

What is a bad VantageScore credit score?

VantageScore says a bad credit score may fall in the fair, poor or very poor credit score ranges. VantageScore considers a fair credit score to range from 601 to 660. A poor credit score falls between 500 and 600, while a very poor score falls between 300 and 499.

“In general, people with higher scores can get more credit at better rates,” VantageScore says. So you could have trouble getting approved for higher-limit, low-interest cards with a credit score of 600 or below.

What Is a Bad Credit Score? | Capital One (2)

What determines credit scores?

There are a few factors that credit-scoring companies use to determine credit scores. And according to the CFPB, they’re all calculated based on data from credit reports.

Scoring models might use the following information from your credit reports:

  1. Payment history: How often you pay your bills on time.
  2. Account history: How long you’ve had credit and loans open.
  3. Debt: How much you owe across all accounts.
  4. Credit utilization: How much credit you use compared to your total available credit.
  5. Recent inquiries: How many times creditors have pulled your credit report, and how many new loans you have.
  6. Credit mix: How many kinds of credit you use, including credit cards and installment loans.

Keep in mind that past bankruptcies, foreclosures and collections may also figure into your credit score. And the CFPB says those things can sometimes affect scores for 10 years or longer.

How bad credit can affect you

Everyone’s situation is different, but a bad credit score could affect your financial goals and lending options. Here are some instances where a higher credit score can be helpful:

  • Credit cards: With some improvement of your credit score, you might increase your chance of qualifying for cards with no fees and higher credit limits.
  • Loans and mortgages: A higher credit score could help you get approved for auto loans, mortgages and other types of loans.
  • Interest rates: In many cases, a higher credit score could help you pay less in interest—or the price you pay for borrowing money.
  • Rental applications: When you apply for a lease, your potential landlord could look at your credit to consider leasing to you.
  • Employment applications: Potential employers may pull credit reports during a background check. But they have to get permission from you first.
  • Insurance premiums: In some states, your credit history could influence the cost of things like car insurance.
  • Deposits: A stronger credit score might allow you to skip security deposits to set up service with utility companies and cellphone providers.

That’s just a quick look at the importance of credit. If you’re not satisfied with your credit scores, there are steps you can take to improve them.

Ways to help improve bad credit scores

With time, you could improve your credit scores. It might help to commit to responsible credit use and good financial habits, such as:

  1. Review your credit report: You can get a sense of where you stand by requesting free copies of your credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com. You could also monitor your credit with CreditWise from Capital One without hurting your score. It’s free for everyone, not just Capital One customers.
  2. Pay your bills on time and catch up on overdue bills: Your payment history plays the biggest part in some FICO and VantageScore credit-scoring models. The CFPB says getting current on payments and making on-time payments from now on could help improve your credit score. If you’re unable to pay your bills, consider reaching out to your lender about what options might be available.
  3. Become an authorized user: The CFPB says being an authorized user could help your credit if the card’s activity is reported to credit bureaus and the card is used responsibly. But things like missed payments could have negative effects on both you and the original cardholder.
  4. Consider a secured credit card: With secured credit cards, you’re required to put down a security deposit before you start to spend. Some credit card companies report secured card activity to credit bureaus. If approved for a secured credit card, you could help your credit score by using the card responsibly.
  5. Keep some of your credit available: Your credit utilization—the percentage of your available credit that’s in use—can also affect your credit score. The CFPB recommends using 30% or less of your credit limits across all your accounts.

Bad credit in a nutshell

You’re not alone if you have a less-than-perfect credit score. But with time and effort, you can take steps to rebuild your credit. If you’re looking to build credit by using a card responsibly, learn more about credit cards for bad credit.

What Is a Bad Credit Score? | Capital One (2024)


What Is a Bad Credit Score? | Capital One? ›

A poor FICO credit score might be considered less than 580. A poor VantageScore credit score might be 600 or less, with very poor scores as 499 or less. It's possible to improve a bad credit score by using credit responsibly—doing things like paying bills on time and reducing overall debt.

What is the lowest credit score for Capital One? ›

VantageScore credit score ranges
  • Very Poor: 300-499.
  • Poor: 500-600.
  • Fair: 601-660.
  • Good: 661-780.
  • Excellent: 781-850.
Apr 8, 2024

Can I get a Capital One credit card with a 600 credit score? ›

According to FICO®, for example, a fair credit score falls between 580 and 669. According to VantageScore®, a fair score ranges between 601 and 660. Capital One credit cards for fair credit include QuicksilverOne, Quicksilver Secured, and the Platinum Mastercard.

Is Capital One for people with bad credit? ›

Capital One credit cards are available to people of all credit levels. The cards for people with bad credit are designed for those who are in the process of rebuilding their credit.

What is a good score for Capital One? ›

Good: 670 to 739. Very good: 740 to 799. Exceptional: 800 and over.

Is Capital One easy to get approved? ›

As long as you meet the credit score requirement and a few other requirements, it's not hard to get a Capital One credit card. As with all credit cards, you'll need to have a steady income and be at least 18 years old. You'll also need to have an SSN.

What credit score do I need for a $5000 loan? ›

Requirements for a $5,000 loan vary by lender. But in general, you should have at least Fair credit, which is a score of 580 or above. Lenders may also look at other factors, such as your income and your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), during the application process.

How to get a 10k credit limit with Capital One? ›

To get a $10,000 credit limit on a Capital One credit card, you will need to apply for a high-end card like Capital One Venture X and meet the income requirements. Other Capital One cards may offer $10,000 starting credit limits to qualified applicants, but the odds of getting a limit that high are not as good.

Is 650 a bad credit score? ›

As someone with a 650 credit score, you are firmly in the “fair” territory of credit. You can usually qualify for financial products like a mortgage or car loan, but you will likely pay higher interest rates than someone with a better credit score. The "good" credit range starts at 690.

How common is a 600 credit score? ›

What does having a 600 credit score mean? According to FICO® Score, 15.5% of the population has a credit score below 600, while the average credit score sits at 716.

What is the Capital One controversy? ›

Capital One publicly acknowledged on July 29, 2019, that they had found unauthorized access had occurred ten days earlier by an individual who had breached the account and identity security of 106 million people in the United States and Canada. one of the largest data breaches of personal information.

What are the cons of Capital One? ›

  • The 360 Performance Savings account doesn't include a debit card or an ATM card.
  • Higher rates can be found at other online-only banks.

How accurate is Capital One credit score? ›

Is CreditWise accurate? CreditWise gives you an accurate representation of your credit health, as it sources your credit information directly from your TransUnion credit report and updates your VantageScore® 3.0 credit score as often as daily.

Is Capital One a hard pull? ›

With Capital One's pre-approval tool, you can determine which credit cards you may be eligible for by answering a few simple questions about yourself. Pre-approval won't affect your credit, but applying for a credit card typically results in a hard credit check, which can temporarily affect your credit scores.

What credit score is the danger zone? ›

Those with a credit score of 579 and below are in the danger zone. These are higher risk applicants, and therefore requests for credit may require higher fees, interest rates, or security deposits. The probability of denial is also more likely compared to individuals with higher credit scores.

What is the credit limit for Capital One Quicksilver? ›

The Capital One Quicksilver credit limit depends on your income, creditworthiness and payment history, which are evaluated once you apply for the card. According to anecdotal reports, the card's credit limit can be as low as $750 and as high as $10,000.

What credit score do you need to get a $30,000 loan? ›

You will need a credit score of 580 or higher to get a $30,000 personal loan in most cases, along with enough income to afford the monthly bill payments. Other common loan requirements include being at least 18 years old, being a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, and having a valid bank account.

Which FICO score is usually the lowest? ›

What is a FICO Score?
  • Very poor: 300 to 579.
  • Fair: 580 to 669.
  • Good: 670 to 739.
  • Very good: 740 to 799.
  • Excellent: 800 to 850.

What credit card is the easiest to get? ›

Here's a Summary of the Easiest Credit Cards To Get
  • Rates & Fees. ...
  • Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card *
  • Navy FCU nRewards® Secured Credit Card *
  • Petal® 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa® Credit Card *
  • Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit *
  • Rates & Fees. ...
  • Rates & Fees.
6 days ago

Is there a minimum for Capital One? ›

Manage your money quickly and easily with 360 Checking—whether it's online, in person or with our mobile app. All with no minimum balance required and no monthly fees.


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