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Published: Aug 16, 2022 12 min read

Wondering if your credit score is up to snuff?

If you have a 620 credit score, you aren’t alone. Tens of thousands of borrowers in the U.S. are in the same boat — usually for the same reasons. While a 620 credit score could use some improvement, if you’re looking for guaranteed approval with competitive rates, it does fall into the “fair” credit score range. This article breaks down the factors that could be contributing to your 620 credit score, walks you through your personal finance lending options and shares some surefire strategies for boosting your lower credit score.

Table of contents

  • Is 620 a good credit score?
  • How to improve a 620 credit score
  • Can you get a loan with a 620 credit score?

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Is 620 a good credit score?

A FICO credit score of 620, as reported by the three major credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, Transunion and Experian, is considered “fair.” A score of 670 puts you in the “good” range, but any score below 670 typically falls into the bad credit range or is considered a poor credit score. Around 17% of individuals have a “fair” FICO score, which ranges from 580 to 669.

Most lenders rely on the FICO scoring models versus VantageScore, as well as other factors, such as credit card balances and debt-to-income ratios, to determine your creditworthiness. Below is the outlook for a 620 credit score.

  • Credit range: fair creditworthiness
  • Mortgage loan type: limited options
  • Personal loan: limited options
  • Auto loan: limited options
  • Unsecured credit cards: limited options
  • Apartment rental: potential approval
  • Secured credit cards: high approval

Why Is My Credit Score 620?

Several credit issues can result in a score of 620. Individuals with “fair”’ credit scores usually have late monthly payments on their credit reports, some of which may have gone to collections. Others are on the path to repairing their credit, as it takes time to recover from more severe credit occurrences, such as bankruptcy, foreclosures or judgments. Some of these issues can stay on your credit report and drastically hurt your score for several years if you don’t remove them.

A 620 credit score is right on the border of the credit requirements for some loans, such as a conventional loan. Though you may be able to get installment loans or revolving lines of credit with a 620 credit score, you won’t get very competitive interest rates. It is important to work on building your score to earn the most competitive rates and gain access to more sources of funding. This article provides some pointers on how to do this.

How to improve a 620 credit score

With a 620, you’re on your way to a good credit score. Below are a few tips to help take your credit score to the next level — some with near-instant results and others that pay off over the long term.

Get your payment history on track

Your payment history accounts for 30% of your credit score, so you should prioritize making future payments on time and automating payments when possible. You should catch up on missed payments, as they damage your score more the longer you leave them unsettled.

Pay off your debts

Credit utilization also accounts for 30% of your credit score, so you should focus on paying down your loan amounts or debts to yield a major improvement in your score. If any of your accounts have gone to collections, contact them to get the collections accounts removed from your credit report, as they can affect your score for seven years.

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Don’t submit too many applications

A credit score of 620 limits your funding options, and every application you submit will likely result in a hard inquiry that can reduce your score even further. Apply for new lines of credit wisely, and research the lender’s credit requirements before applying. If you’re applying for a home or auto loan, try to submit all your applications within 14 days to limit the damage to your score.

Get a secured credit card

Secured credit cards are designed to help individuals with limited credit histories and low scores improve their credit with responsible use. With a 620 credit score, you can get approved for a secured card. For best results, try to use only 10% of your available balance and never more than 30%.

Become an authorized user

If a loved one is willing to help with your goal of building up your new credit score, they can add you to one of their credit card accounts as an authorized user. That way, your payment history, credit utilization and credit mix could quickly improve when you make payments on the account on time.

Report your rent

If part of your problem is a limited credit history and you’re looking to demonstrate timely payments, you can pay to have your rent reported to the three credit bureaus with RentReporters. Likewise, Experian Boost will report your utility payments.

Hire a credit repair company

Sometimes, credit repair is best left to the experts. If you’re struggling to get entries removed from your credit report or feel you’re in over your head, a credit repair company can help get you on track while taking the headache out of improving your score.

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Can you get a loan with a 620 credit score?

You’re right on the edge of being approved for several types of loans with a 620 credit score, and for many types, your approval odds are high. However, you’ll likely face steep APR, deposit requirements and income requirements due to your “fair” credit score. Here’s a closer look at your eligibility for loans and credit cards.

Mortgage options with a 620 credit score

Your mortgage approval odds with a 620 score, whether for refinance, a government-backed loan or a conventional loan, such as Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, depend on which mortgage lender you apply to. As a future or current homeowner, you can see the credit requirements for each of the mortgage options below:

 

Mortgage Type Minimum Credit Score
VA loan No minimum from VA; lenders may require a 580 or 620
FHA loan 500 with 10% down, 580 with 3.5% down
USDA loan No minimum from USDA; lenders will likely require 640
Traditional home loan 620 - 640

VA loans (government agency–backed loans) are incredibly advantageous for individuals in the military and veterans, and some lenders will approve you with a 620 score. You’ll also have no trouble getting approved for a Federal Housing Administration loan, which is aimed at home buyers with “low” or “fair” credit scores. If you’re looking for a traditional home loan, your score means your income and down payment will play a more significant role in the approval process and mortgage rate.

Auto loan options with a 620 credit score

Lenders take on a big risk when they issue auto loans, so their rates can be quite high. This is especially true if you have a “fair” credit score. When your score is less than 700, it can be difficult for you to get an auto loan approved. Many credit issuers are willing to extend car loans to individuals with a 620 credit score, but your interest rate could mean you'll end up paying a few thousand dollars more in interest than you would with a ”good” credit score, but your approval odds and rates will be better if you apply for a used car rather than a new car.

The good news is that you should be able to get an auto loan with your current credit score. The better news is that you could easily get an even more competitive loan if you do a little work to improve your credit.

Personal Loan Options With a 620 Credit Score

You can get approval for a personal loan with a 620 credit score; however, it will come with higher rates than if your score was better. You may want to start your search with a credit union. These financiers often offer a lower APR than banks and other local lenders. At the same time, some online lenders are made with you in mind, with more competitive personal loans tailored toward people with “fair” or even “poor” credit scores.

You could also qualify for one of the following loans with a 620 score:

  • Emergency loan
  • Debt consolidation loan
  • Installment loan
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What Is the Best Credit Card for a 620 Credit Score?

With a fair credit score, you could be eligible for both secured and unsecured credit cards. Unsecured credit cards come with a credit limit based on your score and income. Secured cards usually limit your credit limit to the amount of money you deposit, but your credit limit can grow over time based on your payment history. Secured cards have very low credit score requirements.

The higher your score, the more money will be available to you each month. Your score could also determine your eligibility for low rates, limited fees and rewards. Once again, you should check each card’s score requirements before applying. Only apply for one of the best credit cards for a fair credit score not higher credit scores.

If you can’t get approval for an unsecured card or the card has a high interest rate and fees, a secured card can still help you improve your credit variety, payment history and credit use. Remember to limit your applications, as multiple applications can do more harm than good.

Boost Your 620 Credit Score Today

Whether you’re on your way to rebuilding your credit after liens or bankruptcy brought it down or you’re a college grad with nothing but student loan repayments on your credit report, a 620 is a great stepping stone. With some strategic steps, you can work your way up to an excellent credit score.

If you haven’t already, sign up for a credit monitoring service, such as Credit Karma. This will allow you to track your score, understand changes to your report and find specialized offers and suggestions to boost your score. From there, start paying down debts, catching up on missed payments and using credit lines wisely to improve your score. If you need further assistance, don’t hesitate to contact an expert or take advantage of a credit repair service to get your score to where it needs to be.

Disclaimer: This story was originally published on August 21, 2020, on BetterCreditBlog.org. The content herein is not guaranteed to be complete, correct, timely, or up-to-date, nor does it constitute legal or financial advice. For more information on credit scores please visit https://money.com/what-is-a-credit-score/.