Is 610 a Good Credit Score?

610 credit score

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    By Austin Kilham

    (Last Updated – 03/2024)

    A credit score of 610 is considered a “fair” score vs. a “good” score. According to FICO®, which compiles one of the most commonly used credit scores, a “good” credit score is anywhere between 670 to 739. A 610 credit score falls short of that mark.

    That said, is a 610 score bad? No, it’s a notch above the “poor” category. And it can still provide options for you to secure a loan or line of credit. You are likely to have more limited choices and pay more to borrow. Here’s a closer look at what a score of 610 means, and what you can expect when borrowing funds.

    What Does a 610 Credit Score Mean?

    Most people in the U.S. have a credit score between 600 and 750. In fact, the average score is 715. With a 610 FICO score, you land squarely in the “fair” range, which comprises scores of 580 to 669, according to FICO. This score is below average, and may be categorized as “subprime.” That said, there may be lenders willing to approve loans at this credit level.

    Here’s a little more intel on credit score ranges:

    •   As noted above, if you’re three digits are between 670 and 739, you qualify as having good credit.

    •   Scores in the 740 to 799 range are considered to be very good, and anything higher is exceptional.

    •   FICO isn’t the only measure out there. The credit reporting bureau Experian pegs a good credit score at 700 or more.

    So what does a below-average credit score of 610 mean? First, understand why your credit score is important. It’s a numerical representation of your credit history. It distills into one number factors such as your history of paying bills on time, how long you’ve had credit, how many accounts you’re able to maintain at once, and whether you’re actively seeking new credit.

    When you apply for a loan, lenders will look at this score to help them determine your creditworthiness.

    •   Higher scores can signal that you have been responsible with your credit in the past, and you’ve likely managed to pay your bills on time, even when juggling multiple forms of debt.

    •   Lenders usually see borrowers with higher scores as less risk. They’re more likely to offer these borrowers credit at lower interest rates and with more favorable terms.

    •   Lenders worry that borrowers with low credit scores are more likely to default on their loans. A default is time-consuming and costly to the lender as they attempt to recoup their losses, so a low score represents more risk.

    •   Lenders may choose not to extend credit to borrowers with low scores. And if they do, they may offer loans with much higher interest rates and fees to help offset the risk they’re taking on.

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    Can I Build My Credit Score?

    You can build your credit score. In fact, doing so may be a good idea for those wishing to avoid higher interest rates and fees. Strategies for raising your credit score include:

    •   Always making on-time payments, first and foremost.

    •   Keep your credit utilization ratio to below 30%. Many financial experts recommend keeping balances below 10% of your available limit.

    •   Aim to extend your credit history, which can mean not closing out accounts you use infrequently.

    •   Show you can handle a mix of credit types responsibly, such as lines of credit and installment loans.

    •   Don’t apply for too much credit in a short window of time, if possible. It can create the impression that you are a risky borrower.

    Recommended: Do Store Credit Cards Build Credit?

    What Can You Get with a 610 Credit Score?

    With a credit score of 610, you’ll likely have access to most types of lending products. However, there may be some restrictions on certain types of loans or credit lines, and you may not get the best rates and terms.

    Can I Get a Credit Card with a 610 Credit Score?

    You likely qualify for a credit card if you have a credit score of 610. However, think carefully about whether you’re able to take on this kind of credit.

    Why? Credit cards are a form of revolving credit. They will allow you to carry a balance from month to month, but in return, they can charge high interest rates. Consider that the average interest rates for credit cards are above 20%. And this can make the cost of borrowing very expensive.

    The only way to avoid interest is to pay your bill in full every month. Ask yourself whether you are able to do so. If you can’t, you could set yourself up to fall into increasing amounts of debt.

    One alternative to consider: a secured credit card. A secured credit card allows you to put down a deposit and spend up to that amount. Making regular payments with a secured card can be a good way to improve your credit score, if your lender reports the activity to the credit bureaus.

    Responsible use of a secured card can help you qualify for an unsecured card in the future.

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    Can I Get an Auto Loan with a 610 Credit Score?

    There are no hard and fast rules for minimum scores needed to get an auto loan. The qualifications will vary lender to lender.

    The higher your score, the more likely you are to qualify for a loan. In 2023, 17.10% of new auto loans went to those with below-average credit scores. Compare that to the 45.90% of new loans that went to prime borrowers.

    Unfortunately, the lower your credit score, the more you will likely pay to borrow when you finance a car. Consider that the average interest rate for a near-prime borrower was 9.29% in 2023, while prime borrowers paid an average of 6.88% in interest.

    Can I Get a Mortgage with a 610 Credit Score?

    When it comes to getting a mortgage loan, a credit score of 610 can reduce your options. At 610, your credit score is not quite high enough to qualify for most conventional loans. These are loans that aren’t backed by a government agency, and they typically require a credit score of 620 or higher. It may be possible lenders will offer you a loan with a lower credit score, but they will almost certainly hike interest rates to compensate. This can significantly increase the cost of borrowing.

    While conventional loans may be tough to secure, there are some government-backed options that are worth considering.

    Federal Housing Administration or FHA loans with a 3.5% down payment typically require a credit score of 580. You can often qualify for one if you have a lower score as long as you put 10% down. There are some limitations on this program. For example, the home you purchase must be your primary residence, and you’ll need to demonstrate proof of employment.

    Members and former members of the armed forces may qualify for a VA loan, which is offered through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. Like FHA loans, they usually require a credit score of 580 to qualify.

    Can I Get a Personal Loan with a 610 Credit Score?

    There are personal loans available to borrowers with lower credit scores. However, as with the other forms of credit mentioned above, there are likely trade-offs, namely in the form of higher interest rates and fees.

    Before you take out a personal loan, consider whether you are able to take time to increase your credit before you borrow. That way, you may qualify for a loan with cheaper rates.

    Recommended: How to Get a Debt Consolidation Loan With Bad Credit

    The Takeaway

    With a credit score of 610, you will likely qualify for several useful types of credit. However, that credit will be more expensive due to potentially higher interest rates and fees than borrowers with higher scores would be charged. Take steps, if you can, to increase your credit score. And at the very least, shop around to multiple lenders to help ensure that you’re getting the lowest rates and best terms possible.

    Think twice before turning to high-interest credit cards. Consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. Checking your rate takes just a minute.

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