What Credit Score is Needed to Rent an Apartment in 2021?

What Credit Score Is Needed to Rent an Apartment in 2024?

While there’s no universally required credit score needed to rent an apartment, having a solid credit score can certainly help your chances of a landlord handing you a set of keys. In general, a landlord will look for a credit score that is at least “good,” which is generally in the range of 670 to 739. However, that can vary by landlord or property manager, as well as the location in which you’re renting.

Read on to learn more about how your credit score can affect renting an apartment — and how you can approach renting if you have a lower credit score.

What Credit Score Do I Need to Rent an Apartment?

Truth is, the answer to what credit score you need to rent an apartment is a bit squishy. In general, you’ll have a better chance of approval if your credit score is at least deemed “good.”

What’s considered good? Credit scores are generally classified as follows per FICO® (keep in mind that different scoring models may vary):

•   Exceptional: 800-850

•   Very good: 740-799

•   Good: 670-739

•   Fair: 580-669

•   Very poor: 300-579

There also are variables that can affect whether your credit score qualifies you to rent an apartment. For example, if you live in a city where there is huge demand for apartments, landlords may give preference to those with higher credit scores.

Can You Get an Apartment if One Person Has Bad Credit?

If one person has bad credit, know that it will likely make it tougher for you to get an apartment. Landlords have a lot of leeway and can follow criteria of their choosing.

Still, it’s not impossible even if it is trickier. One smart strategy in this situation is to put the lease in the name of the person whose credit and income is best. You could also offer to show your income or provide a reference.

Check your score with SoFi

Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*


What Landlords Look at on Your Credit Report

When your landlord reads your credit report, they will be looking for clues about your financial health and habits.

Of much importance is your debt-to-income ratio. In a nutshell, this is the amount of your monthly pre-tax income that gets spent on debt payments. It’s certainly not news to you that filing for bankruptcy can have a negative impact on one’s credit. A landlord also may be spooked if you have hefty credit card balances.

Your credit history disclosed on your credit report also may include your rental history, since some landlords and rental property managers share your data with the credit bureaus. This can be a plus if you’ve been doing the right thing; if not, this can work against you.

Too many hard inquiries also can raise red flags for a landlord. This is because frequently applying for different types of credit could suggest financial instability, which increases risk in the eyes of lenders — as well as landlords.

How to Rent an Apartment with a Lower Credit Score

Just because your credit score isn’t stellar doesn’t mean you’re resigned to sleeping on a friend’s couch or living with your parents. There are ways to rent an apartment even with a lower credit score.

Pay a Higher Security Deposit

One way to show that your credit history is just history is by offering to make a higher security deposit. Say you are required to pay first and last month’s rent upfront. To sweeten the deal, maybe you tack on a couple additional months of rent.

If you want to instill confidence in your potential new landlord, this might do it. Just make sure you actually have the room in your budget to offer up the cash.

Recommended: What Is The Difference Between Transunion and Equifax?

Get a Cosigner

While getting a cosigner may put a damper on feeling like you’re finally a grownup, it may be worth sucking it up and getting a creditworthy parent or other trusted individual to cosign for your apartment. This can give your landlord peace of mind if someone is willing to pay the rent on your behalf if you’re unable to.

Just keep in mind that your cosigner will be on the hook if you miss a payment, and that cosigners generally must meet even steeper credit score and income requirements.

Play Up Your Income

Maybe your credit score is nothing to brag about, but you’ve worked hard and now have your finances in order, with solid savings and a good income. If you could show that you earn three or four times your rent on a monthly basis, that might divert attention from your lousy credit score. Additionally, if you have a solid stash in your savings account, that can also give your landlord assurance that you have the funds to cover your monthly rent.

Consider Getting a Roommate

Adding a roommate to your lease or rental agreement can increase your creditworthiness and your qualifying income. This is especially the case if you can find a roommate with good credit — and get your landlord to pull their credit first.

Benefits of Good Credit When Renting an Apartment

A landlord needs more than their gut instinct to help them determine who to rent to, which is why a credit score carries a lot of weight when it comes to getting your rental application approved. A good or — better still — an excellent score can give landlords the confidence to consider you for the apartment, especially if all other signals they get when checking on your background indicate they should give you the green light.

Having a solid credit score can help you to snag the apartment you want, and avoid the hassles associated with trying to secure an apartment when your credit isn’t as great, such as getting a roommate or a cosigner. Especially if you live in a city with a competitive rental market, a good credit score can be a serious edge.

Recommended: Does Net Worth Include Home Equity?

How to Monitor Your Credit Score

Ideally, you want to check your credit and get a copy of your credit report before you start apartment hunting. It’s important to know where you stand, and if there are any errors, you want to fix them right away.

Through the end of 2023, you can get free weekly credit reports from the three national credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. To get your free reports, simply go to
AnnualCreditReport.com
.

While your credit report provides information on your various credit accounts and their balances and your payment history, it does not include your credit score. You can check your credit score by looking at a loan or credit card statement or through an online credit score checker. You can also buy a score directly through credit reporting companies. Even if you might have checked your credit score not that long ago, don’t skip doing so again — your credit score updates every 30 to 45 days.

If your score is low, consider taking steps to improve it before jumping into your apartment search. Actions like paying down credit card balances and making sure you don’t have any more late or missed payments for a stretch can show progress.

Recommended: What Credit Score Is Needed to Buy a Car?

What to Expect in 2023

According to Zillow, demand for rentals will grow in the coming year. The U.S. rental property market is currently experiencing, heightened demand and high property prices, while those looking to rent are competing with a wealthier pool of renters. This is driving up prices, albeit at a slower rate than last year.

Further compounding the situation is the fact that housing prices are still so inflated that the percentage of people who can afford a home remains low. This could lead to a rental market that is even more competitive, which may not bode well for those with less than stellar credit.

Recommended: Should I Sell My House Now or Wait?

The Takeaway

You’ll want to shoot for having a good credit score — generally in the range of 570-739 — to get an apartment. While you may be able to still get an apartment if you don’t have solid credit, it will make it more challenging with the competition you’re likely to face.

If you have the luxury of time, do what’s necessary to improve your score so that when you begin your search, you’ll be an ideal candidate. An online credit monitoring tool like SoFi’s can make it easier.

Stay on top of your credit score and easily see what impacts it.


Photo credit: iStock/MixMedia

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

SORL0523021

Read more
What Credit Score Do You Need to Buy a Car in 2021?

What Credit Score Do You Need to Buy a Car in 2023?

Because a credit score is an important indicator for determining a consumer’s creditworthiness when buying a car, those with excellent credit histories tend to have an easier time borrowing money on favorable terms compared to those with lower credit scores. However, industry data shows that high-risk borrowers remain viable candidates for auto loans. In other words, there is no universally defined credit score needed to buy a car.

Read on to learn how your credit score can affect buying a car, plus some tips for purchasing a car with a lower credit score.

What FICO Score Do Car Dealers Use?

There are a few different scoring models that car dealers may use for determining a customer’s credit score. They may use the FICO® Auto Score, an industry-specific model featuring a score range from 250 to 900. The auto industry also may use VantageScore 3.0 or 4.0, which has a score range from 300 to 850.

No matter which scoring model is used, a bad credit score falls on the lower end of the range and a good credit score sits on the higher end of the range.

Recommended: What Is The Difference Between Transunion and Equifax?

What Is the Minimum Credit Score to Buy A Car?

There may not necessarily be a minimum credit score required to buy a car. Consumers with deep subprime credit scores (300–500) have obtained financing for new and used vehicles in 2022, according to the credit bureau Experian. Although the percentage of borrowers in this category is very low, this indicates that even those with the lowest credit scores still may have access to auto financing.

Check your score with SoFi

Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*


Average APR by Credit Score Ranges

Consumers from all credit score categories have obtained auto loans in 2022, but car buyers with excellent credit histories tended to secure the lowest annual percentage rate (APR) financing, according to Experian. When assessing what is a good credit score to buy a car, Experian’s data confirms that consumers in the super prime and prime categories obtain the lowest interest rates on average for financing.

Quarterly financing data on new vehicle purchases in the fourth quarter of 2022 shows the following average APRs by credit score ranges:

•   Deep subprime (300-500): 13.42%

•   Subprime (501-600): 10.79%

•   Near prime (601-660): 8.12%

•   Prime (661-780): 5.82%

•   Super prime (781-850): 4.75%

How to Buy a Car With a Lower Credit Score

Obtaining a loan to purchase a new or used vehicle when you don’t have great credit can be cumbersome, but it’s not impossible. Here are some ways a consumer with poor credit may be able to obtain auto financing:

Make a Large Down Payment

Offering a large down payment on a vehicle purchase may allow car buyers to obtain more reasonable rates and better terms for financing, resulting in more affordable monthly loan payments. By putting more money down at the time of purchase, lenders also may view the loan as less risky, thus increasing your odds of approval.

Get Cosigner Assistance

Buying a car with the assistance of a cosigner is another way to potentially bolster your chance of securing favorable financing. A cosigner agrees to share the responsibility of repaying the loan, effectively promising the lender that if you don’t make the payments they will. If the cosigner is creditworthy, it puts the buyer in a much better position to obtain financing than going it solo.

Consider a Less Expensive Car

Especially if you are buying a car with bad credit, it is important to know how much you can realistically afford to spend — and then stick to that budget, even if the dealer tries to upsell you. Additionally, finding a less costly car will reduce the amount you need to borrow, and it may be easier to get approved for a smaller loan amount than a larger one.

Benefits of Good Credit When Buying a Car

The benefit of a good credit score when buying a vehicle is that you may secure lower interest rates compared to consumers with poor credit. Unless a consumer buys a vehicle outright with cash or receives 0% APR financing, the consumer will eventually face monthly principal and interest payments until they’ve paid off the loan balance in full. Auto financing terms may vary in length, with some maturing at 60 months, 72 months or 84 months.

Car loans with a high APR may cause consumers to pay a long-term premium above and beyond the actual sales price of the vehicle.

Discover real-time vehicle values with Auto Tracker.¹

Now you can instantly monitor vehicle prices in this unprecedented market—to help you make smart money moves.


How to Monitor Your Credit Score

There are a number of ways you can check your credit score, including through your credit company or another financial institution where you have an account, as well as through a credit service or credit scoring website. Contrary to what you may expect, your credit report does not include your credit score, though it does provide valuable information about your credit history and debts, which is why it can still be helpful to read over your credit report before making a major purchase like a car.

Credit scores can fluctuate over time depending upon financial circumstances, and credit score updates occur at least every 45 days. That’s why it’s important to take a look at where your score stands right before you begin the process of car shopping.

Also keep in mind that it’s common for credit inquiries to occur when you’re shopping around to see what auto loan terms you qualify for. While soft inquiries don’t affect your credit score, hard inquiries, such as those that happen when you’re comparing rates for an auto loan, can ding your score. However, most major credit scores will count multiple car loan inquiries made within a certain period of time — typically 14 days — as one inquiry.

What to Expect in 2023

Based on the trends outlined in Experian’s Q4 report for 2022, prime borrowers with good credit in 2023 may continue shifting away from used vehicles in favor of new electric vehicles. Experian’s research also shows that subprime financing remains low, with 15.57% of car loans in 2022 going to consumers in the subprime risk category. These trends could continue through 2023.

The Takeaway

While it is possible to buy a vehicle with bad credit in 2023, consumers in the subprime or deep subprime risk categories may want to explore ways of improving their credit scores to help secure financing with more favorable terms. As far as what credit score you need to buy a car, any score is potentially sufficient for obtaining financing.

If you want to check your credit or work to improve your score before buying a car, SoFi’s money tracker app allows you to easily monitor and keep track of your credit score.

Stay on top of your credit score with weekly updates.


Photo credit: iStock/tolgart

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

¹SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc’s service. Vehicle Identification Number is confirmed by LexisNexis and car values are provided by J.D. Power. Auto Tracker is provided on an “as-is, as-available” basis with all faults and defects, with no warranty, express or implied. The values shown on this page are a rough estimate based on your car’s year, make, and model, but don’t take into account things such as your mileage, accident history, or car condition.

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

SORL0523022

Read more
8 Reasons Why Good Credit Is So Important

8 Reasons Why Good Credit Is So Important

Credit matters when looking to buy a house, car or any other pricey asset. Unless a consumer is flush with cash, the path to home and vehicle ownership may go through a mortgage or a loan. Good credit can provide you with terms and privileges not available to a person with poor credit, including lower interest rates and increased borrowing capacity.

We delve into what constitutes a good credit score and the reasons why it is important to have a good credit score.

Recommended: What Credit Score Is Needed to Buy a Car

What’s Considered Good Credit?

Consumers with standard credit scores of 661 or greater are considered to have good credit, because they rank as prime or super prime in terms of their risk assessment. A bad credit score falls on the lower end of the range and a good credit score falls on the higher end of the range.

Many credit scoring models, including the standard FICO® Scores and VantageScore 4.0, measure an individual’s credit risk on a three-digit scale ranging from 300 to 850. The highest risk group are consumers with deep subprime credit scores from 300 to 500, and the lowest risk group are consumers with super prime credit scores from 781 to 850, according to Experian.

Consumers may build and attain good credit by paying their bills on time, maintaining a mix of accounts and keeping their revolving balances under 30% of credit limits.

Recommended: What Is the Difference Between TransUnion and Equifax?

Check your score with SoFi

Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*


8 Benefits of Good Credit

Here are the eight core benefits of good credit, which highlight why it is important to have a good credit score:

Benefit #1: Easier Access to Credit

Good credit may provide you with easier access to additional credit. When a consumer applies for a credit card or personal loan, lenders may analyze the consumer’s credit report and credit score to make an informed decision on whether to approve or deny the application. A person with good credit is considered low-risk and therefore has an easier time getting approved for a personal loan compared to high-risk borrowers.

Benefit #2: Lower Interest Rates

Consumers with good credit may qualify for lower interest rates when borrowing money. For example, available financing data for new vehicle purchases in the first quarter of 2022 show consumers in the deep subprime category of bad credit have obtained auto loans with 14.76% interest on average. Meanwhile, consumers in the super prime category of excellent credit secured 2.40% interest rates on average. That amounts to an over 12 percentage point difference in interest rates.

Benefit #3: Lower Car Insurance Premiums

Many auto insurance companies use credit-based insurance scores to help categorize consumers by risk and determine what premiums they may pay. Under this practice, higher-risk consumers may pay higher auto insurance premiums than lower-risk consumers. In some states, having good credit or improving your credit score may lead to lower auto insurance premiums over time.

Benefit #4: Increased Borrowing Capacity

Consumers with good credit may obtain larger credit limits than those with poor credit. This could translate to greater spending power on a credit card and the ability to make larger purchases on credit. Having good credit also puts you in a better position to apply for and obtain new credit.

A bolstered borrowing capacity is not limited to credit cards either — credit unions and banks may offer personal loans to consumers with good credit. Such loans can help you consolidate debt, finance large purchases or obtain fast cash to weather an unforeseen emergency. Personal loans also may command lower interest rates than credit cards.

Recommended: Does Net Worth Include Home Equity?

Benefit #5: Easier to Buy a Home or Car

Good credit can help you buy a house with a good mortgage rate or a car with affordable financing. Borrowing money to own a home or vehicle comes at a price that includes principal and interest. Consumers with good credit may qualify for 0% annual percentage rate loans for a car, where no APR means no interest or finance charges. Establishing good credit may also improve your likelihood of obtaining a low-APR mortgage, which translates to lower debt repayment obligations.

Automotive consumers had an average credit score of 738 for new vehicle purchases and 678 for used vehicle purchases in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to Experian’s quarterly report. This shows the average automotive consumer boasted good credit within the prime category of low risk.

Recommended: Should I Sell My House Now or Wait?

Benefit #6: More Apartment Lease Options

Signing a lease to an apartment may require good credit. Landlords who conduct credit checks might deny lease applications if a prospective tenant has bad credit. Or, those with poor credit may have to provide a higher security deposit for rental housing compared with a prospective tenant who boasts good credit. Tenants with good credit also may have more leverage to negotiate for lower rent.

Benefit #7: Helps Satisfy Employment Background Checks

Jobseekers can benefit from good credit, as some employers may consider a person’s credit score when making hiring decisions. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says that a low credit score or credit invisibility is a burden that can “limit housing choice and employment opportunity,” whereas “a good credit score is part of the pathway to self-sufficiency and economic opportunity.” The term “credit invisible” refers to consumers who lack a credit score or credit history.

Benefit #8: Ability to Obtain Security Clearances

Law enforcement officers with good credit could gain privileged access to classified national security information and FBI facilities. Any state or local law enforcement officer seeking a security clearance has to first satisfy a comprehensive background check that includes a review of credit history. The FBI shares secret or top secret information with local law enforcement officers who have obtained security clearances.

Poor credit history would not necessarily disqualify an officer from obtaining a security clearance, but significant credit history issues “may prevent a clearance from being approved,” according to information posted on the FBI’s website.

The Takeaway

Good credit is important for anyone who wishes to borrow money to help finance key purchases. Many consumers rely upon mortgages and loans to buy houses and cars, while many cash-strapped individuals turn to credit cards to buy essential goods and services ranging from food and electricity to water and rent for housing.

The eight benefits of good credit highlighted above showcase why it is critical to pay your bills on time and practice good budgeting. SoFi’s money tracker app allows you to monitor and keep track of your credit score, among other perks that could assist with financial planning and managing your net worth.

Check out the features SoFi offers to help bolster your financial success.


Photo credit: iStock/AndreyPopov

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

SORL0523023

Read more

What Happens If You Stop Paying Your Credit Card Bill?

If you don’t pay your credit card bill, you could face more severe consequences than you might think. Though it will depend on your credit card issuer, you can generally expect to be charged a late fee as well as a penalty interest rate which is higher than the regular purchase APR.

Life happens, and, from time to time, payments are missed, especially if you’re dealing with emergencies such as losing a job or a family crisis. In the event you have skipped a credit card payment, it’s crucial you understand what can happen. That way, you can take steps to reduce the odds of it having a major impact on your financial health.

Here, you’ll learn more about this topic, including:

•   What happens if you don’t pay your credit card bills?

•   What if you miss one credit card payment?

•   What happens if you only can make minimum payments?

•   How can you pay off credit cards?

What Happens If You Don’t Pay Your Credit Card?

Consequences for missed credit card payments could include being changed late fees and possibly losing your grace period. It may also negatively affect your credit score since issuers report your payment activity to the credit bureaus — in most cases after 30 days.

There may be other consequences depending on how late your payment is and whether it’s your first time missing a payment.

Accruing Interest

When you don’t pay your credit card, interest will accrue and will continue to do so as long as you have a balance on your card. In essence, you are paying more for your initial purchase thanks to that interest.

The longer you go without paying your credit card, the more you risk your rate going up. Your credit card issuer may start imposing a penalty annual percentage rate (APR), which tends to be higher than your regular purchase APR. If this happens, you’ll end up paying more in interest charges. The penalty APR may apply to all subsequent transactions until a certain period of time, such as for six billing cycles.

Collections

Depending on your credit card issuer, your missed payments may go into collections if it goes unpaid for a period of time. You’ll still continue to receive notices about missed payments until this point.

More specifically, if you don’t pay your credit card after 120 to 180 days, the issuer may charge off your account. This means that your credit card issuer wrote off your account as a loss, and the debt is transferred over to a collection agency or a debt buyer who will try to collect the debt.

Once this happens, you now owe the third-party debt buyer or collections agency. Your credit card issuer will also report your account status to the major credit bureaus — Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. This negative information could stay on your credit report for up to seven years.

It’s hard to tell what third-party debt collectors will do to try and collect your debt. Yes, they may send letters, call, and otherwise attempt to obtain the money due.

Some collections agencies may even try to file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations expires. In rare cases, a court may award a judgment against you. This means the collections agency may have the right to garnish your wages or even place a lien against your house.

If your credit card bill ends up going to collections, take the time to understand what your rights are and seek help resolving the situation. Low- or no-cost debt counseling is available through organizations like the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).

Bankruptcy

You may find that you have to declare bankruptcy if you still aren’t able to pay your high credit card debt and other financial obligations. This kind of major decision shouldn’t be taken lightly. You will most likely need to see legal counsel to determine whether you’re eligible.

If you do file bankruptcy, an automatic stay can come into effect, which protects you from collection agencies trying to get what you owe them. If successfully declare bankruptcy, then your credit card debt will most likely be discharged, though there may be exceptions. Seek legal counsel to see what your rights and financial obligations are once you’ve filed for bankruptcy.

Making Minimum Payments

A minimum payment is typically found in your credit card statement and outlines the smallest payment you need to make by the due date. Making the minimum payment ensures you are making on-time payments even if you don’t pay off your credit card balance. Any balance you do carry over to the next billing cycle will be charged interest. You can also avoid late fees and any other related charges by making a minimum payment vs. not paying at all.

What Happens if You Miss a Payment

If you can’t pay your credit card for whatever reason, it’s best to contact your issuer right away to minimize the impact. Let them know why you can’t make your payment, such as if you experienced a job loss or simply forgot. For the latter, pay at least the minimum amount owed as soon as you can (ideally before the penalty or higher APR kicks in).

If this is your first time missing a payment but otherwise paid on time, you can try talking to the credit card company to see if they can waive the late fee.

Some credit card issuers may offer financial hardship programs to those who qualify, such as waiving interest rates, extending the due date, or putting a pause on payments (though interest may still accrue) until you’re back on your feet.

15/3 Rule for Paying Off Credit Cards

The 15/3 payment method can help you keep on top of payments and lower your credit utilization — the percentage of the credit limit you’re using on revolving credit accounts — which can impact your score.

Instead of making one payment when you receive our monthly statement, you pay twice — one 15 days before the payment due date, and the other three days beforehand. This plan is useful if you want to help build your credit history and pay on time.

The Takeaway

Missing your credit card payment may not be a massive deal if it just happens once or twice, but it can turn into one if you continue to ignore your bill. While it’s not exactly fun to have to pay a late fee, you may be able to negotiate with the credit card issuer to waive it if you are otherwise a responsible user. Even if not, it’s better than being bumped up to the penalty APR or, worse still, having your account go to collections.

Are you looking for your first or a new credit card? Consider the SoFi Credit Card. With perks like cash back rewards on all purchases, no foreign transaction fees, and Mastercard ID Theft Protection, it may be just the right choice for your personal and financial goals.

The SoFi Credit Card: The smarter way to spend.

FAQ

How long can a credit card go unpaid?

The statute of limitations, or how long a creditor can try to collect the debt owed, varies from state to state, which can be decades or more.

What happens if you never pay your credit card bill?

If you never pay your credit card bill, the unpaid portion will eventually go into collections. You could also be sued for the debt. If the judge sides with the creditor, they can collect the debt by garnishing your wages or putting a lien on your property.

Is it true that after 7 years your credit is clear?

After seven years, most negative remarks on your credit report, such as accounts going to collections, are generally removed.


Photo credit: iStock/MStudioImages
The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

This article is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

SOCC0523007

Read more

Joint Account Holder vs Authorized User: Key Differences

You may have a few different options if you are looking to open a credit card account with an additional person. Being a joint account holder and an authorized user are two different ways that two people can share the same account. However, there are a few important differences that you’ll want to be aware of.

When you add an authorized user to your account, the authorized user can benefit from the good credit and payment history on your account. This can be one strategy to help a trusted friend or family member build their credit. With a joint credit card account, however, both people apply at the same time and both account holders are legally responsible for all purchases and debt on the account, regardless of which person actually makes the purchase.

Read on to learn more about this topic, including:

•   What is a credit card authorized user?

•   What is a joint account holder for a credit card?

•   What are things to consider before adding an authorized user?

•   What are things to consider before opening a joint credit card account?

•   How to know whether a joint credit card vs. an authorized user is right for you?

What Is a Credit Card Authorized User?

An authorized user on a credit card, sometimes called a supplementary credit card, is an additional user who is added to the account of the primary cardholder. The authorized user gets their own physical card and can make purchases. The authorized user may benefit from the good credit or a positive payment history on the account; it could help them establish or maintain their credit. However, they are not responsible for any of the purchases or debt.

How an Authorized User Impacts Your Credit

There are many factors that affect credit scores, but adding an authorized user to your account is not one of them. If you add an authorized user to your account, your credit will not be checked, and there should be no immediate impact on your credit. You will want to keep in mind, however, that you are responsible for any purchases made by authorized users. So if your authorized user spends more than you anticipate and you have trouble making the full monthly payment, it could impact your credit score.

Things to Consider When Adding an Authorized User to Your Account

Here’s a quick look at some things to consider when adding an authorized user to your account:

Risks Rewards
You are legally responsible for all purchases made by an authorized user May help establish or maintain the authorized user’s credit if used responsibly
May impact your credit if not used responsibly Additional spending can generate additional credit card rewards
Primary cardholder can remove the authorized user from the account at any time

Recommended: How Many Credit Cards Should I Have?

What Is a Joint Credit Card Account Holder?

Unlike adding an authorized user to your account, you will typically obtain a joint credit card by applying for one with another person. With a joint credit card, the credit of both prospective cardholders is evaluated and used to determine eligibility. If approved, both cardholders are equally and separately liable for all of the debts and purchases on the account, regardless of who actually made the purchase.

How a Joint Account Impacts Your Credit

When you apply for a joint account, the credit of both people is reviewed, and then the applicants are possibly approved to receive a card. This will generally show up on each potential account holder’s credit report as a new inquiry, which may temporarily lower each person’s credit score by a few points. Additionally, both joint cardholders are responsible for all of the debt, regardless of who actually uses the credit card. So if one person spends more than expected or has trouble paying the bill on time, it may negatively impact both cardholders’ credit scores.

Things to Consider Before Opening a Joint Credit Card Account

Here’s a quick look at some things to keep in mind before opening a joint credit card account:

Risks Rewards
Many major issuers do not allow joint accounts Additional spending by two people can generate higher credit card rewards
Cannot remove one person from the joint account without closing the entire account When used responsibly, it can help establish or maintain the credit of both cardholders
May get complicated if the relationship between the joint cardholders changes (e.g. divorce)

Joint Credit Card Account Holder vs Authorized User

Consider the differences between these two arrangements:

•   A joint credit card account is one where two people jointly open and use the account, with both people equally responsible for all of the debt.

•   An authorized user vs. a joint credit card has a key difference: The authorized user is not liable for any purchases they might make — instead the primary cardholder is responsible for all charges.

•   Being an authorized user may be one way to help establish your credit if the primary cardholder already has good credit and continues to use the account responsibly.

Recommended: What Is the Minimum Age to Be an Authorized User on a Credit Card?

Choosing the Right Option

A joint credit card account typically only makes sense for two people that are in a committed relationship in which they are already sharing their finances. And you will also want to keep in mind that many major credit card issuers do not offer joint credit card accounts.

An authorized user, on the other hand, can make sense if you want to help build the credit of someone who is starting out. By adding them to your account, you may help them establish their credit.

The Takeaway

An authorized user and a joint credit card account are different ways that two people can share a credit card account. With a joint credit card account, both people open the account together and are equally and separately liable for all charges on the account. With an authorized user on an account, only the primary cardholder is responsible for the charges. Those differences may help you decide which (if either) arrangement is right for you.

Whether you're looking to build credit, apply for a new credit card, or save money with the cards you have, it's important to understand the options that are best for you. Learn more about credit cards by exploring this credit card guide.

FAQ

Is a joint credit card holder the same as an authorized user?

No, having a joint credit card account is not the same as having an authorized user on your account. With a joint credit card, both account holders are equally and separately liable for all charges on the account, regardless of who actually makes the purchase. With an authorized user account, only the primary cardholder is responsible.

Is it better to be an authorized user or have your own credit card?

When you are an authorized user on a credit card, you can make purchases and may be able to establish your credit, but you’re not responsible for any of the charges. Being an authorized user can make sense especially if you are just starting out. However, it may make sense at some point to work towards having your own credit card account where you don’t have to rely on anyone else.

Can you have 2 names on a credit card?

Generally there won’t be two names on a credit card, even if it is a joint account. In both the case of a joint account and being an authorized user, each person will get their own credit card with their name on it. Depending on the card issuer, the credit card account number may be the same or may be different.


Photo credit: iStock/Igor Alecsander
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

SOCC1222080

Read more
TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender