Categories

600 Credit Score: Is it Good or Bad?

Your score falls within the range of scores, from 580 to 669, considered Fair. A 600 FICO® Score is below the average credit score.

Some lenders see consumers with scores in the Fair range as having unfavorable credit, and may decline their credit applications. Other lenders that specialize in "subprime" lending, are happy to work with consumers whose scores fall in the Fair range, but they charge relatively high interest rates and fees.

18% of all consumers have FICO® Scores in the Fair range (580-669)

18% of all consumers have Credit Scores in the Fair range (580-669)

.

Approximately 27% of consumers with credit scores in the Fair range are likely to become seriously delinquent in the future.

How to improve your 600 Credit Score

Think of your FICO® Score of 600 as a springboard to higher scores. Raising your credit score is a gradual process, but it's one you can begin right away.

83% of U.S. consumers' FICO® Scores are higher than 600.

You share a 600 FICO® Score with tens of thousands of other Americans, but none of them has that score for quite the same reasons you do. For insights into the specific causes of your score, and ideas on how to improve it, get copies of your credit reports and check your FICO® Score. Included with the score, you will find score-improvement suggestions based on your unique credit history. If you use those guidelines to adopt better credit habits, your score may begin to increase, bringing better credit opportunities.

Moving past a Fair credit score

While everyone with a FICO® Score of 600 gets there by his or her own unique path, people with scores in the Fair range often have experienced credit-management challenges.

The credit reports of 39% of Americans with a FICO® Score of 600 include late payments of 30 days past due.

Credit reports of individuals with Fair credit cores in the Fair range often list late payments (30 days or more past due) and collections accounts, which indicate a creditor has given up trying to recover an unpaid debt and sold the obligation to a third-party collections agent.

Some people with FICO® Scores in the Fair category may even have major negative events on their credit reports, such as foreclosures or bankruptcies—events that severely lower scores. Full recovery from these setbacks can take up to 10 years, but you can take steps now to get your score moving in the right direction.

Studying the report that accompanies your FICO® Score can help you identify the events that lowered your score. If you correct the behaviors that led to those events, work steadily to improve your credit, you can lay the groundwork to build up a better credit score.

The basis for your credit score

Credit scores such as the FICO® Score are based on your debt-management history, as recorded in your credit file. The scores are basically a summation of the way you've handled credit and bill payment. Good credit habits tend to promote higher credit scores, while poor or erratic habits tend to bring lower scores.

Here's a more detailed breakdown of the specific factors that influence your FICO® Score:

Public Information: If bankruptcies or other public records appear on your credit report, they can have severe negative impacts on your credit score.

Among consumers with a FICO® Score of 600, the average credit card debt is $5,908.

Payment history. Delinquent accounts and late or missed payments can harm your credit score. A history of paying your bills on time will help your credit score. It's pretty straightforward, and it's the single biggest influence on your credit score, accounting for as much as 35% of your FICO® Score.

Credit usage rate. To determine your credit utilization ratio, add up the balances on your revolving credit accounts (such as credit cards) and divide the result by your total credit limit. If you owe $4,000 on your credit cards and have a total credit limit of $10,000, for instance, your credit utilization rate is 40%. You probably know your credit score will suffer if you "max out" your credit limit by pushing utilization toward 100%, but you may not know that most experts recommend keeping your utilization ratio below 30% to avoid lowering your credit scores. Credit usage is responsible for about 30% of your FICO® Score.

Length of credit history. Credit scores generally benefit from longer credit histories. There's not much new credit users can do about that, except avoid bad habits and work to establish a track record of timely payments and good credit decisions. Length of credit history can constitute up to 15% of your FICO® Score.

Total debt and credit. Credit scores reflect your total amount of outstanding debt you have, and the types of credit you use. The FICO® Score tends to favor a variety of credit, including both installment loans (i.e., loans with fixed payments and a set repayment schedule, such as mortgages and car loans) and revolving credit (i.e., accounts such as credit cards that let you borrow within a specific credit limit and repay using variable payments). Credit mix can influence up to 10% of your FICO® Score.

Recent applications. When you apply for a loan or credit card, you trigger a process known as a hard inquiry, in which the lender requests your credit score (and often your credit report as well). A hard inquiry typically has a short-term negative effect on your credit score. As long as you continue to make timely payments, your credit score typically rebounds quickly from the effects of hard inquiries. (Checking your own credit is a soft inquiry and does not impact your credit score.) Recent credit applications can account for up to 10% of your FICO® Score.

Improving Your Credit Score

Fair credit scores can't be made into exceptional ones overnight, and bankruptcies, foreclosures and some other negative issues that contribute to Fair credit scores only resolve themselves with the passage of time. But no matter the cause of your Fair score, you can start handling credit more, which can lead in turn to credit-score improvements.

Seek a secured credit card. A secured card can benefit your credit score, even if you don't qualify for traditional credit cards. Once you've confirmed that the lender reports card activity to the national credit bureaus, you put down a deposit in the full amount of your spending limit—typically a few hundred dollars. When you use the card and make regular payments, those activities will be recorded in your credit files. And as long as you keep your usage rate on the card below about 30%, and stay on schedule with your monthly payments, they'll help you build stronger credit.

Consider a credit-builder loan. As the name implies, these are specialty loans designed to help build or shore up borrowers' credit profiles, by demonstrating the ability to make regular monthly payments. When you take out one of these loans, the credit union places the money you've borrowed in a savings account that generates interest. Once you've paid off the loan, you get the cash and the interest it has accrued. It's a neat savings tool, but the real payoff comes as the credit union reports your payments to the national credit bureaus, which can lead to credit-score improvements. (Double-check with the lender to make sure they report activity to all three national credit bureaus before you apply for a credit-builder loan.)

Consider a debt-management plan. A debt-management plan (DMP) can be helpful to borrowers who find themselves overextended and unable to keep up with credit payments. Working in conjunction with an authorized credit-counseling agency, you negotiate a manageable repayment schedule, effectively closing all your credit accounts in the process. This is a major step that can seriously harm your credit score in the near-term, but it's less damaging than bankruptcy and can eventually give you a clean start on rebuilding your credit. Even if a DMP isn't for you, a good non-profit credit counselor (as distinct from credit-repair company) can help you find strategies for building up your credit.

Pay your bills on time. If you could do only one thing to improve your credit score, nothing would help more than bringing overdue accounts up to date, and avoiding late payments as you move forward. Do whatever you can to remind yourself to pay the bills on time: Use automatic payments, set calendar alarms, or just write yourself notes and pin them where's you'll see them. Within a few months you'll train yourself in habits that promote higher credit-scores.

Avoid high credit utilization rates. Credit utilization, or debt usage, is the basis for about 30% of your FICO® Score. Keep your utilization rate below about 30% can help you avoid lowering your score.

Among consumers with FICO® credit scores of 600, the average utilization rate is 78.2%.

Try to establish a solid credit mix. You shouldn't take on debt you don't need, but prudent borrowing, including a combination of revolving credit and installment debt, can be beneficial to your credit score.

Learn more about your credit score

A 600 FICO® Score is a good starting point for building a better credit score. Boosting your score into the good range could help you gain access to more credit options, lower interest rates, and reduced fees. You can begin by getting your free credit report from Experian and checking your credit score to find out the specific factors that impact your score the most. Read more about score ranges and what a good credit score is.

How Good Is Your Credit Score?

300 credit score301 credit score302 credit score303 credit score304 credit score305 credit score306 credit score307 credit score308 credit score309 credit score310 credit score311 credit score312 credit score313 credit score314 credit score315 credit score316 credit score317 credit score318 credit score319 credit score320 credit score321 credit score322 credit score323 credit score324 credit score325 credit score326 credit score327 credit score328 credit score329 credit score330 credit score331 credit score332 credit score333 credit score334 credit score335 credit score336 credit score337 credit score338 credit score339 credit score340 credit score341 credit score342 credit score343 credit score344 credit score345 credit score346 credit score347 credit score348 credit score349 credit score350 credit score351 credit score352 credit score353 credit score354 credit score355 credit score356 credit score357 credit score358 credit score359 credit score360 credit score361 credit score362 credit score363 credit score364 credit score365 credit score366 credit score367 credit score368 credit score369 credit score370 credit score371 credit score372 credit score373 credit score374 credit score375 credit score376 credit score377 credit score378 credit score379 credit score380 credit score381 credit score382 credit score383 credit score384 credit score385 credit score386 credit score387 credit score388 credit score389 credit score390 credit score391 credit score392 credit score393 credit score394 credit score395 credit score396 credit score397 credit score398 credit score399 credit score400 credit score401 credit score402 credit score403 credit score404 credit score405 credit score406 credit score407 credit score408 credit score409 credit score410 credit score411 credit score412 credit score413 credit score414 credit score415 credit score416 credit score417 credit score418 credit score419 credit score420 credit score421 credit score422 credit score423 credit score424 credit score425 credit score426 credit score427 credit score428 credit score429 credit score430 credit score431 credit score432 credit score433 credit score434 credit score435 credit score436 credit score437 credit score438 credit score439 credit score440 credit score441 credit score442 credit score443 credit score444 credit score445 credit score446 credit score447 credit score448 credit score449 credit score450 credit score451 credit score452 credit score453 credit score454 credit score455 credit score456 credit score457 credit score458 credit score459 credit score460 credit score461 credit score462 credit score463 credit score464 credit score465 credit score466 credit score467 credit score468 credit score469 credit score470 credit score471 credit score472 credit score473 credit score474 credit score475 credit score476 credit score477 credit score478 credit score479 credit score480 credit score481 credit score482 credit score483 credit score484 credit score485 credit score486 credit score487 credit score488 credit score489 credit score490 credit score491 credit score492 credit score493 credit score494 credit score495 credit score496 credit score497 credit score498 credit score499 credit score500 credit score501 credit score502 credit score503 credit score504 credit score505 credit score506 credit score507 credit score508 credit score509 credit score510 credit score511 credit score512 credit score513 credit score514 credit score515 credit score516 credit score517 credit score518 credit score519 credit score520 credit score521 credit score522 credit score523 credit score524 credit score525 credit score526 credit score527 credit score528 credit score529 credit score530 credit score531 credit score532 credit score533 credit score534 credit score535 credit score536 credit score537 credit score538 credit score539 credit score540 credit score541 credit score542 credit score543 credit score544 credit score545 credit score546 credit score547 credit score548 credit score549 credit score550 credit score551 credit score552 credit score553 credit score554 credit score555 credit score556 credit score557 credit score558 credit score559 credit score560 credit score561 credit score562 credit score563 credit score564 credit score565 credit score566 credit score567 credit score568 credit score569 credit score570 credit score571 credit score572 credit score573 credit score574 credit score575 credit score576 credit score577 credit score578 credit score579 credit score
Sign up for helpful tips, special offers and more!
You're signed up!
Our system is undergoing maintenance and will be available again soon.