If you have a credit score of 638, you may be wondering if you have a good credit score. Unfortunately, a score of 638 is not good. It puts you in the second-lowest tier of the FICO credit scoring model, which is broken down as follows:
- Very Poor: 300 to 579.
- Fair: 580 to 669.
- Good: 670 to 739.
- Very Good: 740 to 799.
- Exceptional: 800 to 850.
While your score is not great, the good news is that you’re still in the upper half of the Fair credit score range. If you take the time to break down why your score is suffering and then make a plan to repair your credit, you can work your way back up into the good graces of better credit.
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Why Your Credit Score Is 638
With a credit score as low as 638, it’s important to start the repair process by analyzing what is leading to your lower score.
Every credit score is different, as it reflects your unique financial history. Even so, many factors tend to impact all scores in similar ways. Review each of the following items and consider if it has influenced your current score for better or for worse.
Payment History and Derogatory Marks
Your payment history makes up 35% of your total credit score. It’s as simple as it sounds, too. If you make your payments consistently and on time, it can boost your score. If you miss payments, it can hurt your score, as well.
If you chronically miss payments, it can also lead to a derogatory mark on your credit report. When this happens, it can hurt your score for several years at a time.
If you have a derogatory mark on your report from a past financial failure, such as a delinquent account or a repossession, it’s important to take steps to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Once fixed, you can send a goodwill letter to the original lender asking them to forgive the misdemeanor and remove the mark from your report.
As a quick aside, when you review your credit report, you may also find a hard inquiry. This kind of mark appears when a lender officially checks your credit report before giving you a loan.
A hard inquiry, also known as a “hard pull,” can temporarily lower your score for up to a year. However, as long as you don’t have too many of these close together, they shouldn’t be a concern.
The total amount of your non-revolving credit is another important factor. This includes all of your loans that were borrowed in a single lump-sum to be paid back in installments over time.
If your non-revolving credit adds up over time, it can make lenders think twice before giving you additional money. Not surprisingly, too much debt can also lower your credit score.
Your Credit Utilization, Age, and Mix
Your credit utilization ratio is also worth reviewing. This is the percentage of your available revolving credit that you’ve actively borrowed. If this number gets to be above 30% or so on your various accounts, it can start to hurt your score.
Additionally, the average age of your credit is important, with older credit always being better. If you recently opened a new line of credit, it can lower the average age of your credit, bringing your score down in the process.
Finally, it’s also helpful to go over your credit mix. This is a consideration of the various forms of credit that you’re utilizing. If you’re able to responsibly manage auto loans, credit cards, a mortgage, student loans, and other forms of credit at the same time, it can boost your score.
As you consider the different categories listed above, write down your findings. If you realize that certain behaviors, like making your payments on time, have been helping you, make a note of it so that you can continue to steer into those activities in the future.
In the same vein, if you find that your credit utilization ratio is too high or your credit mix is limited, also make note of this so that you can work it into your credit repair plan of action.
What Can You Do With a 638 Credit Score?
A 638 credit score is very low and should be repaired. As such, there are not many things you’re able to do with a score this low — at least, not easily. For example, three areas that are significantly impacted by a Fair credit score are loans, housing, and credit cards:
- Personal loans: If you want to take out a personal loan with Fair credit, you may be flat-out denied.
- Even if you can find a lender that is willing to work with bad credit, you’ll likely be facing steeper interest rates and higher down payments.
- Housing: If you want to take out a mortgage with Fair credit, you’re once again looking at paying much higher interest rates and down payments — if you’re even approved in the first place.
- If you try to rent, a landlord may turn you down after reviewing your credit, as well. Even if they approve you as tenants, you’ll have to pay a higher security deposit in many cases.
- Credit cards: You can likely still get certain credit cards with Fair credit.
- However, you probably will have a restricted borrowing limit. You also won’t qualify for many of the benefits and rewards that many cards offer.
Fair credit can put a damper on much of your financial activity. The best way to overcome these obstacles is to create a plan to improve your credit moving forward.
How to Improve a 638 Credit Score
With a score of 638, one of your best options is to contact a credit repair company to help you create a plan that identifies your weaknesses and capitalizes on your strengths. In the meantime, there are other ways you can begin to improve your credit as well, such as:
- Getting your free annual copy of your credit report and reviewing it to dispute errors and resolve derogatory marks;
- Creating a solid budget that you’re able to update and stick to over the long-haul;
- Paying down your non-revolving debt and avoiding unnecessary loans;
- Using and paying off your revolving debt every month.
All of these activities will help you begin to build better financial habits geared toward healthy credit. If you’re able to stick to them over an extended period, they can help to launch you into the Good credit range and even higher.
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