How Good Is a Credit Score of 642?

FT Contributor
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A credit score of 642 officially ranks as “Fair,” according to the Experian credit score range. While this means borrowers with a 642 credit score have successfully surpassed minimal qualifications for a “Very Poor” ranking, further improvements are still necessary to achieve high scores and the associated benefits.

Credit scores can sometimes be difficult to understand. A combination of five individual financial factors that include credit age, credit type, and new credit, your credit score is a representation of a borrower’s creditworthiness.

A lesser credit score can make it difficult to obtain financing, while a “Good” credit score allows consumers to secure new loans, new credit cards, and new lines of credit whenever necessary.

Consumers looking to improve a credit score of 642 will often trust secure, free-to-use services like AnnualCreditReport.com, for regular updates on any new credit rating changes.

Why Your Credit Score Is 642

A credit score of 642 is the result of multiple financial factors, working together to determine an overall credit ranking. While it’s not possible to determine the exact factors responsible for your Fair credit score, common influences on 642 credit scores include inconsistent payment history, fluctuations in total debt, and excessive hard inquiries.

Inconsistent Payment History

As the primary ranking factor in determining a consumer’s credit score, payment history accounts for 35% of the equation to determine their credit rating.

Complete, on-time payments toward credit balances can contribute to systematic increases in a borrower’s 642 credit score. Just as easily, late or missed payments can compromise their credit score and make subsequent increases harder to achieve.

Increasing a credit score of 642 through consistent payments sounds easy in theory, and remains difficult in reality. With a credit score of 642, borrowers likely have issues maintaining consistent, on-time repayments toward debts.

Establishing a healthy payment history means practicing disciplined spending habits. It means minimizing unnecessary purchases and reserving sufficient portions of monthly wages specifically to pay off debts before they come due.

Fluctuations in Total Debt

Total debt accounts for 30% of the credit score equation and can have a large impact on a borrower’s credit rating. Individuals with a credit score of 642 sometimes allow fluctuations in total debt to influence overall credit ratings, often with negative results.

Maintaining low levels of debt can help turn a borrower’s credit regressions into increases, simply by paying down old debts as fast — or faster — than new debts are accrued.

There are times when high levels of debt are acceptable. For example, borrowers who have successfully secured a new home loan — or a sizable personal loan — will face high debt levels until those debts are sufficiently paid down.

In the months following the closure of a significant loan, paying down debts becomes especially important for individuals with 642 credit scores.

Reserving significant portions of your available budget specifically to address total debt can help quickly minimize credit statements in the wake of new loans, and can help you regain points lost after the loan closed.

Excessive Hard Inquiries

Any time a lender officially considers a potential borrower for a new line of credit, that lender will perform a hard inquiry — a routine examination of a consumer’s financial records. Hard inquiries can remain on an individual’s financial records for up to one year, and excessive hard inquiries can negatively impact their credit score.

More than one or two hard inquiries during a single year can also serve as a red flag for potential lenders. Lenders may be understandably hesitant to offer new loans to a borrower who already has a large number of active credit accounts to address.

Individuals with credit scores of 642 may experience the negative effects of excessive hard inquiries against their accounts. To optimize financial records and contribute toward future credit score improvements, borrowers with Poor and Fair credit scores should look to minimize hard inquiries each year.

Minimizing hard inquiries will prevent unnecessary credit score decreases, and will also help to improve the average age of your open credit accounts — another factor that can affect overall credit score.

What Can You Do With a 642 Credit Score?

Individuals with a Fair credit score of 642 may experience difficulty when attempting to secure new loans or activate new credit cards.

When you can successfully secure a new line of credit, acceptance by a lender may be contingent on higher annual fees, in addition to significant interest rates.

Consult the below information for even more details on the opportunities available to borrowers with credit scores of 642.

  • Rewards-based credit cards can help consumers earn perks from a wide variety of transactions.
    • The best rewards-based credit cards even offer benefits like airline miles and hotel points.
    • A credit score of 642 isn’t high enough to qualify for every credit card, but you can get store credit cards with 0% introductory financing and rewards from your favorite retail outlets.
  • Mortgage loans are sometimes available to borrowers with credit scores of 642, depending on your individual lender.
    • Even if you are accepted for a mortgage loan, you’ll likely have to deal with higher interest rates and more significant origination fees.
  • Apartment rentals are also a possibility with a credit score of 642.
    • While many apartment managers are accustomed to dealing with lower credit scores, your 642 credit rating isn’t high enough to gain you access to every apartment community out there.
  • Personal loans help consumers fund projects, whether that’s a home renovation or an unexpected medical bill.
    • While some lenders may approve borrowers with 642 credit scores, acceptance will likely mean high interest rates during repayment.
    • Consider personal loan options for lesser credit scores, if you’re having trouble finding a lender who will accept your current credit ranking.

Consumers with credit scores of 642 may face difficulty in obtaining new lines of credit. Until your credit score sees the necessary improvements, consider lenders who offer loans specifically for lower credit scores, to help you secure the financing you need, when you need it.

How to Repair a 642 Credit Score

Repairing a credit score of 642 starts when borrowers address any of the more serious risks to future credit score improvements. Namely, prioritize the repayment of any credit balances accruing especially high interest, as well as any payments due to collections agencies. Also, borrowers need to take the necessary steps to avoid bankruptcy.

Oftentimes, Fair credit scores are the result of younger credit accounts. Therefore, successive months with full, on-time payments can help naturally improve your credit score of 642 over time, fortifying your payment history and improving your credit age.

Sometimes, a credit account might require additional help from professional credit repair companies. The best credit repair agencies offer credit score improvement guarantees, specifically for accounts that contain errors or inaccuracies in credit reports.

Credit repair companies can even communicate directly with lenders and credit companies on your behalf, to help rectify credit score inconsistencies and set a foundation for future improvements.


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