How Good Is a Credit Score of 643?

FT Contributor
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According to credit reporting agency Experian, a credit score of 643 officially ranks as “Fair.” While you’ve surpassed minimum qualifications for a “Very Poor” credit score, your Fair credit score means further improvements are necessary to establish a “Good,” “Very Good,” or “Exceptional” score.

A credit score is a reflection of a borrower’s ability to repay a loan after it has been issued by a lender. Your current 643 credit rating is a collection of five distinct financial factors, that together comprise the credit score equation:

  • Credit age;
  • Credit type;
  • Payment history;
  • New credit;
  • Total debt.

Together, these influences on your credit score determine your eligibility to receive new loans, new credit cards, and other new lines of credit.

One of the first steps necessary to improve a credit score of 643 is obtaining access to updated financial information. That’s why safe-for-use credit aggregation program AnnualCreditReport.com collects your credit reports from credit reporting companies like Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

While it’s not a credit reporting program, AnnualCreditReport.com allows you to view several of your credit reports in a single, convenient place. Consumers can take necessary steps to improve credit scores, once they’re made aware of recent credit score changes and the possible reasons behind them.

Why Your Credit Score Is 643

Ultimately, it isn’t possible to identify the exact reasons behind your current credit score of 643. However, common influences on a Fair credit score include inconsistent payment history, higher levels of total debt, and too many hard inquiries.

Inconsistent Payment History

Accounting for 35% of your total credit score, payment history is the most important factor in establishing your credit rating. Borrowers who take steps to improve their payment history are therefore likely to see increases in overall credit rating.

With a credit score of 643, consumers typically have partial, late, or missed payments as part of their payment history. A clean payment history, characterized by full, complete payments toward credit balances made before deadlines, can lead to systematic increases in credit score.

Just as easily, inconsistent payments made toward total debts can prevent your credit score of 643 from seeing the improvements you want.

Higher Levels of Total Debt

Total debt makes up an additional 30% of your credit score and is another important factor that can yield dividends — positive or negative — for your credit ranking.

Individuals with credit scores of 642 are typically still working to lower overall debts across all active lines of credit. While it can be tempting to open a new line of credit simply to pay old debts, borrowers with “Good” credit scores understand that total debt is best lowered through regular, on-time payments toward credit balances.

Sometimes, higher levels of debt are normal. For instance, a borrower who has recently closed on a mortgage loan will face higher levels of debt, until balances are repaid.

In the months following the closure of any loan, it’s especially important that consumers take steps to pay down debts quickly. Doing so will help regain any points lost during loan closure, and will strengthen payment history while lowering total debt.

Too Many Hard Inquiries

Any time a borrower requests a new loan, a new credit card, or any new line of credit from a lender, a hard inquiry is typically performed. This hard inquiry is essentially an examination of a consumer’s financial history and helps a lender gauge that borrower’s creditworthiness.

Individuals with poorer credit scores may have registered too many hard inquiries over one year, pursuing new credit too frequently instead of minimizing credit accounts.

While one or two hard inquiries are normal during the year, excessive hard inquiries will negatively affect a credit score of 643. In addition, too many hard inquiries on a financial record can serve as a red flag for lenders, making them hesitant or unwilling to issue further loans until previous lines of credit are paid off.

Instead of pursuing new loans, individuals with higher credit scores understand that maintaining the same few lines of credit helps to improve average credit age — another factor that can improve your overall credit score.

What Can You Do With a 643 Credit Score?

While a credit score of 643 might mean increased interest rates and higher overall processing and security fees, you can usually still secure the financing you need, when you need it.

Consult the below details for even more information on the opportunities available to consumers with credit scores of 643.

  • Rewards-based credit cards offer incentives on a wide variety of purchases.
    • The best rewards-based credit cards help consumers earn airline miles, hotel, and restaurant points, even cash back on certain transactions.
    • While your credit score of 643 won’t qualify you for all credit cards, you can still earn a store credit card that offers 0% introductory financing options and perks from your favorite retailers.
  • Mortgage loans can help borrowers take steps toward obtaining their next property.
    • A credit score of 643 might mean some difficulty when finding a mortgage lender.
    • If you are accepted, you’ll still be subject to higher interest rates, and the possibility of additional fees.
  • Personal loans help individuals finance a wide variety of projects, everything from a destination wedding to an emergency bill.
  • Apartment rentals are possible to land with a credit score of 643, though acceptance will depend on your apartment community.
    • Many apartment managers are accustomed to dealing with lower credit scores, so there’s a chance your Fair credit score could be accepted.

Until you raise your Fair credit score, it might lead to difficulty in securing a new line of credit. Loans for bad credit should serve as a viable option until your credit score is high enough to satisfy reputed lenders.

How to Repair a 643 Credit Score

Repairing a credit score of 643 takes time and discipline. First, you need to address any of the more serious threats against your credit score, including loans in default, payments due to collections agencies, and bankruptcy.

After larger issues are satisfied, repairing a credit score of 643 means practicing healthy financial habits. Eliminating impulse purchases can help you preserve wages for credit repayments, helping you to establish a history of complete, on-time payments. This will lower total debt levels, and place you in fuller control of your finances.

If you find that errors on a credit report are compromising your credit score, it might be time to trust the professionals. The best credit repair agencies even offer credit score improvement guarantees and can communicate directly with lenders and credit companies to help rectify any inaccuracies in your financial records.

Repairing credit report mistakes and establishing improved spending habits can go a long way toward improving your credit score of 643, toward a credit rating you can take pride in.


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