How Good Is a Credit Score of 644?

FT Contributor
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A credit score of 644 officially ranks as “Fair,” according to credit reporting bureau Experian. This means you’ve surpassed “Very Poor” credit rankings, though further improvements are still necessary to qualify you for lower interest rates, more reasonable fees, and other benefits that come with higher credit scores.

Credit scores can be confusing until they’re explained. A figure that helps a lender gauge a borrower’s aptitude to repay a loan, your credit score is a reflection of creditworthiness. The equation which determines your credit score is influenced by five financial factors:

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

Improving a credit score of 644 can begin once you have access to recent credit score updates. That’s why safe-for-use credit aggregation company collects credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion into one convenient location.

While not a credit reporting program in itself, can help you identify and learn from changes to your credit score.

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Why Your Credit Score Is 644

While it isn’t possible to identify the exact factors that determine a credit score of 644, common influences on a Fair credit score include mixed payment history, higher loan utilization rates, and excessive hard inquiries.

Mixed Payment History

Payment history accounts for 35% of the equation that determines your credit score. This makes payment history — whether it’s clean or inconsistent — the most important ranking factor when it comes to improving a credit score of 644.

A history of full, on-time payments can help systematically increase a Very Poor or Fair credit score. Just as easily, missed or incomplete payments toward credit balances can compromise payment history, and make future score improvements more difficult to achieve.

Optimizing your payment history for future credit score increases is easy in theory — simply making complete payments toward debts before their deadlines can help improve your underlying score.

However, this means avoiding unnecessary purchases and reserving sufficient funds from monthly wages specifically to pay off credit statements. Disciplined spending habits can go a long way toward establishing a healthy payment history, and the possible credit score increases to come.

Higher Loan Utilization Rates

Expressed as a ratio of used credit over credit available, loan utilization reflects how much available funding is currently being used. Individuals with credit scores of 644 often use more available credit than necessary, increasing loan utilization rates and indirectly contributing to decreases in overall credit score.

While high credit ceilings can feel like an invitation for increased spending, individuals with “Good” credit scores understand that low loan utilization rates are one of the keys to minimizing debt. Keeping your overall credit use low means more affordable monthly payments toward credit balances, and can reflect positively on overall credit rankings.

Excessive Hard Inquiries

Any time a lender considers a borrower for a new line of credit, a hard inquiry is typically performed. A general check into a consumer’s financial history to determine fiscal responsibility, hard inquiries will remain on a borrower’s financial records for up to one year and can influence aptitude for future loans.

While it’s normal to have one or two hard inquiries on personal financial records, excessive hard inquiries can serve as a serious red flag for future lenders.

After all, lenders will be understandably hesitant to offer new credit to borrowers with multiple existing lines of credit. Improving your credit score of 644 can mean minimizing lines of active credit, to prevent hard inquiries and further improve average credit age.

What Can You Do With a 644 Credit Score?

A Fair credit score of 644 may mean you’ll have a harder time securing a new loan, new credit card, or new line of credit. Even when your Fair credit score qualifies for a loan, acceptance by a lender will often come contingent on higher interest rates, lofty fees, and significant monthly premiums.

Consult the below details to determine which financial opportunities your credit score of 644 can help you unlock.

  • Rewards-based credit cards help consumers earn incentives from a wide variety of transactions.
    • A credit score of 644 isn’t likely to qualify you for one of the best rewards-based credit cards that earn airline miles or hotel points, though you can still acquire a credit card with 0% introductory financing and unique benefits from your favorite retail outlets.
      • Personal loans allow borrowers to fund personal projects, whether that’s a destination honeymoon or an emergency bill.
        • Depending on your lender, a 644 credit score is often insufficient to qualify for a personal loan.
        • Fortunately, personal loan options for lesser credit scores can still help you secure the financing you need in a more urgent situation.
  • Mortgage loans help consumers successfully acquire property. A credit score of 644 may qualify you to receive a mortgage loan, though acceptance by a reputed lender will likely mean higher-than-average interest rates, as well as extra fees.
  • Apartment rentals are often an option for individuals with 644 credit scores, especially since many apartment managers typically deal with lower credit scores.
    • Depending on the individual apartment community, your Fair credit score may be sufficient to help you secure your next apartment.

Until your Fair credit score of 644 is sufficiently improved, you may experience difficulty when attempting to secure a new line of credit. Fortunately, low-credit loans from approved lenders can still help you secure the finances you need to spend money in the ways you want.

How to Repair a 644 Credit Score

The first step to repairing a credit score of 644 is typically addressing the more serious risks to long-term financial health. This means prioritizing loans in default, completing repayments due to collections agencies, and avoiding bankruptcy.

Repairing a Fair credit score also means practicing healthy financial habits. Eliminating unnecessary monthly transactions and making full, on-time payments before credit deadlines can help you improve your payment history and lower total debt.

You’ll also want to reduce hard inquiries by limiting active lines of credit to minimize your number of necessary payments per month and increase your credit age.

If you notice any inconsistencies in a credit report, consider the help of a credit repair agency before these errors manifest in overall credit rating decreases. The best credit repair agencies will even communicate with credit companies and lenders on your behalf, to rectify any inaccuracies in your financial records.

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