How Good Is a Credit Score of 649?

FT Contributor
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A credit score of 649 officially ranks as “Fair,” according to credit reporting agency Experian. While this means you’ve already surpassed a “Very Poor” credit rating, your Fair credit score still requires additional increases before you’ll earn more affordable loans and lower interest rates.

Credit scores can be confusing. A collection of five individual financial factors that determine an individual’s creditworthiness, your credit score helps lenders determine your capacity to repay a loan.

A “Good” credit score can make it easier to obtain new lines of credit, while lesser credit scores can make it more difficult to spend money in the ways you want.

Improving a 649 credit score past a Fair ranking is made easier when borrowers are provided with regular updates on any new credit ranking changes. That’s why many consumers trust programs like

A secure credit aggregation service, is not a credit reporting agency; it collects credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion in one convenient location.

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Why Your Credit Score Is 649

While it is not possible to determine the exact factors which contribute to a credit score of 649, common influences on a Fair credit rating include higher levels of total debt, a mixed payment history, and excessive hard inquiries.

Higher Levels of Total Debt

One of the most important factors that contribute toward your credit score, total debt takes into account balances across all active lines of credit. Total debt accounts for 30% of the total credit score equation. Consumers with a Fair credit score of 649 often have credit accounts characterized by higher remaining balances to be paid off.

Under some circumstances, it is normal to have higher levels of remaining debt. For example, borrowers who have just secured sizable mortgages or personal loans may face higher debts.

Individuals with Good credit scores understand how important it is to make complete payments toward debt levels, especially in the months immediately following the acceptance of a loan. Paying down total debts can also help consumers earn back any credit points lost during the loan acquisition process.

Mixed Payment History

Payment history is the single most influential factor in determining a borrower’s credit rating. Accounting for 35% of the total credit score equation, a consumer’s payment history can yield large dividends on regular credit score improvements or regressions.

Individuals with a credit score of 649 likely have payment histories with mixed records: while some payments have been made on-time, others were potentially late, incomplete, or altogether missed.

Increasing your credit score through a clean payment history can sound simple in theory: making full, on-time payments toward credit balances can lead to credit score improvements.

However, this requires disciplined spending habits. Consumers will need to eliminate unnecessary spending and dedicate appropriate portions of monthly income toward paying down credit balances.

Once these practices become routine, borrowers with poor credit scores can begin to see credit score improvements — instead of regressions — because of payment history.

Excessive Hard Inquiries

Whenever a lender considers a potential borrower for a new line of credit, a hard inquiry is performed. A routine check into a consumer’s financial history, hard inquiries can help lenders identify a consumer’s level of fiscal responsibility, and potential risk.

While one or two hard inquiries during the year won’t significantly impact a credit score, too many hard inquiries within a short time can lead to decreases in credit ranking.

In addition, excessive hard inquiries can serve as serious red flags to lenders, as they can indicate borrowers who frequently seek new lines of credit instead of paying down existing loans.

With a Fair credit score of 649, some borrowers likely have credit scores that are negatively affected by excessive hard inquiries.

What Can You Do With a 649 Credit Score?

A credit score of 649 might make it more difficult to successfully acquire a new line of credit. When lenders do decide that your credit rating is sufficient for a loan, acceptance can come contingent with significant interest rates, lofty fees, and higher payments.

Reference the below information, for more details on the financial opportunities available to borrowers with a credit score of 649.

  • Rewards-based credit cards offer transactional benefits to consumers, from a wide range of purchases.
    • While a credit score of 649 is often insufficient to help individuals obtain the best rewards-based credit cards — which offer perks like hotel and restaurant points, airline miles, and cash-back options — you can still obtain a credit card offering 0% introductory financing and incentives from popular retailers.
  • Mortgage loans can help consumers take steps toward property ownership.
    • While there is a good chance that certain lenders will accept your credit score of 649, you’ll likely face steeper interest rates, as well as the possibility of additional fees.
      • Personal loans help consumers fund personal projects, whether that’s a private wedding or an unexpected hospital bill.
        • Your credit score might be sufficient to earn a personal loan, depending on your lender, but you can expect high interest rates upon acceptance.
        • Many consumers with Fair credit ratings consider personal loan options for lesser credit scores.
  • Apartment rentals are often available to borrowers with credit scores of 649.
    • Especially since apartment managers often deal with lower credit scores, your Fair credit ranking should be sufficient to qualify for an apartment rental — depending on the apartment community’s acceptance policies.

With a credit score of 649, borrowers might face challenges when attempting to qualify for new loans. Until your credit score improves, there are still lenders who offer loans for poor credit scores, to help you secure the funding you need in a pinch.

How to Repair a 649 Credit Score

The first steps to repairing a credit score of 649 include addressing any of the more serious risks to long-term financial health. These issues can include loans in default, repayments due to collections agencies, and bankruptcy.

Avoiding significant marks against your credit record will help set a foundation for eventual credit score increases.

Often, repairing a credit score of 649 means shifting financial habits. To lower total debt, improve payment history, and prioritize other factors like credit age that can help to improve a Fair credit score, borrowers need to practice fiscal discipline.

This means fewer impulse purchases per month, and a commitment to frugal spending that reserves more money specifically for credit repayment.

If you notice errors in your credit report, don’t hesitate to reach out to a credit repair company before your credit score decreases. The best credit repair agencies can even communicate with lenders and credit companies on your behalf and will help you rectify any inaccuracies in your account.

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