How Good Is a Credit Score of 655?

FT Contributor
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According to credit reporting company Experian, your credit score of 655 officially ranks as “Fair.”

While you’ve already surpassed the minimum requirements for a “Very Poor” rating, your Fair credit score still requires additional attention before it’s sufficiently high to rank as “Good,” “Very Good,” or “Exceptional/Excellent.”

The incentives behind an increased credit score speak for themselves: the positive relationship between credit score and your capacity to secure new credit makes your current 655 ranking well worth the work.

One of the first steps in improving your overall credit score of 655 is ensuring that you have continual access to any score updates or fluctuations. This is why many consumers trust free, third-party credit reporting agencies, like safe-for-use, for ongoing access to pending credit score updates as they develop.

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Why Your Credit Score Is 655

While it isn’t possible to determine the exact factors that determine a credit score of 655, common influences include fluctuations in payment consistency, excessive hard inquiries, and total debt.

Fluctuations in Payment Consistency

At 35% of your total credit score, payment history is one of the most important factors that determine your overall credit score. In the same way that consistent, complete payments can help to build up your credit score over time, inconsistent, incomplete or entirely missed payments can quickly derail a credit score.

With a credit score of 655, there’s a fairly high likelihood that payment history could be negatively affecting your ranking.

Here’s the good news: there’s a simple, foolproof way to improve your credit score through payment history; ensure regular, on-time payments to satisfy your credit balances as they accrue.

While this commitment certainly requires dedication, it’s absolutely pivotal when it comes to making your credit score work for you. No matter your annual income per month, resolve to dedicate a specific percentage of your salary toward paying off credit balances as they accrue.

If you know you have trouble remembering to make those payments, consider enrolling in automatic credit payments.

Excessive Hard Inquiries

One of the signs of a Good credit score is having few hard inquiries. When you submit a loan application, for example, the potential lender may perform a hard inquiry to assess your financial history and determine your likelihood of repaying a new loan.

This check into your credit score remains on your financial record for the period of one year. While one to two hard inquiries per year is normal, anything more than a few inquiries means you frequently sought new loans or credit cards, and can pose serious challenges when you’re applying for more lines of credit.

Total Debt

Total remaining debt plays a role in determining your credit score as well. In fact, your credit balance, a total of all remaining debts across all active lines of credit, is the second most influential factor in deciding your credit score, behind payment history.

If you find yourself with high levels of unpaid debt — especially stagnant debt that isn’t addressed month after month — your outstanding balances could be negatively affecting your credit score. Look to pay down debts aggressively, obviously without compromising your financial future.

What Can You Do With a 655 Credit Score?

Even though it’s certainly possible, it’s oftentimes difficult for individuals with Poor and Fair credit scores to secure mortgages, personal loans, credit cards, and other financial products requiring sufficient credit ratings.

With that said, you still have options available when it comes to securing new credit. Some loan options optimized for lesser credit scores are a viable possibility, and should be consulted when your short- or long-term loan is especially important.

Note that loans tailored for lower credit scores often feature especially high interest rates, or high fees to offset the risk of lending credit to consumers with inconsistent financial pasts.

Reference the information below for even more information on everything a credit score of 655 can — and cannot — do for you.

  • Rewards-based credit cards are not available to consumers with a credit score of 655; the best incentive-based credit cards featuring airline miles, hotel points, and cash-back options require higher credit ratings.
    • A person with a Fair credit score should expect to qualify for cards with high interest rates and fees, if a 655 credit score is sufficient to obtain an unsecured card at all.
  • Home mortgage loans are an option with a 655 credit score, though you won’t be able to land any industry-best interest rates.
    • Without a Very Good or an Exceptional/Excellent credit rating, it’s more likely that your mortgage will go through contingent on your payment of higher-than-average interest, with origination fees attached.
      • Personal loans are perfect for personal projects, everything from your destination wedding to the renovation of your back porch to an unexpected hospital bill.
  • Low car insurance premiums are not likely with a credit score of 655.
    • Even though your monthly rates might be higher, your credit rating is still sufficient to help you obtain insurance to protect your ride.
    • With full, continued insurance payments and safe driving habits, it’s likely that your monthly premium could go down.

A credit score of 655 qualifies you for certain credit cards, as well as select mortgage and personal loans. Even though you may qualify for these financial opportunities, your Fair credit scores might also mean higher fees and lofty interest rates.

How to Repair a 655 Credit Score

Repairing your credit score of 655 starts with getting past roadblocks to improvement.

Address any loans which may be in default and prioritize credit repayments to collections agencies and balances with especially high interest rates.

Settle civil judgments and avoid bankruptcy, which hinders long-term credit score improvement and can remain on your financial record for up to 10 years.

Discipline your spending habits to make sure you limit unnecessary payments and settle credit balances as soon as fiscally possible. Here’s a good rule of thumb: make sure you pay down old debts at a greater rate than you build new debt to improve your overall credit score by improving credit utilization and lowering overall debt.

When you make rebuilding your credit score a priority, it’s often wise to include a professional credit restoration company in your plans. The best credit repair agencies can help you navigate all aspects of credit score improvements, even communicating with lenders on your behalf to assess and improve your financial situation.

Repairing your credit score beyond 655 is a process that requires time, but one that yields financial benefits for the rest of your life once your credit score is something you can take pride in.

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