How Good Is a Credit Score of 658?

FT Contributor

A credit score of 658 officially ranks as Fair, according to renowned credit reporting and advisory agency Experian.

Just as a positive credit score can make it even easier to obtain a mortgage loan, reasonable apartment rate, or the best in rewards-based credit cards, a lesser credit score makes it more challenging.

Achieving a Good credit score is the result of on-time payments, minimal credit utilization, and disciplined spending habits that allow you to dedicate healthy percentages of your monthly wages directly toward credit balances.

The first step in improving any credit score is gaining access to a tool that can deliver regular credit score updates, keeping you always aware of the newest credit score increases or fluctuations.

This is why many individuals trust free, secure credit reporting resource or other third-party reporting tools like it; access to your updated credit score is paramount if you’re serious about making progress.

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Why Your Credit Score Is 658

While it’s impossible to determine exactly which factors determine your credit score of 658, common influences on a Fair credit score include payment history, defaulted loans, collections requests, and excessive hard inquiries.

Complete Payment History

Though they might seem incidental, credit scores are no accident. Rather, your credit score is the result of a simple financial equation, with no variable more important than your payment history.

In fact, payment history — your record of credit payments whether they were complete or incomplete, late or on time — is the single-most important factor in determining your credit ranking, accounting for 35% of your total credit score.

Consistent payments made toward your outstanding credit balances pave the way for credit score improvements. Especially if you know you have missed or late payments in your past, creating a new practice of recurring credit payments will be key to improving your credit score for long-term success.

Incomplete or missing payments could be preventing you from further improving your credit score past its current Fair ranking, so make sure that you’re taking the time each month to prioritize full, complete credit payments.

Defaulted Loans or Collections Requests

In more serious cases where missed payments became chronic missed payment habits, loans could reach a default status. Improving your credit score past a Fair ranking means addressing defaulted loans before any legal action is involved.

And if a collections agency is requesting repayment of debts owed, that’s a serious item to address in the near future. Freedom from defaulted loans and collections agencies is only one step in the journey toward repaired credit, but it also means distancing yourself from poor spending habits and progressing toward increased financial responsibility.

Excessive Hard Inquiries

Hard inquiries are performed any time a new lender evaluates you as a potential new borrower. It’s an action that remains on your financial record for one year, and indicates to other potential lenders that you likely have other lines of credit to address, in addition to the new one they’re considering for you.

It’s normal to have one to two hard inquiries each year, especially if you requested a personal loan or obtained a mortgage. However, anything more than a few hard inquiries is a serious red flag to lenders, and can negatively affect overall credit score.

Accounts characterized by Very Poor or Fair credit scores are generally more likely to have higher numbers of open hard inquiries, whereas Exceptional/Excellent credit scores mean individuals have consolidated debt and avoided unnecessary new credit lines.

What Can You Do With a 658 Credit Score?

Your credit score helps you unlock financial opportunities, from funding a personal project with a personal loan to securing your dream home through a mortgage.

A Fair-ranking 658 credit score might mean that you’ll experience some difficulties in accessing financial products, at least until you pursue ways to improve that credit score into the Good range.

Still, with loan options specifically tailored toward those with lower credit, you can always find new ways to pursue your goals.

Let’s dive into the specifics to discover everything your credit score of 658 can do for you.

  • Rewards credit cards often offer rewards for routine purchases, everything from airline miles and hotel points to restaurant perks and cash-back options.
    • While your credit score of 658 prevents you from enjoying many of these higher-tier options, there are still options available. While you may qualify for credit cards, they’ll come with higher annual percentage rates (APRs) and possible hidden fees.
  • Apartment rentals are also likely available to you with a credit score of 658.
    • While each apartment complex adopts a different approach to potential residents’ credit scores, many apartment communities typically deal with lower credit scores which have not yet benefited from regular mortgage payments.
    • Stay alert for extra “security fees” or higher monthly rates because of your Fair credit score.
  • Personal loans help you address expected or unexpected transactions in daily life, everything from unforeseen hospital bills to your destination wedding.
    • A 658 credit score means it’ll be difficult to secure a personal loan from a recognized financial institution, though low-credit personal loans from qualified lenders can provide cash when you need it, albeit with higher interest rates and regular fees.
  • Car insurance premiums dictate the amount you will pay to your car insurance provider on a regular basis.
    • While you’ll be able to secure car insurance with a credit score of 658, you can’t expect low premiums.
    • Achieve a Very Good or an Exceptional/Excellent credit score before expecting discounts on regular car insurance payments.

How to Repair a 658 Credit Score

While a credit score of 658 certainly isn’t the end goal, it can still provide a firm foundation for improvements to come. Establishing a regular habit of on-time payments can go a long way toward systematically improving your credit score.

Prioritize strict spending habits that limit impulse buys and maximize how much you can dedicate to credit repayments on a monthly basis. Consider setting up automatic payments, so that you never forget to pay down credit balances again.

Repairing your credit score also means taking care of any more serious issues your accounts might be facing. Though it might be difficult, addressing loans in default and repaying debts to collections agencies can help you avoid litigation and remove penalties against your credit score.

And one of the best options when it comes to credit repair is simply to trust the pros. While a wide variety of credit repair agencies exist, the absolute best credit repair companies can deliver concrete results in only a few months, and will even communicate directly with credit card companies on your behalf.

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