Bad credit is a term that many people have heard but often do not fully understand. It can have far-reaching consequences for individuals, affecting their ability to obtain loans, credit cards, rent an apartment or even secure certain job opportunities. In this article, Dollar Hand will explore what’s considered bad credit, how it is determined, and the significant impact it can have on one’s financial life.
What Is Bad Credit?
Bad credit is a financial status that indicates a person’s creditworthiness is subpar in the eyes of lenders and creditors. In essence, it signifies that a person is considered a higher risk when it comes to repaying borrowed money.
Bad credit is typically assessed through a person’s credit score, which is a numerical representation of their credit history. This score is often calculated using a person’s credit report, which contains detailed information about their borrowing and repayment history.
How Is Bad Credit Determined?
The most common way to determine bad credit is through a credit score. In the United States, the FICO score is one of the most widely used credit scoring models.
FICO scores range from 300 to 850, with higher scores indicating better creditworthiness. While the specific criteria may vary slightly among credit bureaus and lenders, the general factors that contribute to a low credit score and bad credit status include:
|Payment History:||Payment history is one of the most significant factors affecting your credit score. Late payments, missed payments and defaults on loans or credit cards can have a severe negative impact on your credit.|
|Credit Utilization:||The amount of credit you are currently using in relation to your total available credit, often referred to as the credit utilization ratio, is important. High credit card balances relative to your credit limit can harm your credit score.|
|Length of Credit History:||Lenders like to see a long and positive credit history. The length of time your credit accounts have been open and your oldest account can impact your credit score.|
|Types of Credit:||A mix of different types of credit, such as credit cards, installment loans and mortgages, can positively affect your credit score.|
|New Credit Inquiries:||Applying for multiple new credit accounts in a short period can lower your credit score, as it may indicate financial distress.|
|Negative Items:||Bankruptcies, foreclosures, repossessions and accounts sent to collections will have a severe impact on your credit.|
What’s Considered A Bad Credit Score?
There is no universal threshold for what constitutes bad credit, as this can vary depending on the lender or credit reporting agency. However, a common classification is as follows:
- Excellent Credit: 750 and above
- Good Credit: 700 to 749
- Fair Credit: 650 to 699
- Poor Credit: 600 to 649
- Bad Credit: Below 600
While these ranges can give you a general idea, it is important to note that the specific standards may differ among lenders, and what’s considered bad credit for one may be seen as fair or even good credit by another.
What Is The Impact of Bad Credit?
Bad credit can have far-reaching consequences, affecting various aspects of an individual’s financial life. Let’s explore how bad credit can impact several areas:
Bad credit can make it difficult to qualify for personal loans, auto loans, mortgages and credit cards. When you do manage to get approved, you may face higher interest rates and less favorable terms.
Landlords often run credit checks on prospective tenants. With bad credit, it can be challenging to secure a rental property, and if you do, you might need to pay a higher security deposit or face increased rent.
Some employers may check an applicant’s credit history as part of the hiring process, particularly for positions involving financial responsibilities. Bad credit could cost you job opportunities.
Insurers may use credit scores to determine premiums for auto and home insurance. A lower credit score can result in higher insurance costs.
Utility companies may require a security deposit or impose higher fees for individuals with bad credit when setting up gas, electricity or water services.
Difficulty in Starting a Business
If you have entrepreneurial aspirations, bad credit can make it challenging to secure business loans or attract investors.
Limited Financial Freedom
Bad credit can restrict your ability to obtain new lines of credit, making it harder to manage unexpected expenses and emergencies.
Bad credit can be emotionally distressing, leading to feelings of shame or guilt. It can strain personal relationships and affect mental wellbeing.
How To Improve Your Credit
While bad credit can have a significant impact on your financial life, it is not a permanent condition. There are steps you can take to improve your credit score and work towards better financial health:
Review Your Credit Report: Obtain a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Review it for inaccuracies or errors, and dispute any discrepancies you find.
Pay Your Bills on Time: Consistently making on-time payments is one of the most effective ways to improve your credit score. Set up reminders or automatic payments to ensure you never miss a due date.
Reduce Credit Card Balances: Pay down your credit card balances to lower your credit utilization ratio. Aim to keep your balances well below your credit limits.
Avoid New Debt: Be cautious about taking on new debt, as it can lead to more credit inquiries and potential financial strain.
Build Positive Credit History: If you have a limited credit history, consider opening a secured credit card or becoming an authorized user on someone else’s account to build positive credit.
Create a Budget: Managing your finances and creating a budget can help you avoid overspending and make it easier to meet your financial obligations.
Seek Professional Help: If your financial situation is particularly challenging, consider working with a credit counselor or financial advisor who can provide guidance on improving your credit.
The Bottom Line
Understanding what’s considered bad credit and its far-reaching consequences is essential for anyone looking to achieve financial stability and security. A low credit score can affect your ability to secure loans, rent a home, find employment, and more.
Fortunately, with effort and discipline, you can take steps to improve your credit and pave the way to a brighter financial future. Remember that your credit history is a reflection of your financial responsibility, and it is within your power to make positive changes.
Justine is a full-time writer with lots of expertise and a wealth of experience in the financial world. In particular, she specializes in household income and consumer finance across the United States. Follow her articles for useful advice and top tips, guides on how to save money and lots more.