Lenders Still Consider a 613 Credit Score to Be ‘Poor’
A 613 credit score is almost 100 points below a 711 credit score, which is the average credit score in the United States. As a result lenders still view this score as ‘Poor’ and not just below average. TransUnion, one of the three credit bureaus in the United States, categorizes a 613 credit score as “poor” because it falls into the 601-657 range of scores. That said, with a credit score in this range you will be able to qualify for most types of credit though the interest rates will be relatively high. More importantly, there are actions you can take to improve your credit from here and over the course of several years it is possible to increase your credit score by 100 points or more up to the national average, you’re diligent about your financial decisions.
Improving your credit score not only has the potential to open doors to new opportunities for credit extension in the future, but can lead to more affordable options as well. In the following article we discuss what a 613 credit score means in practice, explain what a good credit score is and share some practical tips to help improve your score.
How Lenders View a 613 Credit Score
As referenced earlier, the labeling of a 613 credit score is “poor”. But what does this mean exactly? Lenders are tasked with trying to assess the likelihood that consumers they extend credit to will pay them back on-time or default. Your credit score is one of the inputs they to make this assessment.
As shown in the table above which shows historical default rates on loans two years after origination (source is Fair Isaac Corporation and the Federal Reserve). The data shows that the default rate for consumers with a 613 credit score is 16% on average, meaning the lender has a one in six chance of losing some or all of the money they lend. While this is a lot lower than the risk associated with a consumer with for example a 545 credit score, it is also dramatically higher than the default rate of average consumer in the United States who has a 711 credit score. Understanding that your credit score is all about helping lenders estimate the riskiness of lending to you should make it clear why your credit score is so important.
What You Can Get Approved For With a 613 Credit Score
There are a number of factors that lenders will consider in addition to your credit score, when deciding whether to approve or deny your credit application. This often will include your monthly income and your total indebtedness. In the sections below we have outlined what we believe is the most likely outcome based on our research on credit scores and lender criteria.
Can I Get a Credit Card Can with a 613 Credit Score?
Yes you can. You will be able to get approved for many credit cards with a 613 credit score. You likely get approved for many unsecured credit cards, but might face difficulty getting approved for the premium credit cards such as the American Express Platinum card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. You will also be able to get approved for many non-traditional credit card options such as those issued by merchants (also known as “store cards”) would be an alternative for consumers with low credit scores. Examples of a merchant card would be the Lowe’s Advantage Card. Because these credit cards are issued and designed to encourage spending at the respective stores, there are additional considerations in their decision to approve a credit card application beyond just a credit score.
Can You Get a Mortgage with a 613 Credit Score?
It is unlikely that you will be approved for a mortgage with a 613 credit score. The chart below shows the categorization of mortgage approvals in the United States by credit score and is based on data from 2016 to 2021 from the FHFA database.
The vast majority of mortgage approvals in the United States have been to people that have credit scores that are considered “good” (i.e. a 720 credit score) or better. A 613 credit score puts you in the “poor credit” category which was represented only 3% of mortgage approvals over this 5 year period we did the calculation Therefore, while getting a mortgage with a credit score this low is not impossible, the odds are certainly not in your favor.
Can You Get an Auto Loan with a 613 Credit Score?
Yes – most likely you will be able to get an auto loan with a 613 credit score. However, the terms will be less favorable since your score is well below what is considered “prime” i.e. the average American. Moving up into the 700+ category of credit scores can lead to a big decline in the interest rate you get quoted on an auto loan.
As shown in the diagram above (source: Experian), the difference in the average interest rate auto lenders charged to consumers that were in your category (subprime) and compared to those that were at the consumer average was about 6% in 2021. Therefore by moving up into the prime category, consumers could save hundreds of dollars each year on the financing cost. For example, on a $15,000 auto loan, you would save $900 each year.
Can You Get a Personal Loan with a 613 Credit Score?
Yes – you will be able to get approved for personal loans. There are some lenders that have minimum credit scores above 613 but there are several lenders that have lower thresholds. For example Lending Club has a minimum credit score of 600 and Avant has a minimum credit score of 580. Other lenders such as Credible, have a minimum score requirement of 620 which isn’t too far away from your score.
Can You Get an Apartment Rental Lease with a 613 Credit Score?
Yes but not everywhere. A study by RentCafe in 2020 found that the average credit score of renters in the United States was 638. However, this is of course just an average and so there were both consumers above and below this figure.
Is 700 a Good Credit Score? What is a Good Credit Score?
Your sights should rightfully be set on increasing your score to the 700 threshold. That’s the logical next milestone and is very close to 711, which is the average credit score in the United States. We consider a 750 credit score to be a good credit score. The answer to this question will vary depending on who you ask, but in our view a good credit score is high enough to allow you to get approved for most forms of credit extension. With a 750 credit score not only are you comfortably above the average credit score in the United States, but when it comes to getting approved for a mortgage (the gold standard of credit approvals) your score places you above the median. This means that your odds of being approved for a mortgage with a 750 credit score are very good. With a 750 credit score you will also be eligible for most credit cards, personal loans and auto loans with attractive features and rates.
How Can You Improve From a 613 Credit Score?
The following are steps you can take to start improving your credit score:
- Conduct a Assessment of Your Credit Reports: the first step we’d recommend would be to obtain a copy of your credit reports from each of the credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) and review them thoroughly to first ensure that all the information on the reports is accurate. It is very important to understand what happened that resulted in your score falling to this level. Every consumer is entitled by law to a free copy of their credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once a year. You can do this by visiting the Annual Free Credit Report. If you notice that there are irregularities on your credit report, you can act by sending a letter to the relevant credit reporting company disputing the information. Viewing your credit reports will also provide you with an idea of what has impacted your score in the past such as late payments and delinquent accounts. You can find more information about disputing information on your credit reports here:
- Prioritize Paying Your Bills On-time – not making your payments on your outstanding credit or making late payments is an easy way to impact your credit score. Your payment history is responsible for 35% of your credit score and so having a poor payment history is one of the common causes of low credit scores. A good practice that is easy to implement is to enroll in auto-pay for not just your credit repayments but other bills. Doing this at least helps you significantly lower the risk that you forget to make a payment and end up becoming delinquent.
- Limit Opening New Accounts – one of the inputs the credit reporting agencies use in calculating your credit score is the length of your credit history. Therefore, each time you open a new account, the length of your history declines. The impact can be more significant if you open a large number of new accounts in a short period of time. This doesn’t mean that you should never open new accounts; rather, it is good practice to avoid opening multiple new accounts each year, especially if it’s just in the pursuit of rewards or cash bonuses.
- Keep Credit Card Utilization Low – another input the credit bureaus use in calculating your credit score is to look at the total amounts owed on revolving credit, such as credit cards, relative to the allowable limits on the credit cards. Keeping credit cards fully maxed out is not only financially imprudent but it has a negative impact on your overall credit score. Ideally, it is good practice to pay off your credit card balance each payment cycle. More practically, prioritize keeping your revolving credit well below the limits.
- Take Advantage of Credit Building Tools – having a 613 credit score limits your options for new loans but at the same time, you need opportunities to demonstrate to lenders that you are creditworthy. This is where credit building tools can be very valuable. These tools exist specifically to allow consumers with limited or poor credit histories to start rebuilding their credit. A common tool is a secured credit card. These cards are offered by many banks, do not require a credit check for approval in most cases, and are an effective way of re-establishing credit worthiness.
- Monitor Your Credit Reports Closely – finally, it is a good idea to pay close attention to your credit scores. Checking your credit reports once a year should be the minimum frequency as while the information might not change every day, over the course of a year a lot can change. Monitoring your credit reports monthly (what we would recommend) allows you to keep track of the progress you’re making in improving your credit scores and enables you to be proactive in the event that an issue arises. There are a host of free credit monitoring tools including Credit Karma and Credit Wise.
While a 613 credit score is still considered poor, by implementing some of the best practices we outlined above you can start to see an improvement in your credit score in a matter of months.