A 633 Credit Score is in the ‘Poor’ Category
A 633 credit score is well below a 711 credit score which is the average credit score in the United States. TransUnion, one of the three credit bureaus in the United States, categorizes a 633 credit score as “poor” because it falls into the 601-657 range of scores.
However, a 633 credit score is above several important minimum credit score thresholds for lenders that provide personal loans and also mortgage loans. While you should definitely prioritize continuing to work on your credit score, above the 600 credit score level you will have more access to lenders and the interest rates start to become more reasonable.
Importantly, moving up into the 700 credit score range is very attainable; there are actions you can take to improve your credit from here and over the course of a few years it is possible to increase your credit score by 100 points or more up to the national average and beyond. In the following article we discuss what a 633 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 633 Credit Score
As referenced earlier, the labeling of a 633 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. Your credit score is one of the inputs they use to make this assessment.
The above chart 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 633 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. Viewed another way, a credit score of 633 is viewed as more than 75% more risky than a 660 credit score.
While this is a lot lower than a 534 credit score (about in the middle of a 520 and 559 range) it is also dramatically higher than the default rate of the 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 633 Credit Score
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 633 Credit Score?
Yes you can. You will be able to get approved for many credit cards with a 633 credit score. You will 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 633 Credit Score?
You have a good chance of getting a mortgage with a 633 credit score. One of the significant aspects of your credit score is it now exceeds the minimum score required for many mortgage types. Conventional mortgages typically have a minimum of 620 credit score in order to get approved by lenders. Your credit score is also above the minimum requirement for many government-backed mortgage programs:
- FHA Loans with 3.5% down payment: 580 credit score
- FHA Loans with 10% down payment: 500-579 credit score
- USDA Loans: no minimum but 620 credit score or greater is recommended
- VA Loans: no minimum but 620 credit score or greater is recommended
Statistically speaking the overwhelming majority of mortgages that get approved each year in the United States are for consumers with 700 credit scores or higher. A 633 credit score means that you will qualify for mortgage financing but is far from a guarantee that your mortgage application will be approved. Most likely your best bet will be taking advantage of government loan programs.
Can You Get an Auto Loan with a 633 Credit Score?
Yes – you will be able to get an auto loan with a 633 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 633 Credit Score?
Yes – you will be able to get approved for personal loans. For most of the providers of personal loans your credit score exceeds their minimum requirements. For example, Lending Club has a minimum credit score of 600, Avant has a minimum credit score of 580 and Credible has a minimum score requirement of 620.
Can You Get an Apartment Rental Lease with a 633 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. Your credit score is very close to the average, so your odds of getting approved for an apartment lease, assuming everything else is in order, is good.
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 633 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 633 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. In fact, many secured credit cards allow cardholders to earn reward points and cashback such as the Discover It Secured Credit Card.
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 633 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.