A 660 Credit Score is a Very Exciting Score

Exciting might not be the word commonly used to describe a credit score, but we think it’s the best way to describe a 660 credit score. The reason for this is that a very large number of lenders in the United States use the 660 credit score threshold as the cutoff point when describing the makeup for their loan portfolios. Here’s a brief example:

660-credit-score-chart

The chart shows the credit score breakdown of the credit card portfolios for Capital One Bank and Discover Bank, and the residential mortgage portfolios for Chase Bank and PNC Bank. Clearly a very significant majority of the loans that are approved by each of these lenders are to consumers with credit scores of 660 or higher. If you have 600 credit score, this should be an added incentive to improve your score to at least this level.

Our interpretation of this is that these banks and lenders view the 660 level as an important indication of what is desirable and what isn’t. While they don’t explicitly say this, they clearly would like the 660 and above portions of their loan portfolios to be even higher over time. So – the good news is that a score at this level puts you at the cusp of moving firmly into the desirable range in the eyes of many of the most important lenders in the country.

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Is a 660 Credit Score Okay?

Yes – a 660 credit score is okay and with a little improvement it can move into the “good” category. TransUnion, one of the three credit bureaus in the United States, categorizes a 660 credit score as “fair”, as it falls into the 658-719 range, which is right in the middle of their score range. So in many ways “okay” is a pretty accurate way to describe a credit score in this range.

What Can a 660 Credit Score Get You?

Getting approved for a credit extension involves many factors, your credit score is just one of these factors. As such, there are often no hard and fast rules when it comes to how lenders decide on approving applications for new credit. But 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 a Credit Score of 660 Buy a House?

Really what this question is asking is whether you can get approved for a mortgage with a credit score of 660. The short answer is yes, you can, but you will face some issues and many lenders will not be willing to approve you for a mortgage. 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.

mortgage-originations-by-credit-score

While some applications were approved for consumers with credit scores in the 660 range (i.e. those with Fair credit) most of the mortgage approvals were to people that had credit scores that are considered “good” or “excellent”. If you refer back to the earlier chart we showed, 89% and 92% of the mortgage portfolios of Chase Bank and PNC Bank respectively, is comprised of consumers with credit scores above 660.

So you can buy a house with a 660 credit score, but your options for mortgages will be more limited and the interest rates offered to you will be less attractive.

Can You Get a Credit Card with a 660 Credit Score?

Yes. You should have no issues getting approved for credit cards with this credit score. That being said, you might have issues qualifying for many of the premium credit cards available in the market. For example, our research indicates that Chase Sapphire Reserve customers originally had an average FICO score above 785 back in 2016.

But that is admittedly an extreme example given the popularity and high cost of the card. Issuers such as Capital One are more representative of a balanced credit card portfolio given they serve customers with both high credit scores and customers working to improve their credit scores. As we showed earlier, 29% of their credit card portfolio consists of customers with credit scores below 660. Bottom line is that you should have no issues and multiple options for credit cards with a 660 credit score.

Can You Get an Auto Loan with a Credit Score of 660?

Yes you will be able to get approved for an auto loan with this credit score. Depending on the lender, a 660 credit score could be considered “Prime” but even in the cases where it is considered prime, it is borderline. For example, Ally Bank – one of the largest auto lenders in the United States – considers credit scores between 660 and 719 as “Prime”.

Can You Get a Personal Loan with a 660 Credit Score?

You will be able to get approved for personal loans as a credit score of 660 is above the thresholds of many personal loan providers:

In general a credit score above the 620 level is good enough to ensure that your credit score won’t be the reason you’re denied a personal loan. Just to hammer the point home, for personal loan provider OneMain Financial, almost three quarters of its loan portfolio is comprised of personal loans to consumers with credit scores of 659 and lower.

How Can You Raise Your Score From 660 to 700?

While a 660 credit score is not a bad score and is high enough to get you approved for most types of credit, the rates you are offered will still be higher than average. Lenders use your credit score as a measure of the likelihood that you will not repay back loans that are extended to you, and so the higher your credit score the lower the risk in their eyes.

This risk is reflected in both their decision to approve your credit application and the interest rate they offer you. Improving your credit score to 700 should naturally be your focus, although we wouldn’t stop there as a 700 credit score is still below the national average credit score of 711 according to Experian. A credit score of 750 puts you safely above the average credit score and will allow you to get approved for most types of credit with competitive interest rates.

The following are steps you can take to raise your score from 660 to 700.

Get Copies 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.

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

You should consider credit building tools if after assessing your credit reports you think one of the areas that has impacted your score is your payment history. There are a host of credit building tools available, and a few of them have statistical information on results their customers see. For example, Chime’s credit builder customers say a 30 point increase in their credit scores after 8 months and MoneyLion’s credit builder plus customers saw an increase in their credit scores of 42 points after 60 days.

These results are by no means guaranteed (and also are not free) but as you think about ways to improve your credit score from 660 to 700, keep in mind that there are credit building tools available that can help.

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.

Closing Thoughts

A 660 credit score is an okay score to have, but by implementing some of the best practices we outlined above you can start to see an improvement in your credit score and with time have a chance at getting to a score closer to the national average.