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645 credit score: A guide to credit scores

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    Quick insights

    • A 645 credit score is considered to be in the “fair” credit score range by the VantageScore® and FICO® scoring models.
    • With a fair credit score, you may have limited financial options.
    • You may be able to improve a 645 credit score and scale to the next tier of credit score ranges, which could open up more financial opportunities.

    When you check your credit score, you may have a basic understanding of what it means, but you may not be able to grasp all the nuances—and that's understandable. Additionally, some people may be confused about their score given the fact there are two different scoring models. In this article, we’ll take you through the meaning behind a 645 credit score and ways you can improve it.

    What does a 645 credit score mean?

    To help you understand what a 645 credit score means, let’s break down the credit score ranges for the two main scoring models, as of 2024:

    The VantageScore credit score ranges are:

    • Excellent: 781 to 850
    • Good: 661 to 780
    • Fair: 601 to 660
    • Poor: 500 to 600
    • Very Poor: 300 to 499

    The FICO credit score ranges are:

    • Exceptional: 800+
    • Very Good: 740 to 799
    • Good: 670 to 739
    • Fair: 580 to 669
    • Poor: 579 and below

    Looking at the above ranges, you can see that 645 is considered to be a fair VantageScore and a fair FICO score. While not considered “excellent” or “good” by the scoring models, a 645 credit score is not necessarily bad. However, it may limit access to certain credit products and could potentially result in higher interest rates.

    Purchasing a home with a 645 credit score

    Buying a home with a 645 credit score may be possible, but it may be more challenging than if you had an excellent credit score. Some lenders may require a larger down payment, charge higher interest rates or have stricter loan terms.

    Be sure to carefully review and compare different lenders and loan options to find your best fit for your specific circumstances. Credit scores, though important, are just one of several factors lenders use when approving home loans. In general, some lenders may require a larger down payment, charge higher interest rates or have stricter loan terms for mortgage applicants they may consider in the "good" range.

    Buying a car with a 645 credit score

    Buying a car may be possible with a 645 credit score, but different dealerships and lenders may use different credit scoring models and different scales to make their own loan decisions, which could impact your loan terms and approval odds.

    To help increase your chances for approval, it is usually beneficial to add a co-signer to the loan—if the lender allows—to share financial responsibility. All applicants should take note that while important, your credit score is just one of several factors lenders take into account when approving a loan.

    Other borrowing opportunities with a 645 credit score

    Credit scores may affect your borrowing capacity for other types of credit, not just your ability to get a mortgage or an auto loan. Lenders look at your credit score to help them determine your credit limit, amounts for other loans (such as personal loans, though Chase does not offer these) and rates. Generally, higher credit scores could indicate lower risk, and may result in a higher credit limit. Meanwhile, lower credit scores could indicate a higher risk, resulting in potentially lower loan amounts and higher APRs.

    In addition to credit scores, lenders evaluate factors such as income, debt-to-income ratio and employment history when determining loan amounts. While a 645 credit score may limit you in some ways, these other factors can be helpful to keep in mind as they can help improve your chances of approval. However, if you have the time and flexibility, you may want to consider improving your credit score before applying for your next line of credit. Let’s explore how in more detail below.

    How to improve a 645 credit score

    Your credit score is calculated based on several key factors, including payment history, credit utilization and credit age/mix. To help you improve your credit score, you may want to focus on these factors. This could mean taking the following steps:

    • Make your payments on time. Consistently paying your credit card balances and monthly installments on time can improve your payment history and, in turn, may help improve your credit score.
    • Lower your credit utilization ratio. This ratio is the amount of credit you use against your total available credit. Where possible, find ways to cut spending and lower your credit card balances to help lower this ratio and in turn increase your score.
    • Keep your credit card accounts open. It may seem logical to close an account you rarely use, but keeping a credit card open can help maintain your credit history and utilization rate, which are important parts of maintaining a good credit score.

    Additional tips for managing your credit and improving your score

    Prioritizing key credit score factors is a great first step in improving your credit score. You may want to consider taking these additional steps to help you continue on this path:

    • Pay more than the minimum payment.
    • Leverage debt consolidation options. For example, you may want to do a balance transfer, where you move current credit card balances to another card that comes with lower APRs.
    • Protect your information. You can do this in several ways, such as by using only secure websites when making online purchases and shredding important documents before throwing them away.
    • Monitor your credit report for inaccuracies and report them to the necessary credit bureaus when necessary.
    • Consider enrolling in Chase Credit Journey®, a free online tool anyone can use to check their credit score without impacting it. You may want to use the credit score improvement feature to receive a personalized action plan, provided by Experian™, based on your credit behavior to help you improve your credit score over time.

    Remember, improving your credit score takes time. You may need to consistently perform these steps over a period of time to demonstrate your creditworthiness before you see a shift in your score. Don’t be discouraged—with patience and healthy financial behavior, you may see your score improve and your financial opportunities expand.

    In summary

    A fair credit score doesn’t necessarily mean you are “bad” at credit management or that you can’t take action to improve it. It could simply mean you need to build up a more robust credit history and show lenders your ability to responsibly manage different types of credit. With some patience and hard work, you can improve your credit score from fair to good and beyond, creating more financial opportunities and help to build a foundation of financial wellness.

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