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655 credit score: A guide to credit scores

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    Quick insights

    • A 655 credit score is considered to be “fair” by the VantageScore® and FICO® scoring models.
    • A fair credit score may limit your financial options but you can use certain strategies to help you get the most out of your score.
    • You can help improve a credit score from fair to “good” by establishing healthy financial habits. 

    Credit scores may seem like just a number, but depending on the credit score range your number falls into, your financial outlook can vary. With a 655 credit score, you may be wondering what this means, what you can (or can’t) do with it and ways to improve it.

    A 655 credit score is neither good or bad

    Unlike other credit scores that may be considered “very good” or “poor,” a 655 credit score falls somewhere in between. See below how the two main credit scoring models classify this number.

    As of May 2024, VantageScore® ranges are:

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

    As of May 2024, FICO® score ranges are:

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

    A credit score of 655 is falls into the fair credit score range when looking at both the VantageScore and FICO scoring models. Just because a score is considered fair does not necessarily mean that you are “bad” at credit. It could simply mean you need to build up more of a credit history or make some tweaks to your current habits

    A fair credit score also means you may have limited access to certain credit options and result in higher interest rates. Understanding what a 655 credit score means can help you make the right choices for you to improve your financial wellness.

    Interest rates and loan options with a 655 credit score

    With a fair credit score, you may face higher interest rates and fewer approvals than if you had a higher credit score. When shopping around for a credit card or other lines of credit, such as a personal loan, keep in mind that every lender is different.

    For example, when it comes to auto loans, dealerships may use different scoring models, so the credit score needed to buy a car could vary slightly.

    Your score is just one of the factors considered during an application process as there are many others that also come into play. These include your debt-to-income ratio, employment history and more.

    Maximizing a 655 credit score

    Even though you could face more limited options with a 655 credit score than with a higher one, you can still find ways to get the most out of your score. If you’re taking out a mortgage or auto loan, consider a higher down payment to show lenders you are less of a risk. You can also take steps to help improve your credit score before applying for lines of credit to help increase your chances of approvals and more favorable rates.

    Steps to help increase your 655 credit score

    While a 655 credit score is considered fair, you aren’t too far away from being in the next-highest credit score category. Taking some of these steps may help you get there.

    • Pay bills on time and in full. Consistently making timely payments demonstrates responsible credit behavior. It improves your payment history, a major factor used to calculate your credit score.
    • Reduce credit card balances and overall debt. Lowering credit card balances and overall debt can lower your credit utilization ratio, positively impacting credit scores. This ratio is the amount of credit you use against your total available credit.
    • Avoid new credit applications. In the short term, limiting new credit applications minimizes the risk of hard credit checks negatively affecting your credit score.
    • Monitor your credit report. Monitoring credit reports allows for the identification and correction of any errors or inaccuracies that may negatively impact credit scores.

    Additional tips for managing and improving your credit score

    In addition to the above strategies, the following healthy habits can help improve your credit score over time:

    • Lengthen credit history by maintaining older accounts. Keeping older credit accounts open can increase the average age of credit, which is a positive factor in credit scoring models. If possible, avoid closing a credit card account that you rarely use—instead, keep it active by using the card sparingly.
    • Budget and manage expenses effectively. It’s important to create and stick to a realistic budget and track expenses. This helps you to be more aware of your spending so that you can take action and manage your spending to help meet financial goals.
    • Build an emergency fund. An emergency fund can help you during life’s sudden hiccups and can help prevent you from having to take out a loan and pay interest on an expense you weren’t expecting. Saving a little each paycheck can go a long way towards building up an emergency fund for unforeseen medical expenses, for example.
    • Consider enrolling in Chase Credit Journey®. This free online tool is available to everyone, including non-Chase cardmembers. You can check your credit score without impacting it, create credit score goals and receive a personalized action plan using the credit score improvement feature powered by Experian™. This plan uses your credit behavior to create realistic steps that can help improve your credit score over time.

    In conclusion

    Your credit score is not an indicator of your value as a person, but rather a measure of your potential risk to lenders. To help demonstrate your creditworthiness and expand your financial opportunities, there are several steps that you can take towards helping improve your credit score. Like any healthy habit, it may take time and patience to get the momentum going, but remain positive. Your credit score naturally fluctuates, but it can improve with diligence and determination.

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