Is a 616 Credit Score Good or Bad? Here’s 4 Loans to Apply For Now

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Is a 616 credit score good? Credit scores range from a low of 350 to a high of 850. A score of 616 is considered “Poor”. However, you may still have some options. Here’s 4 loans to apply for now.

With a credit score of 616, you will likely find it difficult to qualify for mortgages, loans, and credit cards with competitive interest rates.

It’s in your best interest to improve your credit scores as much as possible. Credit scores are important when qualifying for a loan or mortgage, applying for a job or apartment, and for obtaining professional certifications, licenses, and security clearances.

If you improve your credit score by 4 points to a score of 620 (which should be relatively easy), your credit score will be considered “Fair” and it will be much easier to qualify for a mortgage, auto loan, or credit card.

What You Can Potentially Get With a 616 Credit Score

Click the links below to check out lenders and loan options that may be available for a 616 credit score. Note that interest rates are generally subject to market conditions and can change at any time.

Can I get a loan with a 616 credit score? Yes, it’s possible, depending on the type of loan you’re applying for. However, what you qualify for will likely have above average interest rates.

Is a 616 credit score good enough to refinance?
Maybe. If you have an existing FHA or VA mortgage, you may be able to reduce your interest rate and payment with a streamline refinance. Streamline refinances commonly ignore credit scores. If you don’t already have a VA or FHA mortgage, it will likely be difficult to refinance.

What about purchasing a home?
Is 616 a good credit score to finance a home purchase? Unfortunately, it will probably be difficult to qualify for a home purchase loan. Most mortgage lenders want your credit score to be at least 620 for a home purchase loan, whether you use VA, FHA, or conventional financing.

Is 616 a good credit score to get me a HELOC or home equity loan?
Maybe. It will probably be difficult to find a HELOC or home equity loan with your credit score, but you may be able to qualify if you have a lot of equity in your home.

Is a 616 credit score good enough for a personal loan?
Yes, you may be able to qualify for a personal loan. However, 616 credit score personal loans tend to have interest rates significantly higher than average.

How about an auto loan? Is a 616 credit score good enough to finance a car?
Yes, you may be able to qualify for an auto loan. However, 616 credit score car loans tend to have interest rates significantly higher than average.

Is 616 a good credit score to get a credit card?
Yes, you may qualify for a credit card. However, 616 credit score credit cards will either only be secured credit cards with low credit limits or have high starting interest rates.

Can I get a reverse mortgage with a 616 credit score?
If you’re over 62 and a homeowner, you may be able to qualify for a reverse mortgage with your credit profile.

How Your Credit Score Is Calculated

There are multiple credit scoring models available, but the one most commonly used by lenders is the FICO. According to MyFICO.com, there are five main factors that go into calculating your 616 credit score:

  • Payment history: 35%. Making your payments on time is one of the most important factors that determine your credit scores. Payment history is also commonly evaluated as a separate lending criteria for many types of loans (for example, mortgages).
  • Credit utilization: 30%. If you have high utilization (i.e., you’re “maxed out”) on your credit cards, expect your credit scores to take a hit even if you make your payments on time. Ideally, you want to keep your utilization on credit cards below 30% of the credit limit. This is important even if you pay off your credit cards in full every month.
  • Credit age: 15%. Length of credit history contributes to good credit scores. Avoid closing old accounts unless absolutely necessary.
  • Credit mix: 10%. Lenders like to see a mix of different types of credit accounts, such as revolving (credit card) accounts and installment loans like mortgages, car loans, etc.
  • New credit: 10%. Be careful when applying for new credit cards or loans. Too many new accounts can damage your credit scores.

The FICO credit scoring model ignores factors such as race, color, religion, national origin, gender, and marital status. It also ignores where you live, your age, salary, occupation, job title, employer, employment history, and any items reported as child or family support obligations.

How We Categorize Credit Scores

Credit scores range from a low of 350 to a high of 850. We categorize credit scores as ‘Poor’, ‘Fair’, ‘Good’, and ‘Excellent’ using criteria similar to what mortgage lenders use:

  • Poor: 350 to 619
  • Fair: 620 to 719
  • Good: 720 to 779
  • Excellent: 780 to 850

According to Credit.com, the average credit score in the United States was 711 in 2021. This means your credit score is significantly below the national average.

What is a good credit score? A credit score of 720 and above will usually work for most loan offers, but a score in the high 700s is best if you want the most competitive rates.

Is 616 a good credit score? Most lenders consider a 616 score to be “Poor”. It’s in your best interest to try and improve your credit score as much as possible.

How Can I Improve My 616 Credit Score?

Your credit rating is important – and not just for getting the best loan deal. Your credit profile may be scrutinized when you rent an apartment, apply for a job, or get a professional certification or security clearance. This is why it’s important for your credit scores to be as strong as possible even if you have no plans to apply for a loan. Here are some tips for improving your credit score:

The best thing you can do for your credit is to make your payments on time.
  • Make payments on time without fail. If you want to improve your credit scores, the most important thing to do is make your payments on time. Payment history is the single largest credit scoring factor.
  • Avoid overutilizing revolving accounts like credit cards. A high utilization can severely damage your credit scores even if you make your payments on time. This is a very common reason many people have credit scores in the 600s or low 700s even though they make their payments on time. Ideally, you want to keep your revolving balances below 30% of your credit limits at all times.
  • Be careful with balance transfers. Credit card companies often set your credit limit on the new account equal to the amount you’re balance transferring, which means you’re 100% utilized (i.e., “maxed out”) on the new account from the get-go. Your credit score may take a significant hit. If you’re not planning to apply for loans in the near future, this may not matter, but it’s something to keep in mind.
  • Keep older accounts. If you’d like to close a few accounts, be sure to leave older accounts open. Length of credit history contributes to good credit scores. It’s usually best to close out newer accounts before you start closing older ones.
  • Don’t open too many accounts at once. Be careful not to open too many new credit accounts at one time. If you’re shopping aggressively for new loans or credit cards, your scores may take a hit.
  • Clean up derogatory credit. If your credit score is 616, you may have some collections and charge offs in your credit file. These can have a significant negative impact on your scores, so it’s important to get them cleared up as soon as possible.
  • Recent bankruptcy or foreclosure. If a recent bankruptcy or foreclosure has damaged your credit, there’s not much you can do other than wait. Only time heals the damage a bankruptcy or foreclosure does to your credit score.

We also recommend steering clear of title and payday lenders. Such lenders charge usurious interest rates that can be 100% to 300% or more per year. Title and payday loans are extremely expensive and usually very difficult to pay off.

Don’t Let Somebody Else Damage Your Credit

As we’ve covered, it’s important to manage your credit properly so your 616 score improves. However, it’s also important to protect your credit from damage caused by others. Here are some tips for protecting your credit score:

  • Cosign with care. When you cosign for somebody, you become legally obligated on the new debt. We recommend never cosigning at all. But if you must, make sure you’re cosigning for somebody who will make their payments on time without fail. If they don’t, your credit score will suffer. Be especially careful about cosigning for student loans. Student loans can make it tougher to get a mortgage for many, many years to come even if you’re just a cosigner.
  • Freeze your credit files. If you’re not planning to apply for loans in the near future, we highly recommend freezing your credit files at the three major credit repositories: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
  • Protect your identity. It’s not enough to just be careful about giving out your Social Security number. Your personal information is stored in a huge number of places, including lenders, federal agencies, credit repositories, insurance companies, etc. A single data breach can put your personal information into the hands of identity thieves who will destroy your credit. We highly recommend protecting your credit with identity theft protection.

Protect Your Identity

Over 147 million Americans had their personal information (Social Security Numbers, account numbers, addresses, etc.) exposed in the Equifax data breach of 2017. That means there’s nearly a 1 in 2 chance that some of your personal information has already been compromised. Data breaches happen all the time. Protect your identity before you become an identity theft victim.

Check Your Credit Regularly

It’s important to check your credit periodically to make sure there aren’t any ugly surprises that could pop up the next time you apply for a loan. You can check your credit once per year for free at annualcreditreport.com (credit scores are likely an extra charge).

Do Credit Inquiries Damage Credit Scores?

It’s good to be careful with credit inquiries, but don’t be paranoid about them. It’s OK to have a few credit inquiries when you’re shopping around for the best loan deal. If you have a few inquiries for the same purpose and they occur within a few days to a few weeks, they’re treated as one inquiry for scoring purposes.

Credit inquiries usually only damage your scores if you have a large number of them in a short period of time. Your 616 credit score will likely take a hit if you appear to be desperately shopping for a loan by having a lot of lenders run your credit.

Again, credit inquiries are not usually a problem as long as you don’t have an excessive number of them.

Is 616 a Good Credit Score?

So, is a 616 credit score good or bad? As we’ve covered, a 616 score is considered “Poor”. If you can increase your credit scores by 4 points, it will be considered “Fair” and you will likely have more financing options – particularly if you’re seeking a home loan.

It’s in your best interest to improve your credit scores as much as possible. Be sure to pay your payments on time, don’t accumulate too much revolving debt, and clean up any derogatory items that appear on your credit report.

What qualifies as “fair credit”?

For mortgage lending purposes, “fair” credit generally includes credit scores between 620 and 720.

What is the average credit score in the U.S.?

According to Credit.com, the average credit score in the United States was 711 in 2021.

Can I get approved with a 616 credit score?

Depending on what you’re applying for you, may get approved for a loan with a 616 credit score. Most mortgages require a 620 and above, but you may get approved for some personal loan products.

Mike Roberts Avatar
About Mike Roberts

Mike Roberts is the founder of MyHECM.com, a published author, and a highly experienced mortgage industry veteran with over a decade of mortgage banking experience. When he's not working, he enjoys spending time with his family, skiing, camping, traveling, or reading a good book. Roberts is the author of The Reverse Mortgage Revealed: An Industry Insider’s Guide to the Reverse Mortgage, which is available on Amazon.