Is 650 a good credit score?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to whether 650 is a good credit score. One lender may consider 650 a good score. Another may not. Or 650 may be considered a good score for one type of loan but not another. It depends on who’s judging the score and why. 

But you can learn how having a 650 credit score may affect you and your finances. Plus, find out where 650 falls on two major credit-scoring companies’ ranges and how to improve your scores over time. 

Key takeaways

  • There isn’t a definitive answer to whether a 650 credit score is a good credit score. But both FICO® and VantageScore® say 650 is considered a fair score. 
  • It’s normal to have more than one credit score. And your score can change depending on who calculated it, when it was calculated and what information was used.
  • It may be possible to build credit using a credit card, and there are cards specifically designed for people with fair credit.
  • Using credit responsibly, by doing things like making on-time payments and staying below your credit limit, can help you improve your credit scores. 

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Credit score basics

Did you know that it’s normal to have more than one credit score? To understand why, it can help to know the basics about how credit scores are calculated. 

Credit-scoring companies like FICO and VantageScore enter information about your credit history and credit use into complex formulas called credit-scoring models. That information typically comes from credit reports produced by one or more of the three main credit bureaus: Experian®, Equifax® and TransUnion®.

Because each credit-scoring company may enter different credit report data into different credit-scoring models, you may have different credit scores depending on who calculated them. Plus, your scores can change depending on when they were calculated and what type of loan they’re going to be used for. 

While each credit-scoring model may differ, there are some common factors that may affect your credit scores. Here are some things that FICO and VantageScore both typically consider:

Where does 650 fall on the FICO credit score range?

FICO scores range from 300 to 850. And a FICO credit score of 650 falls in the fair category. In 2022, the average FICO credit score in America was 714, according to a report by Experian. This means that 650 was a below-average score.

An illustration of the FICO credit score ranges shown in an arch.


Where does 650 fall on the VantageScore credit score range?

VantageScore 3.0 and VantageScore 4.0 credit scores also range from 300 to 850. And a 650 credit score falls in the fair range for VantageScore too.

An illustration of the VantageScore credit score ranges shown in an arch.


Improving a 650 credit score

Wondering how to go from a fair credit score to a good or even excellent credit score? Here are a few habits that may help you improve your credit scores over time: 

  • Pay on time. Payment history can be a major factor that affects your credit scores. That’s why the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recommends paying your loans on time, every time. Avoiding late payments can also help you save on late payment fees. And setting up automatic payments may help ensure you always pay on time. 
  • Stay well below your credit limits. How much of your available credit you’re using is called your credit utilization ratio. Keeping this ratio below 30% can be part of showing lenders you can use credit responsibly
  • Monitor your credit. Regularly monitoring your credit can help you track your progress. Plus, it can help you make sure your credit reports don’t have any errors. With CreditWise from Capital One, you can access your TransUnion® credit report and VantageScore 3.0 credit score without hurting your score. It’s free for everyone, not just Capital One cardholders.
  • Only apply for credit you need. When you apply for new credit, it typically triggers a hard inquiry. And hard credit inquiries can cause your credit scores to temporarily drop. One hard inquiry likely won’t affect your scores much. But many hard inquiries might impact your scores more. 
  • Consider your credit age. The CFPB says that having a longer credit history may help boost your credit scores. So before you decide to close a credit account, make sure you think about the potential effects on your scores. 

Using a credit card to build credit

With responsible use over time, it may be possible to use a credit card to build credit. There are even credit cards designed for fair and building credit. A secured credit card might be another great option.

If you find a card you’re interested in, you can see if you’re pre-approved for credit card offers before you apply. It’s quick and won’t hurt your scores. 

650 credit score FAQ

Here are the answers to a few common questions about having a 650 credit score:  

Getting a personal loan with fair credit may be possible. After all, there isn’t a universal credit score needed for a personal loan. But as with any loan, having a higher score may help you get approved and secure better loan terms.

There isn’t a universal credit score you need to buy a house. One factor that can affect whether you can buy a house with a 650 credit score is the type of mortgage you’re applying for. 

Conventional loans typically require a credit score of 620 or higher. For a loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration, buyers need a credit score of at least 500. USDA-backed loans require a credit score of 640 or above. And there’s no minimum credit score requirement for VA-backed loans. 

So having a credit score of 650 meets the minimum requirements for many mortgage loans. But that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to be approved. Lenders look at a wide variety of factors when making lending decisions.

It’s possible to get approved for a car loan with a 650 credit score. If you are approved for a car loan, having a lower credit score may mean you’re offered less favorable loan terms, like a higher interest rate

A 650 credit score in a nutshell

Whether 650 is considered a good credit score depends on who’s judging it and why. And both FICO and VantageScore say 650 is considered a fair credit score.

There can be a lot of benefits of having a higher credit score. By using credit responsibly over time, you may be able to improve your credit scores and enjoy some of those benefits. And while you’re working on your credit, you can check out credit cards for fair credit and see if you’re pre-approved for a card offer before you apply.

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