By CreditNinja Reviewed by Matt Mayerle
Modified on May 15, 2024

A 350 credit score is considered a poor credit score, and it is in the lowest range of credit scores. Having this score can make finances extremely challenging. About 16% of Americans have a credit score in the poor range.¹

With very poor credit, your priority with your finances should be improving your credit score. There are lots of ways you can go about this. In this article, we’ll go over those improvement strategies along with more understanding of the implications of having a credit score in this range.

Key Takeaways for a 350 Credit Score

Overview of Your
Credit Rating

A 350 credit score is a really low credit score; it’s in the lowest credit score category that a consumer can be in.

Borrowing Options With a
350 Credit Score

With a 350 credit score, you won’t have lots of borrowing options to choose from. However, bad credit loans may be available.

Improving a 350
Credit/FICO Score

Actions like building a positive payment history, keeping your credit utilization under 30%, and keeping debt low can help your credit.

Is a 350 Credit Score Good?

A 350 credit score is not considered a good credit score. It is, in fact, a very bad credit score. Having this credit score will show lenders that you may be a credit risk, which can be tough when you need to borrow money. Beyond lending, a bad credit score can impact several aspects of your life, such as housing and job opportunities. However, improving your credit score is possible!

What Can You Get Approved for With a 350 Credit Score?

By now, you know that borrowing funds with a loan or credit card will be tough with a 350 credit score. However, there are some loan options that don’t rely on your credit for loan eligibility. Below, you’ll find more information on all of these commonly used loan options:

Personal Loans

Personal loans are types of installment loans, which means that they are repaid in steady monthly payments or installments. With these, you’ll get the funds upfront, and interest rates usually stay the same throughout repayment. Personal loans can range from a few months up to a few years. While there are lenders that may offer personal loan options for bad credit, approval may not be possible for such a low credit score without a cosigner. 

Bank Loans

Bank loans are any loan option that comes from a bank. These can be short-term or long-term loans, secured loans, or unsecured loans. Banks don’t like to take much risk, and so, for almost all of their loan options will have pretty strict minimum credit score requirements. This is why in many instances, a 350 credit score will not suffice. 

Credit Cards

Credit cards are a revolving form of credit, which means you can use them multiple times until you reach your credit limit. They can come with all kinds of rewards and offers, which can be helpful depending on what you are planning to spend them on. However, it may not be possible to get a standard credit card with such a low score. What may be possible is getting a secured credit card. 

Here are some secured and subprime credit cards:

  1. Discover it® Secured Credit Card — Offers cash back rewards and automatically reviews your account to potentially upgrade you to an unsecured card.
  2. Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card — Features a possible credit limit increase after making the first six monthly payments on time, without requiring an additional deposit.
  3. Indigo® Platinum Mastercard — specifically designed for individuals with poor or damaged credit who are looking to rebuild or establish their credit history. 

Car Loans

Car loans are secured loans that help people finance the purchase of their vehicle. Generally, car loans are installment loans with fixed interest rates that range between three and five years. 

Car loans are extremely commonly used; hence, there are many lenders you may encounter, some of which may cater to borrowers with low credit scores. Usually, you’ll need a larger down payment to mitigate the risk the lender is taking on. Another option is to look for a cheaper vehicle, which may be fairly easy to do. 

No Credit Check Loans

No credit check loans are exactly what they sound like; they usually don’t have credit checks as a part of their process. Payday loans and some cash advance loans can fall into this category of funding. While these loan options may be flexible with funding, they usually only provide a small amount of funds, which usually need to be repaid in just a few weeks. Along with that, because of the risk the lender is taking, the interest rates will be extremely high. 

High interest coupled with a short repayment period can make it challenging to repay your loan on time. A better strategy would be to either improve your credit score or add a cosigner so you can access better loan options.

Products To Help Improve a 350 Credit Score

When you are in the lowest credit score category, it may seem tough to improve your credit score. Thankfully, there are products out there that can help you jump-start the process:

Third-Party Credit Reporting Services

We make lots of monthly payments that don’t get reported to the three major credit bureaus. Things like our phone bills, utilities, rent, subscriptions, and more don’t show up on our credit reports. However, there are alternative reporting services that get these payments reported, which, if made on time, can help your credit scores. Here are some services that are out there:

  • Experian Boost — Allows you to add utility and telecom bill payments to your Experian credit report.
  • UltraFICO — A program that can enhance your credit score based on how you manage your checking, savings, or money market accounts.
  • RentTrack — Reports your rent payments to all three major credit bureaus.
  • Rental Kharma — Provides a service to report your rent payments to credit bureaus to help build your credit score.
  • LevelCredit (formerly RentReporters) — Reports rent and utility payments to credit bureaus.

Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards can be a great tool to help build payment history, which can be hard to do without a classic credit account. With a secured credit card, you won’t get the money upfront. Instead, you’ll make payments before you get access to the credit line. Those payments will be reported to the credit bureaus and, if made on time, can help your credit score. 

Credit Builder Loans

Credit builder loans work similarly to secured credit cards and can help you build a payment history. With these, instead of a line of credit, you’ll get the lump sum at the end of repayment. 

Financial Advisor/Expert

Being in the lowest credit range will likely mean that you have multiple negative marks on your credit accounts. Many times, getting to that point may simply be because of poor financial habits or simply a lack of financial knowledge–which is pretty common. A financial advisor or expert can help you organize your finances and give you helpful advice to improve your credit or reach any other goals you may have with your finances. 

Benefits of Improving Your 350 Credit Score

Here are some benefits that can come with improving your credit score:

Lower Borrowing Costs 

When you improve your credit score, you’ll have lower interest rates and APRs on loans and credit cards, which can be extremely helpful!

More Borrowing Options

With a better credit score, you’ll have many borrowing options, which can be a huge benefit when you need to borrow money. 

An Easier Time Renting or Buying a Home

Whether renting or buying, you’ll have more housing opportunities with a better credit score. 

Lower Insurance Costs

You may be able to get lower auto and home insurance rates after improving your credit scores! 

How To Improve Your 350 Credit Score

Here are some things you can do right away to help your credit:

Pay Your Bills On Time 

One of the best things you can do for your credit is to pay your bills on time, specifically your credit accounts or any accounts that are being reported to the three credit bureaus. Payment history has the greatest impact on your credit, so it is important to avoid late payments. 

Avoid Multiple Hard Credit Inquiries 

One thing that can hurt your credit scores is multiple hard credit inquiries in a short period of time. A hard credit inquiry occurs when lenders check your report, and each one can bring your score down by a few points. Multiple at the same time can have a pretty significant impact on your credit.

Pay Down Your Debt 

Debt impacts more than just your credit utilization ratio; it can affect your ability to pay bills on time and your overall financial health. Reducing debt can be extremely helpful for your credit and overall financial well-being. You can start small, tackling one debt at a time with something as simple as a budget. Or you can look into more aggressive debt management strategies. Just make sure you don’t neglect other essential costs while doing so.

Learn More About Credit Scores and Finances

One of the most helpful things you can do for yourself, no matter what credit score you have, is to educate yourself about credit scores. Financial literacy is so essential and something that isn’t really taught. With the right knowledge, you can work on improving your credit score, and once you get into the higher range, you can maintain it! There are lots of free resources like library books, podcasts, and online blogs that can help you get started. 

FAQs About 350 Credit Scores

A 350 credit score significantly impacts your credit history by indicating a series of negative financial behaviors and difficulties in managing debt and credit payments. Improving this score is essential to enhancing your credit.

To improve your average credit score, focus on reducing your credit utilization below 30%, maintaining timely payments, and avoiding new hard inquiries on your credit report. Consistency in these areas will gradually rebuild your credit history.

Having multiple credit accounts can affect your credit history both positively and negatively. If managed well, they can show a pattern of responsible credit usage and help improve your average credit score. However, mismanagement can lead to a lower score and a negatively impacted credit history.

Regular monitoring of your credit report allows you to check for inaccuracies and unauthorized activities, which can affect your average credit score. It also helps you understand how your financial actions influence your credit history.

Yes, improving your credit limit can help achieve a higher credit score if it leads to a lower credit utilization ratio without increasing your spending. This demonstrates better credit management skills, positively affecting your credit history.

Maintaining a higher credit score can enhance your credit history, making you eligible for better borrowing terms, lower interest rates, and increased trust from lenders. This solid credit history opens up more financial opportunities and stability.

Paying off FICO credit scores and other credit card accounts positively impacts your credit history by demonstrating responsible financial behavior and the ability to handle credit effectively. Regular, full payments improve your average credit score, reflecting positively on your credit report.

What Interest Rate Can I Get With a 350 Credit Score?

Unfortunately, having a lower credit score will mean high interest rates. This can mean paying more for borrowing money, especially when compared to those who have good or great credit scores. Below is a table that illustrates the difference in interest rates that you could have depending on your credit score. We used a hypothetical personal loan that is for $2,000, has a 36 repayment period, and interest ranging between 7% and 36%:

 

Credit Score Category

Interest Rate Range (%)

Average Monthly Payment ($)

Very Poor

28% – 36%

87.13

Poor

20% – 27%

77.96

Fair

14% – 19%

70.82

Good

10% – 13%

65.96

Great

7% – 9%

62.68

Can I Buy a House With a 350 Credit Score?

Credit history and credit scores are a large part of buying a home. With a 350 credit score, you will likely not be able to qualify for a conventional mortgage or any other mortgage type. Even the more flexible mortgage types require a higher credit score than 350. However, there is always room to increase your average credit score, and once you even get to a fair score, you may be able to get through the credit score approval part of a mortgage. 

Top 5 Resources for a 350 Credit Score

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