By CreditNinja
Modified on May 15, 2024

A 480 credit score is a “poor” FICO Score and a “very poor” VantageScore. 

Most financial institutions are wary of working with people who have very poor credit scores.

Many people with a thin credit file and a short credit history have poor credit scores. However, poor credit scores can also be a result of late payments, past bankruptcy, or high amounts of debt. If you have a 480 credit score, keep reading to learn about your loan options and what you can do to improve your credit!

Key Takeaways for a 480 Credit Score

Overview of Your
Credit Rating

480 is a subprime credit score. Such a low score indicates that you may have a history of financially irresponsible behavior. Poor credit indicates that you may not repay your debts on time and may default on new loans.

Borrowing Options With a
480 Credit Score

It may be challenging to get emergency cash with a very low credit score. However, there are loan options available with high interest rates and fees. If you need emergency cash, compare lenders to find the best offer.

Improving a 480
Credit/FICO Score

You can work on improving a bad credit history by using secured credit cards or becoming an authorized user of someone's existing credit account. You can also focus on reducing your debt and avoiding any late monthly payments.

Is a 480 Credit Score Good?

A 480 credit score is not good, as good scores are generally higher than 670 points. This type of credit score can make it challenging for you to get high loan amounts for unexpected expenses. If you do qualify for funding, you may have to contend with higher interest rates to offset the financial risk to the lender. While it may seem impossible to achieve a good credit score, it’s an achievable financial goal! Commitment and persistence are key to turning a very poor credit score into a good one.

What Can You Get Approved for With a 480 Credit Score?

You may get approved for the following loans, although your rates and terms may vary based on your unique financial background: 

Personal Loans

A personal loan is an installment loan that provides funding for all types of emergency expenses, such as car repairs or medical bills. The amount you can get with a personal loan depends on the lender and your financial background. Personal loans generally range from a few hundred dollars up to several thousand. Online personal loans typically have flexible credit score requirements. It’s not impossible to get an unsecured personal loan with bad credit, but you will have to compare lenders to find the best annual percentage rate (APR). Remember that you can save money on personal loans by repaying early, but only if your lender does not charge prepayment penalty fees.   

Bank Loans

Banks provide a wide variety of secured and unsecured loans for current customers and new applicants. Applicants can typically get one of these financing options at a bank or credit union:

 

If you have a bad credit history, you may only qualify for secured loans. These types of loans provide the bank with financial security. But even if you are eligible for a bank loan, you are likely to get a high rate and a small loan amount.  

Credit Cards

Credit cards are a form of revolving credit that allows you to borrow money and repay continuously. Unfortunately, it can be hard for low-credit borrowers to get approved for new credit card accounts. If you do qualify for a credit account, you can expect to get a very small credit limit and a very high purchase APR. 

Auto Loans

Auto loans are secured loans that you may qualify to get with a 480 score. However, be prepared for high rates on auto loans, especially if you intend to use them to buy a used vehicle. According to CNN, the average rate on a new car with a 480 score is 14.78%, while the average used car rate is 21.55%.¹ To save money and avoid financial issues in the future, avoid borrowing more than you can afford to repay monthly. 

Products To Help Improve a 480 Credit Score 

These are some financial products that can help you improve very low FICO credit scores: 

Secured Credit Cards 

A secured credit card is a credit card that works similarly to a debit card. Borrowers have to provide a security deposit, which will act as their spending limit. Borrowers must make monthly payments as they use the card. Responsibly credit usage and timely payments on a secured credit card account can help low-credit borrowers get an average credit score.

These are some of the best secured credit cards on the market:

Card Name

Minimum Security Deposit

APR

Annual Fee

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

$49, $99, or $200

29.99% (Variable)

$0

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

$200

28.24% (Variable)

$0

Chime Secured Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card

No minimum deposit required

0%

$0

Self Secured Visa® Credit Card

Open a Self Credit Builder Account with secured installment loan

29.24% Variable

$25

Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

$200

29.99% Variable

$0

OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card

$300

29.99% Variable

$0

Disclaimer: The terms and conditions for the credit cards listed in this table, including minimum security deposits, APRs, and annual fees, are subject to change at any time and without prior notice. Please check with the respective credit card issuer for the most current information.

Debt Consolidation Loans  

Consolidating debt is the process of merging multiple loans or credit card accounts into one account. Debt consolidation may help borrowers save money on interest fees, stay on top of payments, and get better terms. If you’re interested in applying for a debt consolidation loan, make sure that the new loan terms will make your life easier.  

Automatic Payments

Many people struggle to maintain or get good credit because they forget to pay bills on time. But remember that your payment history makes up 35% of your total FICO Score. If you want to improve your credit, it’s important to avoid late monthly payments. The best way to prevent forgetfulness is to sign up for automatic payments. By opting in for autopay, your bills are automatically paid through direct deposit

Benefits of Improving Your 480 Credit Score

These are some benefits you could get with higher FICO Scores: 

Higher Credit Limits 

If you have a high credit score, you could automatically get higher credit limits. If a credit card issuer sees that you manage your credit responsibly and make timely payments, they may offer you a higher credit limit. A higher limit on a card may reduce your debt-to-income ratio and reflect positively on your credit report. 

Better APRs 

Low interest rates are generally only given to borrowers with average credit scores or higher. If you demonstrate that you have a credit history of reliable debt management, you can expect to get great APR offers on loans and credit cards. In fact, you could also get low rates on car and home insurance.   

Easier Approval Process

If you obtain an average credit score, you could experience a much easier approval process for financial products! If your credit score is high enough, you could expect to get quickly approved with almost any lender. This means you can pick and choose the best financing offer and get the benefits you want.  

How To Improve Your 480 Credit Score

Here are some financial tips that may help you improve a low credit score:

Maintain a Good Payment History 

Your payment history is the most important factor that affects your credit score. A long credit history of timely payments can steadily increase your creditworthiness over time. If you have trouble remembering when you have to pay your bills, consider consolidating your personal debt or signing up for automatic payments. 

Keep Your Credit Usage Low

Too much credit card debt can negatively impact credit scores. There is no “right” amount of debt you should have, but many financial experts advise against having a credit utilization rate higher than 30%. Your credit utilization is a percentage that represents the amount of credit card debt you have compared to your total credit limits. According to Experian, the average utilization ratio across all American consumers in 2022 was 28%.²

Here is a step-by-step process on how to calculate your credit utilization rate:  

  1. Identify Total Credit Limits: Gather all your credit cards and note down the total credit limit for each card. 
  2. Calculate Total Balances: For each credit card, check the current balance you owe.
  3. Sum Up Your Limits and Balances: Add up all the credit limits to get your total credit limit. Similarly, sum all your current balances to find your total balance used.
  4. Calculate Utilization Rate: Divide your total balance used by your total credit limit.
  5. Convert to Percentage: Multiply the result from step 4 by 100 to get your credit utilization as a percentage.

Avoid New Credit Inquiries 

Too many hard credit checks on your credit report can decrease your credit score and make you appear financially unstable to future lenders. Remember that every credit inquiry will remain on your credit report for up to two years. Financial experts typically agree that having less than six inquiries on a credit report is ideal for preventing major credit score decreases.   

Boost Your Credit

If you’re interested in doing all you can to improve your score, consider using a free service like Experian Boost. Through this program, Experian adds your utility and cell phone payments (going back up to 24 months) to your Experian credit report. Paying these bills on time, in addition to your current monthly payments, can reflect positively on your credit score. 

FAQs About 480 Credit Scores

While the minimum credit score requirements can vary widely between lenders, many major banks typically look for scores above 600 for personal loans. If your score is below this, you might consider a secured loan or lenders that specialize in bad credit loans.

Credit bureaus update credit scores as new data is reported to them, usually every 30 to 45 days. A sudden drop in your credit scores could be due to missed payments, high credit card balances, or applying for too much new credit at once. However, remember that credit bureaus can make mistakes and may report incorrect information. Make sure you monitor your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus at least once a year.

Yes, each loan application typically involves a hard credit inquiry, which can lower your credit score slightly. To minimize the impact, try to limit your applications or explore options that allow for a soft pull on your credit first, which doesn’t affect your score.

Secured loans use collateral, such as a car or home, which reduces the risk for the lender and can make it easier to get approved even with a poor credit score. They often come with lower interest rates and better terms compared to unsecured loans for borrowers with bad credit.

In most cases, only time can exclude old debts from your credit score calculation as they age off your report. Most negative marks phase out after seven years. However, if there’s an error on your credit report, you can dispute it with the credit bureaus to have it removed sooner.

What Interest Rate Can I Get With a 480 Credit Score?

A 480 credit score is a very low credit score, and it can hinder your ability to qualify for financing. If you do get approved for a loan or credit card, your interest rate will likely be very high. High rates lower the lending risk for the lender, which is why financial institutions offer higher rates to individuals with poor credit scores. Unless you need a cash loan immediately, it’s better to work on improving your credit history before taking out new loans. 

Can I Buy a House With a 480 Credit Score?

There are mortgage loan options available for individuals who have poor credit. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insures mortgage loans so lenders are willing to work with low-credit or low-income borrowers. If you are eligible for an FHA loan, you could provide a down payment as low as 10% with a 480 score! FHA loans may also provide lower closing costs and more favorable interest rates. Check out the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website for more information. 

Top 5 Resources for a 480 Credit Score

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