By CreditNinja
Published on May 2, 2024

A 499 score is a “poor” FICO Score and a “very poor” VantageScore. 

A bad credit score is generally any score lower than 670 points.

Most financial institutions consider consumers with poor or fair scores subprime borrowers. A subprime borrower typically has difficulty getting approval for financial products because they are considered a financial risk. Poor credit can limit a person’s financing and housing options. If you have a bad credit score, your quality of life could improve by building a stronger credit score.

Key Takeaways for a 499 Credit Score

Overview of Your
Credit Rating

A 499 score indicates that a borrower has a subpar credit history. The borrower may have late payments on a credit report, excessive debt, or past bankruptcy.

Borrowing Options With a
499 Credit Score

Subprime borrowers typically apply for payday loans, title loans, and other predatory lending options. If you need emergency cash, compare multiple lenders to find the most affordable rates and terms.

Improving a 499
Credit/FICO Score

You can improve a bad credit score over time by establishing a positive payment history, using credit-building tools, and reducing your credit card debt.

Is a 499 Credit Score Good?

Credit-scoring companies use different models to calculate credit scores. FICO is the most commonly used credit scoring model. 499 is classified as a bad FICO credit score. A good FICO credit score ranges from 670 to 739, very good credit ranges from 740 to 799, and excellent credit ranges from 800 to 850. The higher your FICO Score is, the more money you can save and the more benefits you can receive.

What Can You Get Approved for With a 499 Credit Score?

You may get approved for these loan options with a bad credit score: 

Personal Loans

Online personal loans can provide small to large loans for all types of unexpected emergencies. Borrowers typically take out personal loans for car or home repairs, medical procedures, and other large expenses. If you have a bad credit score, you may still be eligible for an online personal loan. Many online lenders offer flexible credit requirements and competitive rates. However, you will have to spend time looking for the best annual percentage rate (APR) offer. 

Bank Loans

Bank loans are generally hard to get for borrowers with bad or fair credit scores. However, you may qualify for secured bank loans, which require collateral. Subprime borrowers may be eligible for auto loans, home equity loans, or secured personal loans. Although secured loans may provide better terms than unsecured loans, they are financially risky. In the event you cannot meet your debt obligations, you can lose your assets. 

Credit Cards

Unsecured credit cards are generally hard to get with poor or fair credit score ranges. If you need a line of credit, you may have a better chance of getting approved for a store card. There are two types of store cards: closed-loop and open-loop. Closed-loop cards can only be used at the issuing store or the group of stores under one company’s umbrella. In contrast, open-loop cards can be used anywhere. 

These are some of the easiest store cards to get with bad credit:

  • Kohl’s Charge Card
  • Walmart® Store Card
  • Amazon Store Card
  • TJX Rewards Credit Card
  • JCPenney Credit Card
  • Ulta Beauty Rewards™ Credit Card

Auto Loans

Auto loans are usually easier to get with bad credit scores compared to other loans. Lenders use the vehicle purchased with an auto loan as collateral. In the event a borrower experiences financial issues, the lender can initiate the repossession process to recoup their funding. If you need to buy a vehicle, remember that auto loans can be pricey. It’s in your best interest to avoid buying a car that costs more than you can afford to repay, even if you qualify for a large loan. 

Products To Help Improve a 499 Credit Score 

These financial products can make it easier for you to improve a bad credit score:

Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards can help borrowers develop better spending habits and grow their credit scores. In fact, there are nearly six million active lines!¹ Secured cards work like traditional credit cards, but you will have to provide a security deposit upfront. The deposit is typically equal to your credit limit and refundable. The credit card issuer will report your payments to at least one of the three major credit bureaus. If you maintain a positive payment history, you can improve a bad VantageScore credit score over time! 

These are some of the most accessible store cards to get with bad credit:

  • BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card
  • U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card
  • Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
  • Discover it® Secured Credit Card
  • First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
  • First Latitude Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

Debt Consolidation Loans 

A debt consolidation loan is an installment loan that you can use to combine multiple debts. By merging your debts into one account, you may save on loan fees, reduce the risk of missed payments, and better organize your finances. However, a debt consolidation loan is only helpful if you are able to obtain better terms than you currently have. 

Automatic Payments

One of the easiest ways to improve a bad FICO credit score is to avoid late payments. If you forget to pay your bills on time, you can sign up for automatic payments. Autopay is an online feature that many businesses provide. Every month, your payment amount can be automatically deducted from your preferred payment method. 

Benefits of Improving Your 499 Credit Score

You may receive the following benefits with a good or excellent credit score: 

More Housing Options 

Borrowers with high credit scores generally have more housing options because their financial backgrounds prove they are financially reliable. If you have a poor credit score, you may not qualify for many rental properties because most landlords require a good credit score. A good FICO Score is like a VIP pass that can provide more housing opportunities for you. 

Lower Rates

The lowest interest rates are typically reserved for borrowers who have excellent credit scores. If you prove yourself to be financially responsible, lenders may offer very low interest rates to work with you. A low APR can greatly reduce your monthly payment and help you keep more money in your checking account.  

Higher Credit Limits

Your credit limit depends greatly on your credit score and income. If you work on obtaining a high FICO Score, you could automatically get annual credit limit increases from credit card companies. A credit limit increase can improve your credit utilization rate, which is one of the main factors that affects credit scores. A credit increase also means you can spend and withdraw more cash.  

How To Improve Your 499 Credit Score

You can improve a bad credit score by following these financial tips:

Make Timely Payments 

One of the main reasons that borrowers have poor credit scores is late payments. A late payment on a credit report can significantly lower your credit score and continue affecting it for up to seven years. However, maintaining a positive payment history can only benefit your credit, especially if you have a long history of timely payments. 

Reduce Your Outstanding Debt

If you have too much credit card debt, you could prevent yourself from getting a higher credit score. Reducing your outstanding debt also lowers your credit utilization rate, which is a percentage that indicates how much credit you are using compared to your total credit limits. Using too much credit can signify financial hardship, which lowers your credit score and looks bad to lenders. According to USA Today, the average American household owes $7,951 in credit card debt a year.²

Here are a few strategies that can help you pay down debt:




Pay More Than the Minimum

Always pay more than the minimum payment required to reduce principal faster and decrease interest costs.

Saves money on interest, reduces debt faster.

Budget Revision

Review and adjust your budget to allocate more funds towards debt repayment.

Increases available cash to pay down debt, helps avoid new debt.

Debt Snowball Method

Pay off debts from smallest to largest, gaining momentum as each balance is paid off.

Provides psychological wins, simplifies money management over time.

Debt Avalanche Method

Prioritize debts with the highest interest rates for repayment.

Saves the most money on interest over time, efficient debt reduction.

Balance Transfer

Transfer high-interest debt to a credit card with a lower interest rate, often with an introductory offer.

Reduces interest rate on debt, consolidates payments to one account.

Debt Consolidation Loan

Take out a loan to pay off multiple debts, ideally at a lower interest rate than current debts.

Simplifies payments into one monthly installment, potentially lowers interest rate.

Credit Counseling

Work with a nonprofit credit counseling agency to get help managing debt and setting up a repayment plan.

Provides professional guidance, can negotiate lower interest rates and payments.

Increase Income

Find additional sources of income, such as a part-time job or selling unused items.

Increases cash flow to dedicate to debt repayment.

Cut Unnecessary Expenses

Eliminate non-essential expenses to free up more money for debt repayment.

Reduces outgoings, maximizes money available for debt servicing.

Avoid Closing Credit Accounts  

Your existing credit accounts may actually be benefiting your credit score. However, closing an account due to inactivity could further decrease your very poor credit score and make it more challenging to improve it.

Here’s some insight into how an account closure could negatively impact you:

  1. Reduction in Credit Utilization Ratio: When you close a credit card, you reduce your overall available credit. If you carry balances on other cards or loans, this can increase your credit utilization ratio, which can lower your credit score.
  2. Shortening of Credit History: Your credit score benefits from a longer average credit history. Closing an older account can shorten your average credit history, especially if it’s one of your older credit lines. 
  3. Change in Credit Mix: Closing a credit card might negatively affect your credit mix, particularly if you don’t have many other forms of credit.
  4. Shortened On-Time Payment History: If the closed account has a history of on-time payments, you might eventually lose some of that positive history when the account drops off your credit report (typically after 10 years). 

FAQs About 499 Credit Scores

It’s a good idea to regularly check your credit report, especially with a bad credit score. Aim to review your report at least three times a year from each of the three major credit bureaus. This can help you spot any inaccuracies or potential fraud early, which could be negatively affecting your score.

Yes, errors on your credit reports can significantly impact your FICO Score. Incorrect information can drag down your score. If you notice any errors, you should immediately dispute them with the corresponding credit bureau to have them corrected.

Credit scores are often categorized into ranges that define the quality of the score. Typically, a ‘bad’ credit score is one that falls below 580 according to FICO Score guidelines, while a ‘very poor’ credit score is generally considered to be below 500. Both ranges suggest significant difficulties in obtaining favorable credit terms.

Being added as an authorized user on a responsible person’s credit card can positively affect your bad credit score. If the primary cardholder has a strong payment history and keeps balances low, their good habits can reflect on your credit report, potentially boosting your score.

If you’ve tried to resolve errors on your credit reports with the credit bureaus and haven’t been successful, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). You should also consider seeking legal advice to explore further options to ensure your credit report accurately reflects your credit history.

What Interest Rate Can I Get With a 499 Credit Score?

Interest rates for bad credit are generally higher than average. High rates are used to lower the lending risk that a lender takes when working with someone who has a bad VantageScore credit score. Higher rates greatly increase the amount you pay to borrow money, which results in high monthly payments. Unless you absolutely need emergency cash, it’s better to first work on improving your credit before applying for a loan or credit card.  

Can I Buy a House With a 499 Credit Score?

There are loan options available to help low-credit borrowers buy a primary residence. For example, you may be eligible for a mortgage loan that is backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). FHA loans can help you get competitive rates, lower down payment minimums, and lower closing costs. For more information on government-backed mortgages, check out the USAGov website for up-to-date details.  

Top 5 Resources for a 499 Credit Score

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