By CreditNinja
Published on May 2, 2024

503 is considered to be a “poor” score by most credit scoring models. 

A 503 credit score is 212 points lower than the average credit score of 2023, which was 715.

A poor credit score can make it very difficult for a borrower to get emergency cash when they need it at affordable rates.

Key Takeaways for a 503 Credit Score

Overview of Your
Credit Rating

A 503 score indicates that you may have trouble repaying your debts and managing your money.

Borrowing Options With a
503 Credit Score

Your borrowing options will be very limited with a low credit score. You may experience an easier approval process for secured loans.

Improving a 503
Credit/FICO Score

You can improve a poor credit history by consolidating debt, reducing your debt, and avoiding late payments.

Is a 503 Credit Score Good?

A “good” FICO Score ranges from 670 to 739. A 503 score falls within the “poor” credit category, which includes scores between 300 and 579.

What Can You Get Approved for With a 503 Credit Score?

You may get approved for one of these loans despite having a poor credit history: 

Personal Loans

Online personal loans typically have very flexible qualification requirements. Many online personal loan lenders offer bad credit loans, which have competitive rates and are meant for low-credit borrowers. But no matter how quickly you need a personal loan with 500 credit score, take time to find the best annual percentage rate and repayment plan. 

Bank Loans

Banks offer a wide variety of loans, but getting approved with low credit can be difficult. Banks generally require good credit for loan approval. If you have a bad score, you may only be eligible for secured loans. But remember that using collateral to get funding can be risky, especially if you already struggle with your finances.

Credit Cards

If you have unfavorable credit, you will find it challenging to get an unsecured credit card. It may be in your best interest to apply for a secured credit card instead to work on improving your credit history. Secured cards require security deposits, but they work like traditional credit cards. 

These are 6 secured credit cards that don’t require annual fees:

  1. Chime Secured Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card
  2. Discover it® Secured Credit Card
  3. Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
  4. BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card
  5. Citi® Secured Mastercard®
  6. OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card

Auto Loans

An auto loan may be easier to get than other loans if you have poor credit. Auto loans are secured by the vehicle, so they’re less risky for the lender. According to CNN, borrowers with scores below 500 may receive a rate of 18% or higher.¹ But if you’re trying to find an affordable auto loan offer, keep in mind that rates also depend on the type of car you get. Used vehicles generally always have higher rates and loan fees

Here’s a table explaining why interest rates for new cars are typically higher than for used cars:

Factor

New Cars

Used Cars

Depreciation Rate

Depreciates faster initially

Slower depreciation rate

Loan Term

Longer terms available

Typically shorter terms

Market Demand

Higher demand

Lower relative demand

Risk to Lender

Lower risk (new condition)

Higher risk (used condition)

Price

Higher average prices

Lower average prices

Products To Help Improve a 503 Credit Score 

These products can help consumers get higher credit scores:  

Debt Consolidation Loans  

A debt consolidation loan may help you get a higher credit score over time. Debt consolidation helps consumers reduce their monthly bills so they can better manage their finances. 

Budgeting Apps

Budgeting apps can help you keep better track of your spending and savings. Responsibly managing your finances can increase your various credit scores over time. 

Automatic Payments

Signing up for automatic payments can help you avoid missed payments that can decrease your credit score further. Remember that a long history of reliable debt payments can improve your credit history over time.  

Benefits of Improving Your 503 Credit Score

These are some of the perks you can get with an average credit score:

More Loan Options

Consumers with high credit scores typically have more financing options than consumers with low scores. If you achieve a score higher than the average credit score, you could get the best offers on loans and credit cards.  

Higher Credit Limits

Obtaining an excellent credit score can help you get higher credit limits on your credit cards! A higher credit limit can reduce your credit utilization ratio, which affects your FICO Score by 30%!

Lower Rates

Individuals with higher credit scores are generally offered the lowest APRs. A very good credit score means a borrower is likely to repay their debt on time, so financial institutions are more likely to offer low rates.

How To Improve Your 503 Credit Score

Borrowers can improve their credit scores by following these financial tips:

Dispute Credit Report Errors

It’s entirely possible for the three major credit bureaus to make mistakes and add incorrect information to a credit report. For this reason, it’s critical to monitor your credit reports at least once a year. 

Reduce Your DTI Ratio 

Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio may be preventing you from acquiring a higher credit score. On average, Americans carry around $5,733 in credit card debt.² Reducing your outstanding debt can boost your credit, especially if you decrease it by a significant amount. You can work on paying down your debt by paying more than the minimum every month, reducing your monthly expenses, or using a budgeting app. 

Limit Your Credit Inquiries 

Every time you apply for a new loan or credit card, your credit score decreases by as much as ten points! If you inquire with multiple lenders within a short period of time, you can significantly decrease your credit score. Avoid inquiring for another credit account or loan unless it’s an emergency. 

FAQs About 503 Credit Scores

Late payments can significantly impact your credit score. When a payment is reported as late to the credit bureaus, it can stay on your credit reports for up to seven years.

Yes, responsibly managing installment credit (like student loans or mortgages) can help improve a bad score. Regular, on-time payments can demonstrate to lenders and credit bureaus that you are a reliable borrower.

A credit freeze and a fraud alert are tools that can protect your credit information. A credit freeze locks down your credit reports, preventing new creditors from accessing your credit history without your permission. A fraud alert doesn’t lock your credit but alerts potential creditors to verify your identity before opening new accounts.

What Interest Rate Can I Get With a 503 Credit Score?

Most credit scores range from 300 to 850, and lenders tend to look at scores in the 500 to 600 range as less than ideal. If your score is 503, you are likely to get the highest rate a lender offers. Working on improving your credit score can help you get lower rates in the future. 

Can I Buy a House With a 503 Credit Score?

While it’s entirely possible to qualify for a mortgage loan with a bad score, it’s not in your best interest. Mortgage offers are likely to have very high rates of interest, which can significantly increase your monthly payment amount. It may be better to work on improving your credit and building better financial habits before starting the home-buying process.

Top 5 Resources for a 503 Credit Score

Related Credit Scores

495  499  500  501  502  504  505  506  507  508