By CreditNinja Reviewed by Matt Mayerle
Modified on April 4, 2024

510 is considered a very poor credit score.

Consumers with this type of credit score may have a hard time finding approval for traditional loans or lines of credit or may have to pay extra fees or interest rates if they are approved.

Thankfully, there are plenty of habits consumers with a 510 credit score can pick up to start improving their scores. 

Here, you’ll learn about what it means to have a 510 credit score in the “very poor” range, what the consequences are, and how you can work towards improving your score in the eyes of credit bureaus and other financial institutions. 

Key Takeaways for a 510 Credit Score

Overview of Your
Credit Rating

A 510 credit score is considered a poor or bad credit score. Thankfully, there are actions consumers can take to improve a score like this.

Borrowing Options With a
510 Credit Score

Consumers with a 510 credit score have the best chances for approval with subprime lending products like cash advances, secured loans, or bad credit personal loans.

Improving a 510
Credit/FICO Score

Consumers can work towards improving a poor credit score by working on their payment history, reducing debts, and limiting new credit inquiries.

Is a 510 Credit Score Good?

If you have a 510 credit score, you have credit that is considered “very poor” according to the average FICO scoring model. According to the credit bureau Experian, approximately 16% of consumers have a FICO score in the “very poor” credit range.1

What Can You Get Approved for With a 510 Credit Score?

Personal Loans

Personal loans, sometimes called personal installment loans, are a kind of funding that consumers can use for just about any expense. A personal loan is perhaps one of the most common loan types amongst people of all credit scores. Approximately 23 million Americans currently have a personal loan!2 That’s probably because they come in so many different forms. 

Some popular reasons consumers take out personal loans are: 

  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Debt consolidation 
  • Medical bills 
  • Car repairs and maintenance 
  • Paying for school 

Typically, personal loan interest rates are based on the borrower’s credit history and credit scores. However, there are bad credit personal loans available that cater specifically to borrowers with a poor or even nonexistent credit history. While a bad credit personal loan may come with a lower loan amount or other restrictions, it can also be a great way for consumers to access emergency funding and even build credit when used responsibly! 

Bank Loans

Consumers may also be able to access personal loan funding through a bank. But, since banks are strict and traditional lenders they usually only accept applicants who have very good or excellent credit. So, if you have a credit score that falls in the “poor” range, you may not want to even waste your time applying for a bank loan. 

Credit Union Loans

Instead of applying with a bank, bad credit consumers may have an easier time getting approved for a personal loan with a credit union. When researching credit unions, be sure to look for organizations that specialize in bad credit loans, as their membership requirements may be more attainable. 

Payday Loans

If you are going through a small financial emergency, you may turn to payday loans to cover your expenses. Payday loans, sometimes referred to as no credit check loans or cash advance loans, are a type of funding designed to provide consumers with supplemental cash while they are in between paychecks. Usually, repayment terms for payday loans last about two weeks, allowing consumers to use funds from their upcoming paychecks to pay off their loan balance. 

However, if you cannot pay off your entire payday loan balance within about two weeks, you will most likely be stuck with extremely high-interest rates that may make your financial situation even worse. So, if you are going to commit to this type of loan, be sure you can repay the balance in full ASAP. 

Auto Title Loans

Auto title loans are a type of secured loan where borrowers use their vehicle title as collateral in exchange for a loan. Similar to payday loans, title loans also come with short repayment terms and high-interest rates – but with the added risk of potentially losing your vehicle should you miss payments or default on your loan. 

Credit Cards

Instead of a personal loan, you may also consider using credit card accounts to cover your expenses. However, with a low credit score traditional credit cards may be difficult to come by. Consumers with a 510 credit score will usually have a much easier time finding approval for a line of credit via a secured credit card. 

Secured Credit Card Account

A secured credit card is a line of credit that consumers prepay at the beginning of their billing cycle. That means borrowers can increase their available credit without the risk of accumulating overwhelming credit card debt! Secured credit cards can be a fantastic tool for improving credit utilization, increasing credit, and giving subprime consumers access to credit cards.  

Auto Loans

Auto loans are financing designed specifically for vehicle purchases. Usually, consumers with good or excellent FICO scores can receive the best deals on auto loans. So, if you’re working with fair or poor credit, you may want to be prepared to pay higher rates and fees when purchasing a car. 

How Are Credit Scores Rated?

Credit Score Range



800 – 850


Borrowers with scores in this range are at the top of the lending chain and receive the best interest rates and terms.

740 – 799

Very Good

Above-average scores that are likely to qualify for better-than-average interest rates from lenders.

670 – 739


Scores in this range are considered the median credit score range and may receive “good” offers from lenders.

580 – 669


Below the average score for American consumers and considered subprime; may be subject to higher interest rates.

300 – 579


Scores in this range are considered poor, and borrowers may have difficulty securing credit.

Disclaimer: Please note that the credit score ranges provided in the chart are based on the FICO score model and are for informational purposes only. Lenders may use different scoring models, and individual lender criteria can vary, affecting how these scores are interpreted and the terms offered.

Products to Help Improve a 510 Credit Score

Credit-Boosting Services

While credit bureaus consider most of your financial history when compiling your credit reports and credit scores, there are some areas they leave out. For example, credit bureaus may track mortgage payments but not rent payments. Meaning, if you rent your home, you may not be getting credit for making on-time payments to your landlord each month. Thankfully, there are services that notify credit bureaus about some of your potentially overlooked payments and financial history, so you can get credit for them! 

Some well-known credit-boosting services you may want to look into are: 

  • Experian Boost 
  • TurboTenant Rent Reporting
  • Grow Credit 

Budgeting Apps

To make the most of credit-boosting services, you will want to make sure your budget is in check. That way, you will be aware of all your upcoming payments so you can prepare and get rewarded for paying on time. Keeping a budget can also help you use your money wisely and set financial goals for the future. 

Some popular budgeting apps you can access right from your smartphone are: 

  • PocketGuard 
  • Stash
  • YNAB (You Need a Budget)
  • Empower Personal Dashboard™
  • Honeydue
  • Goodbudget
  • Oportun (formerly known as Digit)

Credit Monitoring

In addition to keeping a budget and making the most of your payment history, it will also be a good idea to regularly monitor your credit reports. Keeping a close eye on your recurring credit reports and credit scores will help you see how your financial habits and behaviors are affecting your score, as well as help you catch potential credit fraud or identity theft right away. 

Some free and paid credit monitoring services available are: 

  • CreditWise® from Capital One (Free)
  • Experian free credit monitoring (Free)
  • IdentityForce® (Paid)
  • Privacy Guard™ (Paid)
  • Experian IdentityWorksSM (Paid)
  • FICO® Advanced (Paid) 

Credit Counseling To Improve a Very Poor Credit Score

If you really need help getting your finances and credit accounts in order, you may consider working with a credit repair company or credit counseling service. There are programs all around the country that offer both free and paid financial counseling assistance to consumers who are working on improving their credit scores. 

Some well-known credit counseling services are provided by: 

  • National Foundation for Credit Counseling – offers mortgage, student loan, and bankruptcy counseling for a fee. 
  • Financial Counseling Association of America – offers free debt and credit counseling to consumers in all 50 states. 
  • American Consumer Credit Counseling – offers free credit and budget counseling and paid debt management plans (DMPs).
  • GreenPath Financial Wellness – offers free debt and budget counseling as well as paid bankruptcy counseling and DMP services. 
  • Money Management International – offers nationwide 24/7 counseling online or over the phone for free, and paid DMPs. 

What is a DMP?

A debt management plan (DMP) is an arrangement between a consumer in debt and a credit repair counselor. The counselor will work with the consumer’s creditors and negotiate a more affordable repayment plan in exchange for a monthly fee or service charge. Oftentimes, creditors are willing to lower interest rates if the consumer agrees to repay their debt via a DMP.

Benefits of Improving Your 510 Credit Score

Access To More Cash

Not only will you have access to more products with a higher credit score, but you are also more likely to receive approval for higher loan amounts. That means you may be able to cover more expenses with a single personal loan or other financial product of your choice! 

Faster Approval

With a good credit score also comes faster approval on loans, lines of credit, and other financial services. You may even receive pre-approval and be able to skip a few steps in the application process. 

Better Deals on Loans and Lines of Credit

In addition to getting quick approval on a wide variety of financial products, consumers with better scores are also more eligible to receive more convenient loan deals. That means lower interest rates, higher loan amounts, and even more convenient loan terms and repayment options! 

Special Offers and Perks

Consumers with higher FICO credit scores are more likely to receive offers like pre-approval on loans or special perks like unexpected credit limit increases on credit cards and other lines of credit. 

How To Improve Your 510 Credit Score

Understand How Your Credit History Works 

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand how credit bureaus view your credit history to compile your credit reports. If you are unfamiliar, a credit report is an official record containing information on the following: 


  • Payment history – how punctual you are with making timely payments on your bills and loans
  • Amounts owed – how much debt you have in your name
  • Length of credit history – how long you have had financial accounts open in your name
  • Credit mix – what kinds of credit accounts you have 
  • Credit inquiries – how many recent hard credit checks you have on your credit file  

Together, information from these categories works together to determine your overall credit score. Lenders and other financial institutions will then use that score as an indication of how financially responsible you are. Consumers with a high credit score are considered the most financially responsible, while consumers with lower scores are often considered a lending risk. 


Furthermore, each credit report category has a certain percentage of importance regarding how influential they are in determining your credit score. For example, payment history is the most influential factor that contributes to your credit, making up 35% of your overall score. After that is how much debt you owe which makes up 30%, then your length of credit history which accounts for 15% of your score. Lastly, your credit mix and recent inquiries each make up 10% of your final credit score.  

Work on Payment History 

Now that you understand how your credit report works, you know just how important your payment history is. While payment history is extremely influential when it comes to achieving a good credit score, it can also be the main obstacle keeping you from improving your credit at all. 

Unfortunately, late or missed payments have the potential to bring down your credit score for up to seven years. 


To make sure you stay on top of each debt payment, consider setting a reminder on your personal computer or smartphone, or, sign-up for automatic payments. With automatic payments or autopay, all your due payments will be automatically deducted from your checking account on their designated due dates. That way you don’t have to remember to submit your monthly payment manually! 

Focus on Outstanding Debts

Once you have your due payments under control, start focusing on paying off your total balances. By paying off your debts, you’ll start improving your debt-to-income ratio. Debt-to-income ratio is the comparison of how much money you owe across your loans and credit cards compared to how much money you bring in from your job and any other income. Generally, you’ll want your income to be higher than your total amount of debt. 


To start chipping away at your debts and balances, try using a debt repayment strategy. Two popular strategies are the debt snowball and avalanche methods. With the debt snowball method, you’ll start paying off your smallest balances first and work your way up. With the debt avalanche method, you’ll begin by paying off your largest balances and work your way down.

Hold Off on New Loans

As you work towards keeping up with your monthly payments and paying off your balances, try not to apply for any more loans or credit cards. Not only will this save you from going through a hard credit check, but you’ll also prevent yourself from accumulating more debt to pay off. Besides, you will most likely have a much easier time getting approved for better deals once you have paid off more debt and worked towards a higher credit score.


FAQs About 510 Credit Scores

Yes, making late payments on a personal loan can significantly impact credit scores. Even if your score falls in the lower range, such as 510, late payments can further decrease it. It’s crucial to make all loan payments on time to avoid negative impacts on your score.

510 credit scores are below the national average. The average score typically falls within the “good” credit range. Having a score of 510 indicates that you’re in the “very poor” range, highlighting the need for credit improvement strategies to reach or surpass the average.

Yes, applying to multiple lenders for a personal loan can affect your 510 credit score. Each application can result in a hard inquiry, which may slightly lower your score. It’s advisable to research lenders’ requirements first or consider pre-qualification options to minimize the impact of hard inquiries on your credit scores.

What Interest Rate Can I Get With a 510 Credit Score?

The best interest rates on personal loans or lines of credit are typically reserved for consumers with higher credit scores. While consumers with poor credit may have access to funding like bad credit loans or cash advances, these options usually have higher rates built-in. The best way to get lower rates on loans and credit cards would be to work towards improving your credit score.  

Can I Buy a House With a 510 Credit Score?

Purchasing a home may be extremely difficult with a 510 credit score. While there are FHA loans available to help bad credit consumers buy homes, they are usually available for consumers with a 580 credit score or higher. 

To increase your chances of finding a mortgage with bad credit, consider the following tips:  

  • Shop around for mortgage loans
  • Ask a co-signer to sign your mortgage with you
  • Offer to make a larger down payment or security deposit


Top 5 Resources for a 510 Credit Score

Related Credit Scores

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