By CreditNinja
Modified on May 22, 2024

A 524 credit score is classified as a ‘poor’ score by the FICO credit scoring model.

524 is lower than the average credit score of U.S. consumers.

You may feel frustrated that 524 falls into the ‘very poor’ range of 300 to 579. But rest easy knowing that you have an established credit history, as many people don’t. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 26 million U.S. adults have no credit history with the three national credit bureaus.¹

Key Takeaways for a 524 Credit Score

Overview of Your
Credit Rating

524 falls within the ‘poor’ credit category, which is the lowest credit tier. Borrowers with this type of score are usually new to credit or have past delinquencies on their credit reports.

Borrowing Options With a
524 Credit Score

You may qualify for an unsecured loan or credit card with high interest rates. However, you may get better rates and terms on secured loans due to use of collateral.

Improving a 524
Credit/FICO Score

You can work on getting an average credit score by applying for a secured credit card or credit builder loan. You can also avoid late payments, limit new credit inquiries, and reduce your overall debt.

Is a 524 Credit Score Good?

A 524 score is not good. Good credit scores range from 670 to 739, which means you must raise your score by at least 146 points to obtain a good credit rating. Improving a score within the very poor range may seem like an impossible goal, but it’s entirely possible with continuous effort and mindful financial decisions.

What Can You Get Approved for With a 524 Credit Score?

You may get approved for the following loans with a 524 FICO Score:

Personal Loans

You may be eligible for a personal loan with 500 credit score. While some personal loan lenders require applicants to have good credit, you can find bad credit loans with flexible requirements. However, it is important to compare lenders to find the best APR on a personal loan.

Bank Loans

Banks offer all types of installment loans but keep in mind that it may be challenging to qualify for unsecured loans. Most banks have strict credit score requirements, so if you don’t have an average credit score, you may not be eligible. Secured loans require some form of collateral, which makes them more accessible for poor credit borrowers to get. 

Credit Cards

Most people apply for unsecured credit card accounts, but it can be challenging to qualify with a 524 score. It may be better for credit card applicants with poor credit scores to apply for secured credit cards. Secured cards work similarly to debit cards. Responsibly managing your credit account can help you get out of the ‘very poor’ range.

These are some of the best credit card options for bad credit scores:

  • Discover it® Secured Credit Card
  • Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
  • Platinum Secured Mastercard®
  • Citi® Secured Mastercard®
  • U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured Card

Car Loans

You may be eligible for a car loan with poor credit because it’s a secured loan. Auto loans may be easier to get compared to other loan options, but you may get an unattractive rate. Remember that you can also get a car loan offer from an online lender instead of a dealership, so consider all of your options.  

Products To Help Improve a 524 Credit Score 

These are some products that can help you get a higher credit score:

Credit Monitoring 

Monitoring your credit can help you stay motivated to get a higher credit score. However, according to the New York Post, one in five Americans don’t know how to check their credit score.² You can see your credit score by using a free credit monitoring service (Credit Karma) or viewing your monthly credit card statements. 

Budgeting Apps

Using a budgeting app could help you better manage your finances. Knowing how much you’re spending monthly may influence you to cut down on unnecessary expenses, which can improve your credit utilization rate.   

Automatic Payments 

Signing up for automatic payments can help you avoid late payments that can hurt your credit scores. You can also commit to paying more than the minimum every month to effectively pay down your principal.

Benefits of Improving Your 524 Credit Score

Obtaining an average credit score could help you get these valuable perks:

Get Better Insurance Rates 

A good credit history can help you get low rates on home and car insurance. When you apply with an insurance company, your credit score will affect your eligibility and the cost of your premium. 

Higher Credit Limits 

Improving your credit could help you get higher credit limits on your credit accounts. A high credit limit may lower your credit utilization ratio and allow you to spend more. 

More Housing Options

Landlords prefer to rent to applicants with good credit. If your credit history shows you reliably pay your debts and manage your finances well, you can get quickly approved for a rental property. 

How To Improve Your 524 Credit Score

You can improve a poor credit score by following these finance tips:

Reduce Your Debt 

Your credit history may significantly improve if you reduce your outstanding debt. Your credit card debt is one of the main factors that affects your credit. Keeping your credit usage below 30% can quickly improve your unfavorable credit score. 

Add Rent to Your Credit Report 

Your rent payments can help you increase your credit when you sign up for a rent-reporting service. If you’re a tenant, it’s free to sign up for Piñata or Self. A long history of timely rent payments can reflect positively on your credit history. 

Avoid Late Payments 

Late payments can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. Negative entries on credit reports make it much more challenging to improve your credit. However, avoiding any missed payments can help you achieve a higher credit score in no time. 

FAQs About 524 Credit Scores

Absolutely! Your credit mix refers to the variety of credit accounts you have, including credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, and mortgages. Credit scoring models often consider a diverse credit mix as a positive indicator because it shows you can manage different types of credit responsibly.

It’s common for credit card applicants with bad credit to encounter additional fees. These can include higher annual fees, setup fees, or even monthly maintenance fees that aren’t typically charged to applicants with better credit scores.

Yes, a bad credit score can sometimes impact your ability to sign equipment or service contracts, such as those for cell phones or utilities. Providers of these services may view a low credit score as a risk indicator, potentially requiring you to pay a security deposit or even denying the contract.

What Interest Rate Can I Get With a 524 Credit Score?

Rates on loans and credit cards will be higher than average if you have a bad credit score. Unfortunately, a low score is a red flag to lenders. In order to offset the lending risk, a lender will charge high rates to make a profit. Unless you need emergency financing, it’s financially wise to avoid borrowing funds until you improve your unfavorable credit score.    

Can I Buy a House With a 524 Credit Score?

While it’s not impossible to buy a home with a poor credit score, it may be a better financial decision to wait until you improve your bad credit. If you’re contemplating purchasing a house with a 524 score, it’s critical to weigh the pros and cons first. 

Pros

Cons

Opportunity to Own a Home

Even with poor credit, you can still find ways to purchase a home, which means you can start building equity and stop paying rent.

Higher Interest Rates

Lenders see you as a higher risk, which often results in higher rates on your mortgage. This can significantly increase the total amount you pay over the life of the loan.

Improvement in Credit Score

Making regular mortgage payments can help improve your credit score over time, provided all payments are made on time and in full.

Higher Down Payment

Some lenders may require a larger down payment from buyers with poor credit to offset the risk they are taking by lending you money.

Potential for Refinancing

If your credit score improves, you may have the opportunity to refinance your mortgage to a lower interest rate in the future.

Limited Loan Options

With poor credit, you might have fewer loan options available, limiting your ability to shop around for the best rates and terms.

Access to Special Programs

There are special programs aimed at helping those with poor credit buy homes, such as FHA loans, which have lower credit requirements.

Additional Fees

You might encounter higher fees or additional costs, such as mortgage insurance, which can add to the monthly payment and overall loan cost.

Top 5 Resources for a 524 Credit Score

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