By CreditNinja
Modified on May 22, 2024

According to FICO, a 615 credit score is fair.

615 is considered a Tier 4 score, which is the lowest credit tier category.

A fair FICO Score is lower than the average score of U.S. consumers. However, many financial institutions are still willing to work with fair credit borrowers. Working on obtaining a higher credit score can result in better rates and terms on various financial products. 

Key Takeaways for a 615 Credit Score

Overview of Your
Credit Rating

615 is better than a poor credit score but is still considered a subprime score. Subprime credit indicates that a consumer has a thin credit file or a history of poor financial management.

Borrowing Options With a
615 Credit Score

Borrowers with fair credit scores may get approved for all types of financial products. However, the rates and terms will vary depending on the lender and the type of loan.

Improving a 615
Credit/FICO Score

To improve a fair credit score, you can use a credit-building product, such as a secured credit card. You can also limit credit inquiries, talk to a credit counselor, or use budgeting apps to reduce your debt.

Is a 615 Credit Score Good?

A 615 score falls within the fair credit range, which includes scores between 580 and 669. The FICO credit scoring model, commonly used by lenders, has five credit score ratings. Fair credit is the second worst rating a borrower can have. A ‘good’ credit score ranges between 670 and 739 points, a ‘very good’ score between 740 and 799, and an ‘excellent’ credit between 800 and 850. Ideally, you should have a score higher than 640, which means you need to raise your current score by at least 55 points.

What Can You Get Approved for With a 615 Credit Score?

If you have a 615 score, rest easy knowing you may still be eligible for fast cash through one of these loan options:

Personal Loans

A personal loan is an installment loan you can use for almost any unexpected expense, such as a home or car repair. According to a 2022 study by Angi, an unexpected repair costs $1,953 on average.¹ Personal loans are usually obtainable for low-credit borrowers, although rates and terms may not be ideal. If you want a personal loan, look for an online lender that offers fixed-rate loans with competitive rates. 

Bank Loans

Consumers can choose between multiple loan options at a bank. However, the qualification requirements vary depending on the loan option you choose. It may be easier to get approved for certain types of secured loans with fair credit scores, such as home equity loans or auto loans. While it’s still possible to get unsecured installment loans from the bank, be prepared for unattractive rates. 

Credit Cards

Credit card issuers all have different credit score requirements. Some are willing to work with borrowers who have poor or fair credit scores, although they may not offer high credit limits. Keep in mind that you will likely get high APRs, but you can avoid interest fees by paying your balance in full every month. 

These credit cards are usually available to borrowers with subprime credit scores:

  • Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®
  • Milestone® Mastercard®
  • Capital One Walmart Rewards® Mastercard®
  • OpenSky® Secured Credit Visa® Card
  • American Express Optima® Credit Card
  • Total Visa® Card

Car Loans

A car loan is a secured installment loan option for fair credit borrowers who want to purchase a new or used vehicle. You may qualify for a car loan through an online lender or bank. If you do, consider providing at least 20% of the purchase price as a down payment. A larger down payment may help you get a lower annual percentage rate and reduce your total loan fees

Products To Help Improve a 615 Credit Score 

These financial products could help you improve your credit score over time:

Secured Credit Cards

A secured credit card can help you improve your credit history over time if you keep your balance low and avoid late monthly payments. To qualify for a secured card, you need to provide a security deposit that will work as your credit limit. After achieving your ideal credit score, you can close the paid-off account and get your initial deposit back. 

These are some of the best secured credit cards for credit rebuilding:

  • Secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card
  • OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
  • First Latitude Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
  • Self – Credit Builder Account + Secured Visa® Credit Card
  • Discover it® Secured Credit Card
  • Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Budgeting Apps

A budgeting app can help you improve your credit history and boost your credit score. Budgeting apps make it easy to track your spending, set financial goals, and stay up-to-date on your finances. Being able to see your financial habits at a glance can motivate you to make changes that result in a higher credit score. 

Credit Counseling 

A credit counseling organization provides services that can help consumers better manage their finances. Most of these organizations are non-profit, such as National Debt Relief. Credit counselors can advise you on how to manage your finances, help you set up a budget plan, and provide educational materials and workshop information on improving your credit score.  

Benefits of Improving Your 615 Credit Score

Increasing your credit score could help you get a lot of desirable benefits, such as:

Easier Approval Process

A good credit history indicates that you are a responsible borrower and a low credit risk. Many lenders require applicants to have a credit score higher than 670. If you have a ‘good’ credit rating, you could get approved with almost any lender. This means you can avoid having to apply with multiple lenders when you need quick cash loans

Lower Interest Rates 

High rates on loans and credit cards result in higher monthly payments that deplete your bank account. Borrowers with excellent credit scores typically get approved for the lowest rates on the market, which helps them save a lot of money. Increasing your current score to a good credit rating can help you attain attractive rates and terms. 

Lower Security Deposits 

Most borrowers with poor or fair credit have to provide a large security deposit when renting or financing a costly purchase. A low credit score makes you a credit risk, so a lender may require a higher security deposit from you. But improving your score could help you avoid costly security deposits when you want to finance a phone, car, or some other expensive purchase.     

How To Improve Your 615 Credit Score

You can work on getting a higher credit score by following these helpful financial tips:

Monitor Your Credit Reports 

Monitoring your credit reports can help you stay up-to-date on your credit history. The three major credit bureaus provide free credit reports annually. You can request one or more credit reports through the Annual Credit Report website. Remember that errors on a credit report are possible, so keep an eye out for incorrect information. If you notice an error on a credit report, you can dispute it by filling out a dispute form or calling the credit bureau. 

Maintain a Good Payment History

A long history of timely payments can help you maintain and improve your credit score. A borrower’s payment history makes up 35% of a FICO Score, so it’s critical to make on-time payments for all your credit accounts. Unfortunately, late payments will stay on your credit reports for seven years. You can maintain a good payment history by signing up for autopay or monthly text alerts.

Limit Your Credit Inquiries 

Applying for multiple credit accounts within a short period can damage your 615 credit score. Too many applications for new credit accounts can make you look financially unstable to prospective lenders. If you want to work on getting a higher credit score, avoid submitting more than six loan or credit applications within a two-year period. 

Reduce Your Debt

Reducing your outstanding credit card debt can greatly improve your credit score over time. Credit usage counts for 30% of FICO credit scores, so it’s imperative to keep your balances on credit card accounts as low as possible. Financial experts generally advise consumers to keep their credit utilization ratio lower than 30%. 

These debt repayment strategies can help you reduce your outstanding debt: 

Strategy

Description

Benefits

Snowball Method

List your debts from smallest to largest. Focus on paying off the smallest debt first while making minimum payments on the others. Once the smallest debt is paid off, move to the next smallest, and so on.

Provides quick wins, which can motivate you to keep going.

Avalanche Method

List your debts by interest rate, from highest to lowest. Focus on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first while making minimum payments on the others. Move to the next highest interest rate debt, and so on.

Saves money over time by reducing the amount of interest paid.

Zero-Based Budgeting

Allocate every dollar of your income to specific expenses, savings, and debt repayment, so your income minus your expenses equals zero. This method requires tracking every expense.

Ensures that every dollar is working for you, potentially freeing up more money for debt repayment.

50/30/20 Rule

Allocate 50% of your income to needs, 30% to wants, and 20% to savings and debt repayment. Adjust the percentages as needed to focus more on debt repayment.

Provides a balanced approach to budgeting that includes debt repayment while still allowing for savings and discretionary spending.

Debt Consolidation

Combine multiple debts into a single debt with a lower interest rate, through a balance transfer credit card or a personal loan.

Simplifies payments and can reduce the amount of interest paid, making it easier to pay down debt faster.

Envelope System

Use cash for most spending categories. Divide cash into envelopes for different expenses based on your budget, and once an envelope is empty, stop spending in that category until the next budget period.

Helps control spending by making it tangible and preventing overspending, which frees up more money for debt repayment.

FAQs About 615 Credit Scores

It’s a great idea to check your credit reports regularly, at least once a year, to ensure all the information is accurate and up-to-date. Since your credit score is directly influenced by the data in your credit reports, spotting and correcting any errors can help improve your credit score.

Yes, applying for several credit accounts in a short period can impact your credit score negatively. If you’re shopping for the best rates, try to do so within a short timeframe, as some credit scoring models may count multiple inquiries for certain types of loans as a single inquiry if done within a 14 to 45-day period.

The length of your financial history plays a significant role in determining your credit score. Lenders like to see a long history of responsible credit use because it provides them with more information on your borrowing behavior. A longer credit history can contribute positively to your credit score, as it may indicate that you have extensive experience managing credit.

What Interest Rate Can I Get With a 615 Credit Score?

Borrowers with a 615 credit score can get approval for various loans and credit cards, but interest rates will likely be high. Lenders generally offer high interest rates to subprime borrowers to offset the lending risk. It’s in your best interest to work on improving your credit score before applying for a new loan or credit card. If you need emergency financial assistance, spend time comparing your loan options to find the best offer for your financial situation. 

Can I Buy a House With a 615 Credit Score?

Buying a home with a poor credit history is not impossible! There are loan options available for low-credit and low-income borrowers. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) backs mortgages offered by lenders across the nation to help consumers become first-time home buyers. If you have a 615 credit score, you could borrow up to 96.5% of the purchase price of a home and provide a down payment as low as 3.5%!² 

Top 5 Resources for a 615 Credit Score

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