September 16, 2015 / 319


If you have bad credit, it’s all too easy to feel like you have the lowest score out there. With over ½ of all credit scores landing well above 650, having bad credit can make it feel like you have the lowest credit score in the world. Believe it or not, even having a 540 or a 510 isn’t as bad as you think it is. 

The lowest possible credit score you can have will, however, vary depending on which credit reporting agency you’re talking about. There are multiple credit bureaus, and some have lower possible scores than others. Here’s what you should know about each credit bureau, and the lowest credit score possible on each one.


Equifax: This major credit bureau has a maximum score of 850, and a minimum score of 280.


VantageScore: This credit reporting bureau can be tricky, since different versions will have different credit score ranges. Versions 1 and 2 have a minimum score of 501, while the more recent 3.0 version has a minimum score of 300.


TransRisk: TransRisk has one of the largest credit score ranges in the entire industry. It has a maximum score of 900, but can allow you to sink as low as a score of 100.

TransRisk is most commonly used for insurance and loan purposes.

FICO: FICO is the most well-known credit reporting bureau, and is also known for having a rock-bottom score of 300.

PLUS Score: This relatively new credit bureau has a maximum credit score of 830, but holds a minimum of 330.


If you have already looked at your credit score, you probably would have noticed that it’s not the lowest that it could be. In fact, it is often virtually impossible to have the lowest possible score on any of the credit score ranges. That doesn’t mean, though, that a low credit score won’t hurt you.

A common lender’s rule of thumb is that a person who has a credit score below 550 will almost always be rejected for loans, mortgages, and even apartment applications. A bad credit score, especially one that dips below 600, will end up harming you in more ways than you could imagine. It can even bar you from getting a professional license, going back to school, or keeping a job. In other words, while your credit score isn’t necessarily the worst out there, you definitely have good reason to want to improve your credit score.

The good news is that most bad credit scores are still in the 500’s, which means that it won’t usually take too much work to lift them back up to a reasonable score. So, while you do have bad credit today, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to have good credit within a year.

In many cases, the best way to tackle bad credit is all about timing. Once you have gotten control of certain debts, or in some cases, while you’re working at debt relief, it’s time to look at your credit score. With a little hard work, you’ll be able to enjoy the perks of good credit sooner rather than later.

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