If you plan on applying for a new credit card or loan, there is one important piece of information that determines if your application is approved or denied:
Your Credit Score.
So many people check their credit score, only to end up with a 3 digit number that they have no understanding of.
Helping you understand it.
My goal here is to help you understand what your score means for you, how it's calculated, and if it needs some improvement.
540 Credit Score - Is it Good or Bad?SHORT ANSWER
540 is a Very Poor Credit Score!
Any credit score in the 350-550 range is generally considered “Very Poor”.
- Excellent Credit: 750 - 850
- Good Credit: 700 - 749
- Fair Credit: 650 - 699
- Poor Credit: 550 - 649
- Very Poor: 549 and below ← You Are Here
With a "Very Poor" credit score, most lenders or insurers will likely deny your application, based on your score. Without a co-signer or large down payment, it will be difficult to obtain credit with a score in this range. If you are approved for credit, it will likely be a high interest loan/credit line.
Any score below 700 could use some improvement. If you want some of the best rates and terms lenders have to offer, you need to work on raising your credit score to at least 725, which is well within the “good” range.IMPORTANT NOTE
You Probably Got a "FAKE" Credit Score 578
Did you know that 90% of top lenders use your FICO® Scores to determine loan interest rates, terms & approvals?
Yet most credit monitoring services (including Credit Karma) give you what's called a VantageScore ("FAKO" Score), not your true FICO Score.
Having said that, I highly recommend getting All 3 FICO® Credit Scores from my favorite credit monitoring service: Experian IdentityWorks.
With IdentityWorks Premium, you will have your actual FICO® Scores.
That includes 3 FICO® credit scores, 3 credit reports, 3-Bureau credit monitoring with daily FICO® Score updates (Experian), & top notch Identity Theft Protection.
My Review: Why I Love IdentityWorksFULL ANSWER
How Does a 540 Credit Score Rate?
Most credit scores including FICO and VantageScore range from 300-850, the higher the better. Within that range, there are different categories, ranging from bad to excellent. Here's a general idea of the ranges and their "ratings". Your range will be indicated below.
What does "Very Poor Credit" mean to you?
With very poor credit, most lenders and insurers will likely deny your application based on your score. There are some lenders who will approve "bad credit" borrowers, but without a co-signer or a large down payment, these loan offers (if you can get approved in the first place) will surely come with high interest rates, or high premiums if you're seeking insurance.
There are many factors which can contribute to a "very poor" credit score. Usually it's a combination of things, such as late payments, collections, repo, bankruptcy or high balances on your credit cards. Applying for too much credit too fast can also drag down your credit score (remember, apply for new credit only when you need it).
Don't Fret, Improve!
There is a bright side to all this, there's plenty of room for improvement! It's likely to take at least a couple of years, but you can definitely improve your score with a little know-how. Be sure to check out my tips on improving your credit score.
How Is A Credit Score Calculated?
While exact details of how your 540 credit score was calculated is an industry secret, we do know that credit scores are formulated using many different pieces of data from your credit report. This data is grouped into five categories as shown below. The percentage to the right of each one indicates how important it is in determining your credit score.
- Payment History - 35% - This is typically the first thing a potential lender will want to know. Have you paid your past accounts on time? Have you missed any payments?
- Total Amounts Owed - 30% - How much you owe on each of your credit accounts. Higher amounts does not necessarily mean you are high risk, other factors are considered as well.
- Length of Credit History - 15% - Generally a longer credit history will yield higher credit scores. But that's not always the case, it also depends on how often you use your credit, and how responsibly you manage your debt.
- Types of Credit in Use - 10% - Credit score providers will consider the mix of credit accounts you have, such as credit cards, retail accounts, auto loans, mortgages etc.
- New Credit - 10% - Lenders want to know if you've recently been applying for many credit accounts in a short period of time. That can often represent a greater risk to the lender.
Different Credit Score Range Scales
There are many credit scores available to lenders, most use FICO scores, but even those can vary in how they are calculated depending on the version being used. Lenders can also create their own credit score ranges, or use industry specific credit scoring models such as those geared towards mortgages or auto loans.
Here's a quick look at the various credit scoring models and the range they use:
- FICO Score: 300-850
- VantageScore 3.0: 300–850
- VantageScore (versions 1.0 and 2.0): 501–990
- PLUS Score: 330-830
- TransRisk Score: 100-900
- Equifax Credit Score: 280–850
As you can see, having a 540 TransRisk score isn't nearly the same as a 540 FICO score. For that reason, it's also important to know which scoring model is being used to determine how "good" or "bad" your credit really is.
Some of the questions you probably have are: Is 540 a good FICO Score? Is 540 a bad FICO Credit Score? Is a FICO Score of 540 good or bad? What does a FICO Score of 540 mean? What does a 540 FICO Score mean?
Knowledge Is Power - Especially With Your Credit
Did you know if you've received just 1 credit score of 695, you've only seen 16% of your credit data!
You actually have 3 credit scores based on 3 different credit reports. That's 6 different items which are very important for you to have.
Not having access to 100% of your credit data leaves you vulnerable to credit reporting errors, credit fraud, and identity theft.
Make sure you have access to all of your credit scores and reports, I recommend my favorite premium service: IdentityWorks. With IdentityWorks, you get all 3 credit scores & reports, and daily monitoring of your 3 credit reports, with alerts of key changes to your credit files.