640 credit score: How good or bad is it?

by Stable MARK | Updated: July 10, 2022
Stable MARK content is free. When you purchase through referral links on our website, our partners compensate us. Advertiser Disclosure

640 is considered a 'fair' credit score. But what does that actually mean? We take a closer look at what such a credit score means and how it can affect your life.

Let’s get started to understand what it means, what you can get with a 640 credit score and how to improve it.

A 640 credit FICO score
Figure 1: 640 falls within the FICO credit score range concidered fair

About 17% of all consumers have Credit Scores that are considered to be in the Fair range (580-669).

Is 640 a good credit score?

A credit score of 640 is considered to be a "fair" (ranges from 580 to 669 FICO® score) credit score. This means that you should be able to qualify for some loans and credit cards. However, you may not get the best interest rates or terms on these products.

Credit scores are utilized by lenders to decide if they will provide a loan to an individual. They are also used by landlords as a factor in their decision of whether or not to rent to someone. A good credit score means that the person is a low-risk borrower, and a bad credit score means that the person is a high-risk borrower.

A majority of U.S. (83%) consumers have a credit score that is greater than 640.

U.S. average FICO credit score by age - Q2 2019
Figure 2: U.S. average FICO credit score by age - Q2 2019. Source: Amex

It may be difficult for you to obtain a loan or a card

It can be a hard time to get a loan with a credit score of 640. A credit score of 640 is considered to be "fair" by most lenders. This means that you may have difficulty obtaining a loan or credit card from some lenders. However, there are still many lenders who will work with you if you have a credit score of 640. You may just have to pay a higher interest rate than someone with a higher credit score.

39% of Americans who have a FICO® Score of 640 have at least one late payment on their credit report.

What does a 640 credit score get you?

Credit Cards For 640 Credit Score

Suitable For
Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card
low annual fee
Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
low-interest credit-building
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Capital One Platinum Credit Card
no annual fee
Capital One Platinum Credit Card
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
flat-rate cash back
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Mission Lane Cash Back Visa® Credit Card
up to 1.5 percent cash back
Mission Lane Cash Back Visa® Credit Card
Credit One Bank Wander® Card
Credit One Bank Wander® Card
Milestone® Mastercard®
fraud protection
Milestone® Mastercard®
Avant Credit Card
no penalty apr
Avant Credit Card
Indigo® Mastercard®
bankruptcy forgiveness
Indigo® Mastercard®
Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®
low-interest and low cost
Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®
Credit One Bank® Platinum X5 Visa®
rewards on internet, TV, and cellphone service
Credit One Bank® Platinum X5 Visa®
Table 1: What can you get with a 640 credit score
Item Does 640 credit score qualifies?
No annual fee credit card Yes
Credit card with 0% financing Yes
Favorite store’s credit card Yes
No-foreign-fee credit card Yes
Airline/Hotel credit card No
Initial credit card bonus No
Any credit card No
Apartment rental Maybe
Personal loan Maybe

The average credit card debt among consumers with a FICO® Score of 640 is $6,052.

The ground for your credit score

A credit score such as the FICO Score is based on your credit history recorded in your credit file. The score is a summarization of your past credit and bill payment habits. Generally, good credit habits will result in a higher score such as 700 credit score, while poor or erratic habits will result in a lower score such as 600 credit score.

The following is a more detailed explanation of the specific elements that influence your FICO Score:

Public Information: Bankruptcies and other public records on your credit report can have very negative effects on your credit score.

Payment history: If you have delinquent accounts or late or missed payments, this can negatively affect your credit score. On the other hand, if you have a history of paying your bills on time, this will help improve your credit score. Essentially, this is the number one factor that influences your credit score, which is approximately 35% of your FICO® Score.

Credit usage rate: The credit utilization ratio is determined by adding the balances of all revolving credit accounts and dividing by the total credit limit. For example, if an individual has a $4,000 balance on their credit cards and a $10,000 total credit limit, then their credit utilization rate would be 40%. It is common knowledge that having a high credit utilization rate will lower an individual's credit score. In fact, most experts recommend keeping the credit utilization ratio below 30% to avoid any damage to one's credit score. Credit usage makes up for approximately 30% of an individual's FICO® Score.

Length of credit history: The longer your credit history, the better your credit score will be. If you're new to credit, there's not much you can do about that except avoid bad habits and establish a track record of timely payments and good credit decisions. Length of credit history makes up 15% of your FICO® Score.

Total debt and credit: Credit scores take into account the total amount of debt you have as well as the types of credit you use. The FICO score generally likes to see a mix of installment loans (think mortgages or car loans with a set repayment schedule) and revolving credit (think credit cards where you can borrow up to a certain limit and make variable payments). Having a good mix of credit can affect up to 10% of your FICO score.

Recent applications: When you apply for a loan or credit card, the lender requests your credit score from the credit bureau, which is known as a hard inquiry. A hard inquiry can have a negative, but temporary, effect on your credit score. Once you start making timely payments again, your credit score will likely rebound quickly. Checking your own credit is a soft inquiry and will not impact your credit score. Recent credit applications can make up 10% of your FICO® Score.

The average credit utilization rate for consumers with FICO credit scores of 640 is 78.2%.

How to improve and rebuild your 640 credit score

First, you need to get a copy of your credit report from all three major credit reporting agencies. You can get a free copy of your credit report from a credit bureau.

Improving your credit score takes time and effort, but it’s worth it if you want to get approved for loans and lines of credit at the best possible interest rates. Depending on where you stand with your credit score, a 650 credit score can be slightly or significantly improved or worsened.

Do You Need Credit Repair?

by more serious issues

Credit Repair Companies

by minor issues

Do It Yourself

Seek a secured credit card: A secured credit card is a great way to help improve your credit score, even if you don't qualify for traditional credit cards. With a secured card, you put down a deposit in the full amount of your spending limit—typically a few hundred dollars. Once you've confirmed that the lender reports card activity to the national credit bureaus, you can use the card and make regular payments. Those activities will be recorded in your credit files and help you build stronger credit, as long as you keep your usage rate on the card below about 30% and stay on schedule with your monthly payments.

Consider a credit-builder loan: A credit-builder loan is a specialty loan designed to help build or shore up borrowers' credit profiles. The credit union places the money you've borrowed in a savings account that generates interest, and once you've paid off the loan, you get the cash and the interest it has accrued. The credit union reports your payments to the national credit bureaus, which can lead to credit-score improvements.

Consider a debt-management plan: If you are struggling to keep up with credit payments, a debt-management plan (DMP) may be helpful. With the help of an authorized credit-counseling agency, you can negotiate a manageable repayment schedule and effectively close all your credit accounts. This is a major step that can hurt your credit score in the short-term, but it is less damaging than bankruptcy and can eventually give you a chance to rebuild your credit. Even if a DMP is not right for you, a good non-profit credit counselor can help you find strategies for building up your credit.

Pay your bills on time: The most impactful thing you could do to improve your credit score is to bring any overdue accounts current and avoid late payments in the future. To help remind yourself of payment due dates, you can set up automatic payments, calendar alarms, or notes as reminders in places where you'll see them regularly. With a few months of effort, you'll develop habits that will lead to a higher credit score.

Avoid high credit utilization rates: The credit utilization rate, or the amount of debt relative to the credit limit, impacts approximately 30% of the FICO score. Keeping the utilization rate below 30% can help avoid lowering the score. It is beneficial for your credit score if you keep your balances low. Your "credit utilization ratio" is the percentage of your available credit that you are using at any given time. A lower number is better for your score.

Evaluate your credit report: Review your credit report on an annual basis. You are legally allowed to obtain one free report from each of the three main credit reporting agencies every twelve months. Ensure that there are no inaccuracies on your report that could lower your score for no good reason. Obtain your credit report and pinpoint all negative, detrimental items that is preventing your 640 score from being higher.

Dispute negative items: Review your credit report for any discrepancies and file a dispute for any inaccurate information. By sending a dispute letter to the Bureaus, you are requesting that they remove the negative items from your report permanently.

Extra tips for improving your credit score

If necessary, seek help from a reputable credit counseling or repair service. If you have bad credit, it is not embarrassing to ask for help from a professional service. Just be sure to choose a reputable company that will help you improve your score in a legitimate way.

It is recommended that you use a mix of different types of credit. Lenders tend to prefer borrowers who can demonstrate responsibility by managing different types of debt, such as installment loans and revolving lines of credit.

Credit monitoring services can be extremely helpful in keeping track of your progress and spotting any potential problems early. I highly recommend signing up for one if you're serious about improving your credit score.

Keep old accounts open even if you don't use them often.

Limit new applications for credit.

As a conclusion

A 640 FICO® Score is a good starting point for building a better credit score. You can get approved for a loan or credit card with this score, but you likely won't qualify for the best rates and terms. To improve your score, focus on paying all of your bills on time, keeping your balances low, and using your credit responsibly. With time and effort, you can improve your credit score and get the financial products and terms you deserve.

Benefits of improving your score to:

650 660 670 680 690

Drawbacks of worsen your score to:

630 620 610 600 590

Share this article

Stay On Top Of Industry Trends

By providing my email address, I agree to StableMARK.com’s Privacy Policy