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a 400 credit score mean?


Editorial Note: Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our third-party advertisers don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted.

A 400 credit score can be a sign of past credit difficulties or a lack of credit history. Whether you’re looking for a personal loan, a mortgage or a credit card, credit scores in this range can make it challenging to get approved for unsecured credit, which doesn’t require collateral or a security deposit.

Percentage of generation with 300–639 credit scores
Generation Percentage
Gen Z 40.9%
Millennial 43.5%
Gen X 40.5%
Baby boomer 25.8%
Silent 14.7%
Greatest 27.3%

“Poor” score range identified based on 2021 Credit Karma data.

The most-common consumer credit scoring models produce credit scores in a range from 300 to 850. In bowling, a score of 300 is considered a perfect game. But when it comes to credit, things are a little different. A credit score in the 300 to 400 spectrum is widely considered to be poor (or even very poor). Unfortunately, poor credit scores can lead to financial pain.

With poor scores, you’ll likely have trouble getting approved for many credit cards. You may also find it difficult to qualify for a personal loan, auto loan or mortgage. And if you do qualify for one of these credit products, it might come with serious drawbacks — like outrageously high interest rates and fees.

One of the first steps to building credit and getting out of a poor-credit situation is to answer one deceptively simple question: What is a credit score?

Credit scores are numbers meant to help gauge how likely you are to fulfill your credit and debt obligations. They’re calculated based on information in your credit reports, and lenders use them to help determine the level of risk involved in extending you credit. Depending on their criteria, lenders may say “thanks, but no thanks” to an application for credit from someone with low scores.

Since every lender has its own standards and considerations, it’s best to think of your credit scores as a measure of your overall credit health and not as a “guarantee” that you’ll be approved or rejected.

If your credit falls within the 300 to 400 range, you’d likely find approvals hard to come by. But here’s the good news: With some persistence and a focus on building healthy credit habits, you can bump those scores up to the fair, good and even excellent range. And that means you’re much more likely to qualify for better financial products in the future.

Here’s how you can do it.


  • Building your credit
  • What credit card can I get with a 400 credit score?
  • Personal loans with a 400 credit score
  • Auto loan rates for poor credit
  • Mortgage rates for poor credit

Building your credit

Building credit can feel like running a marathon.

If your credit falls in the range that’s generally considered “poor” (300­ to 639), you could have a long race ahead of you. But the only way to reach the mile markers of fair, good and excellent is to take it one step at a time.

Pace yourself, because it won’t happen overnight. But if you start slowly and begin to develop healthy credit habits now, you’ll build up your credit over time — and gain real satisfaction from your accomplishments along the way.

Five main credit factors typically influence your credit scores.

  • Payment history
  • Credit usage
  • Length of credit history
  • Credit mix
  • New credit
Age of open accounts by credit score range
Credit score range Avg. age (years)
300–639 2.5
640–699 3.6
700–749 4.1
750–850 7.3

Ranges identified based on 2021 Credit Karma data.

Rather than simply define these factors, we’ve put together some practical tips that take each factor into account. Follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way to making positive contributions to the factors that tend to weigh most heavily on your credit scores.

Make a monthly budget

Sticking to a budget can make it easier to stay on top of your bills. If you know how much money you can afford to spend every month, paying off your credit card and other loan balances won’t feel so intimidating.

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That’s important because your payment history — including any late payments — can have a real influence on your credit scores. Paying on time every month on accounts that report to the main consumer credit bureaus is one of the best things you can do for your credit.

Set up autopay

We just talked about how payment history is an important factor in determining your credit scores. But sometimes, even when you budget well and plan to pay on time, the exact due date can slip your mind.

We’re all human. It’s OK to acknowledge that! To avoid human error, we recommend setting up autopay on all of your credit accounts. With automatic payments on your side, your credit won’t have to suffer in the event of a random bout of forgetfulness.

Don’t let your credit card balances balloon

If you’ve fallen into credit card debt, you may already know that carrying a high balance can result in hefty interest charges. But what you might not have realized is that a high credit card balance can also hurt your credit by increasing your credit utilization rate.

Your credit utilization rate is the percentage of your available credit that you’re using at any one time. The standard advice is to keep that percentage below 30% if at all possible, but using even less than 30% of your available credit is preferable.

This can be easier said than done. But every little bit helps. Even if you can’t afford to pay off your whole account balance right away, try to chip away at it until it’s at or near 30% of your total credit limit.

Think carefully before closing old credit card accounts

If you don’t use an old credit card much anymore, you might be tempted to close it.

To this we say: Not so fast. Keeping an old credit card account open can increase your age of credit history as well as your credit mix, which could help you build credit.

You might be better off keeping that old account open, assuming you don’t have to pay an annual fee. You may even consider putting a small recurring charge — like a monthly subscription — on the card to ensure the account stays active and the credit card company doesn’t close it for you.

Don’t apply for too many new credit cards at the same time

A hard inquiry (or “hard pull”) typically occurs when you apply for a new credit card. This just means that the card issuer has requested to check your credit as part of the approval process.

A hard inquiry can have a small negative impact on your credit, but just one hard inquiry is usually not a big deal. But multiple hard inquiries in a short period of time might lead lenders to assume that you’re a potentially risky borrower. Whether that’s true or not, it isn’t something you want weighing down your credit!

What credit card can I get with a 400 credit score?

You might have a hard time getting approved for a credit card with poor credit scores.

The good news is, Credit Karma can help. You can log in to your account to see your personalized Approval Odds for a number of different credit cards. While your Credit Karma Approval Odds aren’t a guarantee that you’ll be approved for a particular card, they can help you find a credit card that matches your current credit profile.

Here are some common options you may come across.

Secured credit cards

Applying for a secured credit card might be your best bet if your credit still needs some work. With a secured card, you’ll pay a security deposit upfront. This security deposit typically sets your credit limit. So if your security deposit is, say, $300, your credit limit may also be set at $300. This gives the issuer some insurance in case you close the account without paying off your debt.

Because secured cards pose less of a risk for credit card issuers, they may be more readily available to someone with poor credit. And a secured card can benefit you as a borrower if the lender reports your on-time payments and other credit activity to the three main credit bureaus.

Unsecured credit cards

If you can’t afford a security deposit, you might be able to find an unsecured credit card. The trade-off is that it will potentially come with an annual fee — which is arguably worse than a security deposit because it’s typically nonrefundable. You could also face higher interest rates.

Store credit cards

Store credit cards typically incentivize you to shop at a particular retailer. This type of card can be secured or unsecured, so it’s not technically a third category. But store credit cards are worth talking about as an option if you’re building credit.

Why? Because you might have a better chance at getting approved for a store credit card with poor credit. The potential downside is that these cards tend to come with high interest rates, and you may only be able to use them at a specific store. On the other hand, they might offer rewards and benefits that make sense if you already shop at the store in question.

If you’ve looked into all of these options and still can’t find a card that you can get approved for, you may have other options. Consider asking a family member or trusted friend to add you to their credit card account as an authorized user. But first, familiarize yourself with the pros and cons of being an authorized user on a credit card.

Compare offers for credit cards for poor credit on Credit Karma to learn about more options.

Personal loans with a 400 credit score

You might find it challenging to get approved for a personal loan with poor credit scores.

Given your current scores, you might not have the luxury of shopping for the best personal loans with the lowest interest rates. Instead, you may have to settle for a personal loan with a high interest rate — not to mention other fees, such as an origination fee.

This could make a personal loan seem very unappealing to you, especially if your intention with the loan is to consolidate high-interest credit card debt. The APR on your personal loan could be just as high, if not higher, than the interest rate you’re currently paying on your credit cards.

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On the other hand, if your goal with a personal loan is to finance a major purchase, you should ask yourself whether it’s something you need right now. If it can wait until after you spend some time building credit, you may qualify for a personal loan with a lower APR and better terms later down the line.

If you’re really in a pinch for cash and you’re having a difficult time finding a personal loan you qualify for, you might be considering a payday loan. While everyone’s situation is unique, you should generally be wary of these short-term loans that come saddled with high fees and interest rates. They can quickly snowball into a cycle of debt that’s even harder to climb out from.

Before you apply for a payday loan, consider whether you have any other options. You can also compare personal loans on Credit Karma to learn more about what’s available to you.

Auto loan rates for poor credit

There’s no specific minimum credit score required to qualify for a car loan. Still, if you have poor credit, it could be difficult to get approved for a car loan. Even with the best auto loans for poor credit, watch out for high interest rates, which can make it very expensive to borrow money.

If you have time to build your credit before you apply for a car loan, you may be able to eventually get better rates. But if you don’t have time to wait, there are some strategies that can help you get a car loan with bad credit.

  • Consider a co-signer if you have a trusted family member or friend with good credit who is willing to share the responsibility of a car loan with you.
  • Seek out alternative lenders, such as a credit union or an online lender.
  • Ask the dealership if there’s a financing department dedicated to working with people with poor credit.
  • Use buy-here, pay-here financing only as a last resort.

If your credit could use some work, it’s especially important to shop around to find the best deal for you. Our auto loan calculator can help you estimate your monthly auto loan payment and understand how much interest you might pay based on the rates, terms and loan amount.

Compare car loans on Credit Karma.

Mortgage rates for poor credit

The average credit score needed to buy a house can vary, but it could be more challenging to qualify for a loan if your credit needs work.

You may find that mortgage offers that are available to you come with high interest rates that can cost you a lot of money. It’s important to consider the long-term financial impact of an expensive loan, and it may be worth taking some time to build your credit before applying.

But there are some types of mortgages to consider if you don’t qualify for a conventional loan. These government-backed loans that are made by private lenders include …

  • FHA loans
  • VA loans
  • USDA loans

If you qualify for one of these loan types, you may be able to make a smaller down payment, too.

No matter what your credit is, it’s important to shop around to understand what competitive rates look like in your area. Compare current mortgage rates on Credit Karma to learn more.


Next steps

It can be more difficult to get approved for loans and other offers if you have bad credit. If you can, give it time. The more you build up your credit, the more likely it is that you’ll start to qualify for better offers.

If your applications for credit are being denied and you don’t understand why, you have the right to ask and get an answer. This is also the first step to take if you suspect a lender is discriminating against you. It’s illegal for lenders to discriminate based on certain protected traits, such as race, gender, religion or marital status, and there are steps you can take to protect your rights as a borrower.

It may be tempting to go with a credit repair company for a quick fix. Be aware that these can be expensive, and sometimes companies that advertise these types of services can make misleading claims about what they can do for you. If you’re looking for guidance on navigating your personal credit situation, consider credit counseling instead.

Poor credit can leave you feeling discouraged, but it comes with a long runway for improvement — and a lot of goals to celebrate along the way. Knowing how to read and understand your credit scores and credit reports can help you understand how to take the next step in your financial journey.

Extra Information About is 400 a good credit score That You May Find Interested

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What does a 400 credit score mean? - Credit Karma

What does a 400 credit score mean? – Credit Karma

  • Author: creditkarma.com

  • Rating: 3⭐ (176665 rating)

  • Highest Rate: 5⭐

  • Lowest Rate: 1⭐

  • Sumary: Having a 400 credit score can make it more difficult to get approved for unsecured loans. Here’s how you can take your credit scores to the next level.

  • Matching Result: A 400 credit score can be a sign of past credit difficulties or a lack of credit history. Whether you’re looking for a personal loan, …

  • Intro: What does a 400 credit score mean? Editorial Note: Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our third-party advertisers don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted. A 400 credit score can be…
  • Source: https://www.creditkarma.com/credit-scores/400

400 Credit Score: Borrowing Options & How to Fix - WalletHub

400 Credit Score: Borrowing Options & How to Fix – WalletHub

  • Author: wallethub.com

  • Rating: 3⭐ (176665 rating)

  • Highest Rate: 5⭐

  • Lowest Rate: 1⭐

  • Sumary: Learn why a 400 credit score is bad credit. See what loans & credit cards you can get. Find out how to fix a 400 credit score & get good credit.

  • Matching Result: A 400 credit score is a bad credit score, unfortunately, as it’s a lot closer to the lowest score possible (300) than the highest credit score (850).

  • Intro: 400 Credit Score: Meaning, Borrowing Options & How to FixA 400 credit score is a bad credit score, unfortunately, as it’s a lot closer to the lowest score possible (300) than the highest credit score (850). It indicates you’ve had significant payment problems in the past, perhaps even to the…
  • Source: https://wallethub.com/credit-score-range/400-credit-score

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400 Credit Score (+ #1 Way To Fix It ) - Credit Glory

400 Credit Score (+ #1 Way To Fix It ) – Credit Glory

  • Author: creditglory.com

  • Rating: 3⭐ (176665 rating)

  • Highest Rate: 5⭐

  • Lowest Rate: 1⭐

  • Sumary: A 400 Credit Score Is Poor. Your #1 way to fix it might be hiring a Credit Repair service, like Credit Glory. It’s fast, simple and puts you back on your road toward financial success, today!

  • Matching Result: Is 400 a Good Credit Score? … A 400 FICO® Score is considered “Poor”. It means you’ve had past payment problems, including collection accounts, …

  • Intro: 400 Credit Score (+ #1 Way To Fix It )Is 400 a Good Credit Score?A 400 FICO® Score is considered “Poor”. It means you’ve had past payment problems, including collection accounts, judgments, bankruptcy or worse. With a “Poor” score, it’s harder to obtain credit cards, loans, and favorable interest rates.The…
  • Source: https://www.creditglory.com/credit-score/400-credit-score

Smart Money Moves if You Have a 400 Credit Score - Upsolve

Smart Money Moves if You Have a 400 Credit Score – Upsolve

  • Author: upsolve.org

  • Rating: 3⭐ (176665 rating)

  • Highest Rate: 5⭐

  • Lowest Rate: 1⭐

  • Sumary: A low credit score can hurt your chances of getting a job, finding housing, or being approved for credit accounts, but you can take steps to improve your score.

  • Matching Result: Under either credit scoring model, a score of 400 is in the lowest category. It likely signifies that the individual has had significant …

  • Intro: Smart Money Moves if You Have a 400 Credit Score – UpsolveIn a NutshellHaving a good credit score means it’s easier to get approved for a loan, land a job, and find an apartment. It also means that you can save a lot of money with lower interest rates and…
  • Source: https://upsolve.org/learn/400-credit-score/

How One Woman Boosted Her Credit Score From the 400s to ...

How One Woman Boosted Her Credit Score From the 400s to …

  • Author: gobankingrates.com

  • Rating: 3⭐ (176665 rating)

  • Highest Rate: 5⭐

  • Lowest Rate: 1⭐

  • Sumary: If you need to raise your credit score, take some tips from this woman who took her score from very low to one of the best.

  • Matching Result: According to myFICO, anything below 580 is considered a poor credit score and signals to lenders that the borrower is a high risk. A good credit …

  • Intro: How One Woman Boosted Her Credit Score From the 400s to 800s Sep 28, 2020 10 min Read In the summer of 2007, Lotasha Thomas knew she needed to get her financial act together. She had finally gotten a bachelor’s degree after dropping out of college in 2001 with an…
  • Source: https://www.gobankingrates.com/credit/credit-score/how-woman-raised-credit-score-from-400-to-800/

400 Credit Score: Is it Good or Bad? (Approval Odds) - Crediful

400 Credit Score: Is it Good or Bad? (Approval Odds) – Crediful

  • Author: crediful.com

  • Rating: 3⭐ (176665 rating)

  • Highest Rate: 5⭐

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  • Sumary: Is 400 a good credit score? Can I get approved for a credit card or loan? How can I raise my score? We answer all of your questions.

  • Matching Result: Is 400 a good credit score? FICO scores range from 300 to 850. As you can see below, a 400 credit score is considered Poor. Credit Score …

  • Intro: 400 Credit Score Is 400 a good credit score? Is 400 a good credit score? FICO scores range from 300 to 850. As you can see below, a 400 credit score is considered Poor. Credit ScoreCredit Rating% of population[1]300 – 579Poor16%580 – 669Fair17%670 – 739Good21%740 – 799Very Good25%800 – 850Exceptional21%[1]:…
  • Source: https://www.crediful.com/fico-credit-score-range/400-credit-score/

Can I get a car loan with a 400 credit score? - Jerry

Can I get a car loan with a 400 credit score? – Jerry

  • Author: getjerry.com

  • Rating: 3⭐ (176665 rating)

  • Highest Rate: 5⭐

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  • Sumary: You may not be able to get a car loan with a 400 credit score. Find out why and what you can do to improve your chances of car loan approval.

  • Matching Result: 1 answer

  • Intro: Can I get a car loan with a 400 credit score? | JerryI made some poor decisions when I was young and my credit has never recovered. After checking my credit score the other day, I found it was still around 400. The major problem is that I need a…
  • Source: https://getjerry.com/questions/can-i-get-a-car-loan-with-a-400-credit-score

400 Credit Score: Is it Good or Bad? How do I Improve it?

400 Credit Score: Is it Good or Bad? How do I Improve it?

  • Author: joinharvest.com

  • Rating: 3⭐ (176665 rating)

  • Highest Rate: 5⭐

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  • Sumary: A 400 credit score is a poor credit score. It makes it very difficult to qualify for credit or even apply for an apartment but it can absolutely be improved.

  • Matching Result: A 400 credit score is a poor credit score. It makes it very difficult to qualify for credit or even apply for an apartment but it can absolutely be …

  • Intro: 400 Credit Score: Is it Good or Bad? How do I Improve it?400 Credit Score: Is it Good or Bad? How Do I Improve It?Your credit score plays an important role in your financial life, affecting your ability to borrow money and how much you have to pay for loans.Like…
  • Source: https://www.joinharvest.com/credit-scores/400-credit-score

Frequently Asked Questions About is 400 a good credit score

If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic is 400 a good credit score, then this section may help you solve it.

If you wish to purchase a…

You won’t be approved for most mortgages if your credit score is 400, for example, an FHA loan requires a minimum of 580 as of August 2021, and less than 1% of borrowers who were approved for conventional mortgages in the fall of 2018 had a FICO score below 600.

A 400 credit score is possible.

If you’re looking for a personal loan, a mortgage, or a credit card, credit scores in this range can make it difficult to get approved for unsecured credit, which doesn’t require collateral or a security deposit. A credit score of 400 can be an indication of past credit difficulties or a lack of credit history.

People with extremely low credit scores…

According to FICO, a credit scoring company, consumers with very low credit scores between 400 and 450 frequently have their credit applications denied. However, this doesn’t have to be the case because loans and credit cards are still available for people with 400 to 450 credit scores.

A 400 FICO Score is thought to be…

A “Poor” FICO® Score of 400 indicates that you have had prior payment issues, such as collection accounts, judgments, bankruptcy, or worse. It is more difficult to get credit cards, loans, and favorable interest rates with a “Poor” score.

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