What is the lowest credit score possible?
Published Sun, Sep 9, 2012 Updated Tue, Feb 16, 2021
This question can be a little too vague, since there is no unified, universal credit score per se – there are several credit reporting agencies and any lender is free to use whichever agency they choose to. In reality, the main two credit agencies are Equifax and Experian, so let’s look at those.[cta]
It is important to note that these two credit reference agencies have different ways of scoring you and a score that is good with Equifax might be very poor with Experian. So make sure you know which credit score you are looking at and ideally find out if possible which report your prospective creditor will be checking.
Disclaimer: Of course your credit score is a helpful indicator for your own reassurance on how good your credit is, and also to figure out whether your overall credit worthiness is improving. But no lender will ever consider your credit rating in isolation and what really matters are how the items on your credit report match up with that particular lender’s criteria for the loan.
Equifax have a sliding scale system that goes from 0 to 900, with 900 being basically perfect credit worthiness and anything over 475 being excellent.
So in theory the lowest possible score is 0, although of course in reality you would never be able to reach such a low score even if you tried. Anything under 300 is very poor and only a small percentage of people will ever make it that low – that’s by declaring bankruptcy or having a long string of defaults or fraud.
Experian have a much more linear scale, it goes from 0-999 and anything over 961 is excellent. At the other end of the scale, 0 is once again the theoretical lowest possible score but again the reality is that no one would ever get so low.[cta]
The very poor category for Experian is anything under 560, and again it would take some effort to reach this low level. You would need a consistent history of bad debt and non-payments to get there.