400 Credit Score: Near the Bottom of the Barrel

Hopefully You Don’t Have a 400 Credit Score

It’s been a while since I’ve taken a look at a specific credit score, so I thought I’d shake it up and examine something extreme.

Today I’ll dissect the abysmal “400 credit score,” which is so low that it’s not even a possibility on most credit score scales.

That’s right. Unless it’s the more popular Fico score, a 400 credit score isn’t even in the realm of possibilities.

Usually when I do these types of posts, I consider the credit score for both Fico and VantageScore, which are arguably the most common types of credit scores out there.

But the VantageScore only goes as low as 501, so clearly it’s not even in the conversation today.

However, Fico goes as low as 300, so a 400 Fico score is certainly a possibility, albeit still pretty uncommon.

400 Fico Score = Major Credit Damage!

In short, it would take some very serious missteps to “achieve” a 400 Fico score. You’d basically have to do just about everything wrong to wind up with a score this low.

Even those who make mistakes, like missing minimum payments or getting foreclosed on, don’t end up with credit scores this low.

Let me repeat. Even someone who misses a bunch of mortgage payments and gets foreclosed on will probably still have a Fico score north of 400. So hopefully that gives you some perspective if your score is in the 400s.

In fact, you’ll probably need to declare bankruptcy before your credit score falls into the 400 range.

Or basically have nothing but bad credit history, meaning the few lines of credit you took out were mismanaged from the start.

Figure It Out Fast

In any case, you’ll want to get to the bottom of the problem (yes, it’s a problem) as soon as possible.

We’re talking ordering free credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies (via Annualcreditreport.com) and combing through all the information.

Chances are you’ll probably know about most of the damage, but using the credit reports as your guide is the best way to know for sure.

It may also be in your best interest to call on the services of a credit professional to clean up your credit sooner rather than later.

They’ll likely tell you that it will take quite a bit of time and legwork (and money) to get you to a more respectable state, but without professional help, it could be a long, long time before you can get approved for any new of credit.

That said, if your score were this low, you’d be hard-pressed to get access to any new credit, even from so-called bad credit lenders. If you do get access to credit, you’ll be paying an arm-and-a-leg for it.

You’ll essentially be stuck using cash for all your purchases, and will be locked out of the credit market, which will make it nearly impossible to live these days.

While you’re fixing your credit, you’ll also want to get a credit score monitoring program going to track your progress. And while you’re at it, it’d be wise to learn more about credit to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

It’s not the end of the world, but it’s pretty close. The good thing about credit damage is that it’s not permanent, so there’s always hope and recourse.

Read more: How to improve a bad credit score.

(photo: computationally.intractable)