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What’s a bad credit score?

Find out where you sit on the "bad credit" scale.

There are many bad credit listings you can have on your credit file, as well as a variety of positive listings and personal details. Using all of this information, your risk as a borrower is calculated and represented as a credit score. If you have any negative listings on your file or you have engaged in risky borrowing behaviour, such as making multiple credit applications in a short space of time, you might have a bad credit score. Find out more about the credit score ranges in this guide.

What is a credit score?

Your credit score is a number between zero and 1,200 and is calculated using the information on your credit file. The higher your number is, the less risky a borrower you are determined to be. There are five credit score ranges, from "excellent" credit to "below average" credit.


What is a bad credit score?

A bad credit score is anything that falls in the bottom two credit score ranges, "average" and "below average" credit. Average credit denotes a score of between 510-621, while below average credit denotes a score of between 0-509. Each of the credit scores is explained in more detail in this table:

Credit positionEquifax ScorePercentileLikeliness of an adverse event being recorded on your file in the next 12 months
Excellent833-12000-20%Highly unlikely
Very good726-83221-40%Unlikely
Good622-72541-60%Less likely
Below average0-50981-100%Very highly likely

How can I improve my credit score?

  • Order your credit file. Improving your credit position starts with understanding where you're at. You can order a free copy of your credit file once every 12 months or if you have been denied credit in the previous 90 days. You can also pay a fee to have your credit file sent to you more quickly.
  • Fix inaccuracies in your report. If there are any mistakes in your report it's important to have them rectified. Contact the credit reporting body you ordered your report from and report the mistake. You can also get in touch with the credit provider directly.
  • Avoid making multiple credit applications. If you're denied credit and you can afford to wait, you can consider waiting until you make another application. Having multiple credit applications listed on your file can further damage your score and be a red flag to lenders.
  • Get free financial advice. You can contact the free financial counselling hotline on 1800 007 007 if you're looking for advice on your finances.
  • Get advice on your credit file. There are companies that will give you personal advice on your credit file. Find out what services are on offer from The Credit File Experts.
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