Understanding a 400 credit score
MoneySuperMarket explains what your borrowing options are if you have 400 credit score.
Is 400 a good credit score?
400 is a low credit score. When looking at the credit rating banding scores across the three main credit rating agencies, none of them have 400 in their ‘good’ category. The main credit reference agencies in the UK are Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. In the table below, we’ve shown where 400 ranks for each:
Credit reference agency
A 400 credit score with them is
Their credit score scale
Will I be eligible for a credit card or a loan with a 400 credit score?
You could be eligible for a credit card or a loan with a 400 credit score. However, because 400 is at the lower end of the credit-score scale, it can be harder for you to get accepted for credit. Because of your lower credit score, you should also anticipate higher interest rates, as well as a smaller credit limit and access to lower loan amounts.
There are specialist lenders who lend to people with bad credit, so for example, you can get loans and credit cards aimed at people with poor credit – just keep in mind you won’t be offered the most competitive rates.
Why do I have a 400 credit score?
Here are some of the reasons why you might not have the best credit score:
No or short credit history: If you’ve never borrowed money before or have only just started using credit, you wouldn’t have built up much of a credit history. Because you’re new to borrowing money, lenders don’t have much evidence to judge if you’re a responsible borrower.
History of missed payments: If you’ve consistently missed payments in the past, then that signals to lenders you’re not a reliable borrower and this will harm your credit rating.
Use too much of your credit limit: Your credit limit is the maximum amount you can borrow on your credit card. It’s best to keep your credit utilisation below 30%, - using 50% and over is considered high which can bring your credit score down. So, for example, if your credit limit is £1,000, you should try not to spend over £300 because that’s 30% of your credit limit.
Too many credit applications: It’s important to space out your credit applications because every time you apply for credit it leaves a mark on your credit file. Making too many credit applications in a short time suggests that you’re relying on credit too much and may be in financial trouble.
Past financial difficulties: If you’ve been declared bankrupt or have a CCJ, this can leave a mark on your credit report. Not only will this lower your credit score, it’ll make it incredibly hard to access credit in the future, too. Bankruptcy and a CCJ will come off your credit report after six years, but you should aim to resolve your debts before then to minimise the impact on your credit score.
How can I improve my 400 credit score?
The good news is that if you don’t have the best credit score, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Here are some ways you can improve your credit score:
Register on the electoral roll: Being registered on the electoral roll verifies your address to the lenders and can help boost your credit rating.
Make payments on time: Keeping up with payments shows lenders you’re a reliable borrower who they can trust with money. Setting up a direct debit can ensure you don’t miss payments (as long as you have enough money in your account) and can help create a strong credit history.
Keep credit utilisation low: Just because it’s there, it doesn’t mean you have to use all of it. Keep your credit limit below 30%. By not using all your credit available, you’re showing lenders you’re not too dependent on credit and hopefully this makes it easier for you to keep up with your credit card bills.
Check for any errors: Mistakes on your credit report could be lowering your credit score. Check your credit report for any inaccurate information to make sure your credit rating is an accurate representation of your financial history.
How long will it take for my 400 credit score to improve?
A better credit score won’t happen overnight, so it won’t be an instant change. Think of improving your credit score as a long-term commitment that could take anything from six months to a few years. The key to building your credit score is maintaining a history of on-time payments, which will take a while to establish.
Will my credit score fall if I regularly check it?
No, checking your credit score regularly won’t affect your credit rating. If you check your credit score with Credit Monitor, this won’t leave a mark on your credit report. That’s because we use a ‘soft search’, which won’t be visible to lenders and doesn’t harm your credit rating.
What is the highest credit score possible?
The highest credit score possible will depend on the credit rating agency you check your score with.
With Equifax the best credit score will be 1000 and Experian it is 999. Our Credit Monitor service uses TransUnion’s scoring system, so the highest credit score is 710.
Can I get a mortgage with a 400 credit score?
It is possible to get a mortgage with bad credit, however your options will be more limited in comparison to someone with a better credit score.
If you apply for a mortgage while your credit rating isn’t the best, you’ll likely have to put down a larger deposit and pay higher interest rates. You also probably won’t be accepted by high street lenders, as you’ll be seen as a higher risk to lend to. However, there are specialist mortgage lenders for people with bad credit, which may be willing to lend to you.
Other useful guides
If you want to understand more about credit scores, then you’re in the right place. Check out our other guides about credit:
Nurture your credit score with our Credit Monitor service
A poor credit score doesn’t have to be your permanent credit score. You can check your credit score and credit report whenever you want with our free Credit Monitor service. Credit Monitor will also send you hints and tips on how to get your credit score into shape.