I’m Glad My Credit Score Is 648 (Below Average)

I’m glad my credit score is below average.

I check my credit score twice a year using Discover Cards’ Fico Free Score benefit. It’s always out of curiosity, while I’m doing a regular checkup on all of my accounts.

I still have a credit card for the few occasions when it may be helpful to use it for booking reservations. Generally, though, I discourage people, including myself, from using credit cards.

My credit score, on average, has been 648 for the past year. That places me solidly in the below average range. A good score is 670 and above. I’m glad I’m not good.

 

My below average score means I’m likely to be turned down should I stumble and fall at the temptation of applying for new debt.

3 years ago, I applied for a Lowes credit card 4 months after starting the Dave Ramsey plan. My parents and I were trying to pay for some renovation for my parents’ house to make it livable again. I didn’t have the cash to help out, so I decided to bite the bullet and apply for credit.

The rejection due to my low score was bittersweet. On the one hand, I was glad I wasn’t going to get the debt. On the other hand, I didn’t know how I would pay for the renovations.

In the end, we did it the old fashioned way – we made do till I had the cash. The only reason I remember that almost-forgotten application for debt is because I kept a blog of my experiences at the time. If I had been approved for the debt, I’d unfortunately remember it all too well because I would still be paying on it to this day.

Here’s another story from my life. This year I bought myself a different car because I knew my 14-year old Honda wouldn’t last much longer (I was right). A good credit score  may have made it really tempting to take out a car note. However, a below average score means I would have gotten a car, but the terms would not be in my favor, so I was motivated to save up. It was a no-brainer. I had to invest in a sinking fund and pay cash for my car, which is what I did.

No credit check needed.

When you are determined to live without debt, credit score matters less. Look at what factors are used to determine credit score:

35%Payment History

  • 30%Amounts you owe
  • 15%Length of credit history
  • 10%New credit opened
  • 10%Types of credit

Substitute the word “debt” for credit and it looks like this

  • 35%Payment History
  • 30%Amounts you owe
  • 15%Length of debt history
  • 10%New debt opened
  • 10%Types of debt

Now go back with your mouse or pen and circle the words net worth. You don’t see them? Neither do I. Credit scores are really debt scores telling debt specialist how good you are at being in debt.

 

It helps lenders determine how much more debt they can put you in and still get paid back with a profit.

 

I’m glad my credit score is below average. It will rise over time anyway as my debt balances go down and my past delinquencies get old and fade away off my report. So, I don’t think about it often. I definitely don’t worry about it.

Instead, I hope that I always turn to my net worth statement, and not my credit report, for a true view of how I’m doing moneywise.

 

How important is your credit score to you? Why?