At a Glance
A low credit score of 342 can indicate to the lenders that you’ve faced difficulties related to your credit payments in the past or that you are just starting your credit journey. Due to this, you might face difficulties getting a credit card or loan approval without incurring high-interest rates until you have the chance to build your credit.
Anyone with a basic idea of how credit score works will know that a credit score of 342 falls in the lowest bucket. A low credit score of 342 indicates that you have had past problems with your credit payments, including bankruptcy or maybe having your home foreclosed. Applicants with this score may require to shell out extra money or put deposits on their cards.
Getting approved for an unsecured credit card will also be difficult, as it doesn’t require collateral or a security deposit. Many lenders will refuse to do business with borrowers whose credit score falls in the ‘very poor’ range, which translates to unfavorable credit.
Now that we have explained what can happen when your credit score dips low, let’s dig deeper.
Is 342 Credit Score Good or Bad?
Unfortunately, a credit score of 342 is a bad credit score. FICO and VantageScore (the companies that produce the leading credit scoring models) have placed 342 in the low credit score range.
What Impacts your 342 Credit Score?
While there can be a number of factors affecting your credit score, it is crucial to identify the factors that impact your credit score to 342 and tackle them head-on. Some factors affecting your credit score are:
- Public information
- Credit Utilization Ratio
- Late or missed payments
- Length of credit history
- Total debt and credit mix
- Recent credit activity on your account
If your credit report reflects bankruptcies or other similar public records, your credit score can take a massive hit. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will remain in your credit file for up to 10 years, and a Chapter 13 will stay for seven years. Even though your credit score may increase before the bankruptcy report disappears from your record, there is a high possibility that lenders might refuse to work with you because of bankruptcy billing.
Credit Utilization Ratio:
To calculate the Credit Utilization Ratio on a Credit Card, you must divide the outstanding balance by the card’s borrowing limit and multiply by 100 to get the percentage. To calculate the overall utilization ratio, calculate the balances on all your Credit Cards and divide by the sum of borrowing limits. Keeping your utilization below 30% of your available credit is usually recommended.
Late or Missed payments:
Your credit score will significantly hit if you miss your credit card payment. So if you see that your credit score has fallen to 342, you should look into how many late or missed payments have happened from your end. Paying your bills consistently is the most critical thing to do to improve your credit score from 342, as it accounts for 35% of your FICO score.
Length of Credit History:
Along with other things, the length of your credit history is also a detriment to your credit score. The number of years you have been a credit user can influence up to 15% of your FICO score. NTC (New to Credit) users must be patient and careful to avoid bad credit behaviors.
Total Debt and Credit mix:
The FICO credit usually favors users with multiple credit accounts and revolving and installment credit. If you have only one kind of credit account and your credit score is 342, it might help if you broaden your credit portfolio. Remember that credit mix and total debt make up 10% of your FICO score.
Recent Credit activity:
If you are someone who keeps applying for new loans and credit cards, your credit score might take a hit. Some companies trigger a check known as a hard inquiry when you apply for loans or credit cards. What happens during the hard inquiry is that the lender obtains your credit score to determine if you can get the credit line or not. Hard inquiries might drop your credit score by a few points, but it rebounds within a few months if you keep up with your Credit Card bills. New credit activity can account for up to 10% of your FICO scores.
What does a Credit Score of 342 mean for your Life and Finances?
Once you hit the ‘very poor’ bucket of credit score, you will face many difficulties, including qualifying for home and personal loans. Even if you get loans, here’s what your life will look like with a credit score of 342:
- You will pay higher interest rates and loan fee
- You might face issues getting a job, apartment, and other essentials like insurance, utilities, cable, cell phone connections
Can you get a Credit Card with a 342 Credit Score?
Yes, you can get the Azpire Credit Builder Card to build your credit score from 342. While it is usually difficult to get a credit card with a low credit score of 342, it does not translate to financial suicide. The Zolve Azpire Card, a secured credit card, is available to all, even if you fall under NTC (New to Credit). One of the best ways to rebuild your credit score is to apply for this secured credit card.
How to Improve your 342 Credit Score?
Changing your poor credit score from 342 to a fair (580-669) to a good one (670-739) is gradual. There is no shortcut to increasing your credit score from 342 to 700, and you should avoid any business or consultants that say otherwise. But you can do things to improve your 342 credit score to reach the fair or good bucket. Some of the steps you can take to improve your credit score are:
- Paying your bills on time
- Avoiding high credit utilization
- Debt management plan
- Credit builder loan
- Use a secured credit card
- Establish a credit mix
Paying your bills on time:
The holy grail of improving your credit score is to pay your bills on time. If your credit score is 342 and you are looking for ways to increase your credit score, this is the way to go.
Avoid high credit utilization rate:
No matter how many accounts you have, try keeping your credit utilization to 30% to avoid lowering your credit score.
Debt management plan:
If you are facing challenges while paying your credit card bills, a debt management plan can come in handy. You need to work with a non-profit credit-counseling agency to work out a manageable repayment schedule. Remember, opting for a debt management plan will close all your credit card accounts, severely lowering your credit score. But that can be regained with good credit behavior. But, if this sounds too extreme for you, you can always consult a credit counselor to improve your 342 credit score.
Credit builder loan:
Multiple credit unions offer these small loans designed to help NTC users build their credit. These loans help you build credit if you maintain the stipulated payment behavior.
Apply for a secured credit card:
This usually comes with a small credit limit, often only a few hundred thousand dollars, and you have to put down a deposit in the total amount of that limit. As you use this card and make regular, timely payments, the lender reports those activities to the national credit bureaus. Your credit behavior is recorded in your credit files and reflected in your FICO score.
Look no further if you want to improve your 342 credit score by applying for a secured credit card.
Folks, meet the
Zolve Azpire Card
What is it?The Zolve Azpire card helps you build credit using your own money. It is a credit builder card that helps you start building your credit score from the first transaction. It is available to all, even if your credit score is as low as 342.
But that’s not all. The Zolve Azpire card comes with zero subscription fee, no interest charges, no SSN, and earns up to 15% cashback.
When you swipe your card, we see that purchase and auto-pay by deducting the money you had moved. By the month's end, we add up all the transactions for the month and report them to the bureaus so that your credit score gets built for a better financial future.
Establish a credit mix:
The FICO scoring model favors users with multiple credit accounts, along with a mix of different types of loans, including installment loans like mortgages, car, and home equity loans.
It is a matter of worry for anyone who sees their credit score has hit 342. While your credit life with a score of 342 might become a little difficult until your credit score increases to an acceptable level, all hope is not lost. If you plan on improving your 342 credit score, you have to start somewhere. Increasing your credit score to the fair range (580-669) could help you access increased credit options, loans, reduced fees, and terms, along with lower interest rates.