At a Glance
Unfortunately, a 542 credit score is low. It is classified as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ by the majority of credit scoring companies. With a credit score of 542, it will be almost impossible to get a mortgage, car loan, or an unsecured credit card.
A credit score of 542 signals past financial difficulties or a lack of credit. Credit 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 so low, let’s dig deeper.
Is 542 Credit Score Good or Bad?
Unfortunately, a credit score of 542 is a bad credit score. FICO and Vantage, the two primary companies responsible for the credit score model, have placed the 542 credit score in the low credit score range.
What Impacts your 542 Credit Score?
So, first things first. Yes, we know that a credit score of 542 might be disheartening to see on your credit report. Therefore, knowing and identifying the factors affecting your credit score is important. 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
In the past, if you have declared bankruptcy, 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 7 years. While there is a chance that 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:
This is one of the crucial factors you must consider to improve your credit score from 542. If you are wondering how 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 it by the sum of borrowing limits. Keeping your utilization below 30% of your available credit is usually recommended.
Late or Missed payments:
This is perhaps the biggest deciding factor in increasing or decreasing your credit score. Before you start on the journey of improving your 542 credit score, look into your credit history and see how many late or missed payments have happened in the past.
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 destructive 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 542, 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 542 mean for your Life and Finances?
Needless to say, if you fall in the poor bucket of credit score ranking, it will become more difficult for you to access credit cards, home loans, personal loans, auto loans, and such. You might also find it difficult to get mobile connections, insurance, and rent, as there are a lot of checks done in the US on your credit history.
Here’s what your life will look like with a credit score of 542:
- 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 542 Credit Score?
Yes, you can get the Azpire Credit Builder Card to build your credit score from 542. The Zolve Azpire Credit Builder card is made available to all, even people who have a credit score as low as 542 or who are 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 542 Credit Score?
Changing your poor credit score from 542 to a fair (580-669) to a good one (670-739) might be a long-drawn process, but you have to do it for your financial well-being. While there are no shortcuts to increasing your score from 542 to 700, you can take certain steps to help you gradually increase your score. Some of the steps you can take to improve your 542 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 542 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 to improve your 542 credit score. 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.
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 542 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 542.
We record every swipe of your Zolve Azpire card, and by the month’s end, we add up all the transactions for the month and report it 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.
Yes, a credit score of 542 comes with many worries, but it doesn’t signal the end of your financial growth. When applying for loans and credit cards, you will face rejection, so be prepared for it. Things will get a little difficult before it becomes better. But, if you plan on improving your 542 credit score, you must 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.