What is a Subprime Credit Score?

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Credit scores measure a person's likelihood of paying back a loan by analyzing their credit history. Credit scores, also known as Fair Isaac Company scores, or FICO, range from 300 to 850. A FICO score below 620 is considered "subprime."


A subprime credit score makes it difficult for a person to obtain lines of credit, such as loans and credit cards. Lenders tend to look for borrowers with "prime" credit scores--FICO scores of 620 or above.


FICO scores estimate the likelihood that a borrower will repay his debt. The scores factor in length of credit, dollar amount owed, payment history and number of credit lines, according to CBS News. Credit scores also factor in negative credit history, such as outstanding collection accounts, charge-offs, bankruptcies and late payments.



Although it is possible for people with subprime credit scores to obtain credit, it often comes at high costs and interest rates. People with subprime credit scores should focus on credit repair before attempting to gain access to credit.