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Delinquency Rates and FICO Scores

Written by Nickel - 10 Comments

This is kind of interesting… What follows is a list showing the overall likelihood that people in different FICO credit score ranges will end up becoming delinquent on a loan:

800+ = 1%
750-799 = 2%
700-749 = 5%
650-699 = 15%
600-649 = 31%
550-599 = 51%
500-549 = 71%
0-499 = 87%

Last I checked, we were in the 750-799 range and rising. Of course, these numbers reflect overall averages. If, for example, you’ve recently started playing 0% balance transfer games to turn a fast buck, your credit score may have taken a nosedive without your risk profile having substantially changed. But that won’t stop creditors from casting a wary eye in your direction. The good news is that you can manipulate your credit score relatively easily, so dips of this sort are really just temporary inconveniences.

As an aside, I’m curious as to what exactly you have to do to wind up with a credit score in the 0-499 range. Any thoughts?

[Source: Ultimate Guide to a Better Credit Score]

Published on March 9th, 2007
Modified on July 21st, 2014 - 10 Comments
Filed under: Credit Cards

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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10 Responses to “Delinquency Rates and FICO Scores”

  1. 1
    Blaine Moore Says:

    Bankruptcy springs to mind…

  2. 2
    Herb Says:

    Those numbers seem high. If those are true, it should be practically impossible to get any kind of unsecured loan if your score is below 650. And any kind of loan whatsoever if your under 600; if 1 out of 2 people are going to default on a loan, I can’t see how it’s worth even doing the paperwork…

  3. 3
    Tim Says:

    not true, remember the flip to the FICO is what interest and potential fees the banks can charge if you are in the lower score categories and the default.

  4. 4
    Clever Dude Says:

    What is the lowest score you can get? Can anyone ever get a perfect score?

  5. 5
    Tom Says:

    Worst score I’ve ever seen was a 480. Multiple unpaid collections, a court judgement, a dozen inquiries or so, and a couple dozen 90+ day lates. I feel like I’m forgetting something else too.

    Interestingly enough, bankruptcy doesn’t seem to hurt your FICO as bad as it might seem too. I’ve see people with bankruptcies and FICO’s over 700 in as little as 2 years after declaring. Not that they have an easy time getting a loan, but its doable.

  6. 6
    Brian Says:

    I am in auto sales and we see people all the time with sub 500 scores. I have seen a few 460s. Generally there is bankruptcy and foreclosures to get that low or no positive credit what so ever for years. Best case I have seen is 807.

  7. 7
    Matt Says:

    All I did was go to college, get sick (I’m not talking flu, I’m talking hospitalization for a week) during finals, and then be unable to find a job right away when they kicked me out and retroactively converted all my grants to loans. During most of my 20s my credit score was in the mid-400s, thanks to those facts and the collateral damage from the university’s collection agencies stealing money from my checking account. (The fact that all the money was illegally stolen from your checking account without your knowledge by crooked debt collectors doesn’t make the “passing bad checks” lines that come from trying to pay normal bills those months look any less menacing, for example.)

    Even now I still can’t get a credit card with a limit of more than $500 and I’m paying an obscene rate on my mortgage. But I’ve improved it quite a bit, and several of the worst items on my credit report are scheduled to fall off the back between now and 2Q-2008, so things are improving. With luck I’ll be able to complete the refinance to a fixed-rate mortgage before the government decides to monetize the national debt and drive interest rates back to 1970s levels.

  8. 8
    Rob Carlson Says:


    Delinquent is not the same as defaulted. Even if these people do go delinquent, they might still catch up at some point in time and eventually pay their entire balance, plus a ton of fees and penalties.

    I understand the credit rating to be an indication of how likely you are to miss a payment in the next 60 days, so naturally the score will vary pretty quickly to stay relevant.

  9. 9
    findqualitycreditcards.com Says:

    Excellent post Nickel. It reminds that I ned to check my credit score. It’s been years since I’ve last done that.

  10. 10
    Nick Says:

    Trust your spouse with the money… that is how I did end up with a score close to that. ;)

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