Why a 666 Credit Score Is Scary
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Halloween is steeped in occult and superstition. According to one survey, over 40% of Americans claim they are superstitious. More specifically, 15% are superstitious about the number 666 — the number ascribed to Roman emperor Nero and other ancient nasties.
Well, we have bad news for a few of them: Nearly half a percent of borrowers have a 666 credit score, and they’re paying much more to borrow than those with even slightly higher scores. According to an anonymized sample of My LendingTree users, those with a 666 credit score will pay higher interest rates than the average consumer for personal loans, mortgages, auto loans and revolving credit on credit cards.
The good news: Increasing a 666 credit score by a little will result in much more favorable terms for many loans, as well as a higher chance of being approved for credit cards with features such as rewards and introductory balance transfer offers.
- One in every 250 Americans has a credit score of 666, according to anonymized data from My LendingTree. The city with the highest percentage of consumers with a 666 score is Oklahoma City, where 0.71% of consumers sport this score. At the other end of the spectrum, only 0.1% of consumers in Buffalo, N.Y., have a credit score of 666.
- Consumers with a 666 credit score carry higher balances than average for all types of debt. They carry an average balance of $10,298 on their credit cards — 59% more than the average borrower signed up for My LendingTree.
- Increasing a 666 credit score even slightly can result in much more favorable borrowing rates. The difference is most stark among personal loans: Increasing a 666 credit score by 20 points reduces the average personal loan APR from 17.08% to 11.12%. Auto loan rates fall from 8.36% to 6.61%.
- Rates for other loan products improve with slightly higher scores as well. Plus, a higher credit score will have a greater likelihood of being approved for a balance transfer or rewards credit card, many of which require a good credit score (often considered to be 670 or higher).
Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia may be frightening, especially when borrowing
A 666 credit score is usually considered a fair credit score. It is lower than the average credit score of 704 (as measured by FICO) and 675 (as measured by VantageScore).
As a consequence, borrowers with that credit score (or similar) are usually borrowing at higher interest rates than those with good credit scores. For example, the average APR for a personal loan for someone with a 666 credit score is 17.08%, nearly six percentage points higher than someone with a credit score of 690. As for auto loans, a 666 score means an average APR of 8.36%.
Those with hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia — or fear of the number 666 — have much to think about.
666, the mark of higher balances
The amount a borrower owes is a major determinant of one’s credit score, second only to making on-time payments. So, it isn’t surprising that borrowers signed up for My LendingTree with a 666 score have higher balances than the overall population for all types of debt.
In particular, their credit card balances are much higher. Their average balance of $10,298 exceeds the average credit card balance of $6,479, based on an anonymized sample taken in October 2019. They also have higher balances on auto, student and personal loans.
Where the 666 scores walk among us
If you’re in Oklahoma City, you’re 75% more likely to run into someone with a 666 credit score than in other major American cities. In Oklahoma City, 0.71% of residents have this score, compared to the average of 0.4% in other cities. And if the idea of running into someone with a 666 score really spooks you, consider Buffalo, where only 0.1% of residents have that score.
Find help for improving your credit or pay down debt
Feeling spooked by debt and confounded by how to improve creditworthiness is an all-too-common experience. Knowing it’s important isn’t the same as knowing what to do about it, but there is information and resources to help light the way.
Using an anonymized sample of over 1 million My LendingTree users from their October 2019 credit reports, researchers calculated the percentage of users in the 50 largest U.S. metros with a 666 credit score and compared their average debt levels to the national average for credit cards and auto, student and personal loans.
My LendingTree is a free credit monitoring service available to everyone, regardless of their debt histories, or whether they’ve used LendingTree platforms to pursue loans. It currently has over 12 million active users.