VA Loan Guide: Eligibility, Benefits, Best Lenders and How to Apply
How Does LendingTree Get Paid?
LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

What Is the Minimum VA Loan Credit Score?

lt-leaf-logo Why use LendingTree?
We are committed to providing accurate content that helps you make informed money decisions. Our partners have not commissioned or endorsed this content. Read our

Editorial Guidelines

At LendingTree, we are committed to providing accurate and actionable content that helps you make informed decisions about your money. Our team of writers and editors follows these key guidelines:
  • We thoroughly fact-check and review all content for accuracy. We aim to make corrections on any errors as soon as we are aware of them.
  • Our partners do not commission or endorse our content.
  • Our partners do not pay us to feature any specific product in our content, but we do feature some products and offers from companies that provide compensation to LendingTree. This may impact how and where offers appear on the site (such as the order).
  • We review and interview both external and internal reputable sources for our content and disclose sourcing in our content.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t set a specific VA loan credit score requirement. Lenders, however, can set their own minimum requirements for a VA loan. Most require a score of at least 620, but some go as low as 500.

What VA loan credit score do you need?

While the VA doesn’t set a minimum credit score for a VA loan, many lenders won’t accept a score below 620. So can you buy a house with a 600 credit score, or even a 500? The answer is likely yes. If you have damaged credit, make sure to shop around — low credit mortgage lenders do exist who will give loans to veterans with bad credit scores. VA loans can be accessible to those with scores in the 500s and low 600s.

However, as with any type of mortgage loan, the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate offers will be.

What is the minimum credit score to buy a house?

Loan typeMinimum credit scoreFICO® credit score ratingWho sets the minimum?
VA500PoorThe lender
FHA500 (with a 10% down payment)Poorthe U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
USDA580FairThe lender
Conventional (conforming)620FairFannie Mae and Freddie Mac

VA loans are a great option for veterans with low credit scores. Compared to other loan types, VA loans have the lowest minimum credit score requirement and, unlike FHA loans, don’t ask for a bigger down payment if you have low credit.

Can you get a VA loan with no credit?

If you have no credit history, don’t worry — you can use alternative methods of showing a VA loan lender that you have a history of repaying your debts and making on-time payments. Many bills you may have paid regularly for years — such as rent, utilities or a cell phone bill — can be used just like a standard line of credit to show a lender that you’re responsible and motivated to pay your debts. Sometimes called “alternative tradelines,” these bills and the financial relationships they represent can usually help you qualify for a VA loan if they’re at least a year old.

loading image

What are the VA loan credit requirements?

In addition to meeting your lender’s VA loan credit score requirement, your ability to handle other credit and debt obligations in the past 24 months will be scrutinized. This includes:

Rental and mortgage history If you’ve paid your rent or mortgage on time over the last two years, VA lenders feel more confident that you’ll pay a new mortgage on time.

Last 90 days of credit activity Lenders analyze your payment history, unpaid balances and monthly payments to see how well you manage debt, such as credit cards, student loans and car loans.

Employment and residency history Recently discharged veterans should provide information about any deployments and military job experience if they have less than a two-year job or address history.

Federal debt Government-approved lenders run your information through CAIVRS (Credit Alert Verification Reporting System) to verify that you have no delinquent federal debts, such as student loans or previous VA loans.

History of foreclosure or bankruptcy VA guidelines allow you to take out a VA loan within two years of a foreclosure or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. That’s less than the three to seven years you’d have to wait to get a new conventional or FHA loan.

Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio There is no hard-and-fast rule about how much debt you can carry and still qualify for a VA loan. However, if your DTI ratio is above 41%, your underwriter will have to look into the reasons why and evaluate whether you can afford the loan.

Comparison shop no matter your credit score

Shop around and meet with at least three to five lenders before you decide on a loan. Whether you have a stellar or bad credit score, shopping with multiple lenders allows you to compare offers and loan terms side by side — a process that can save you thousands in the long run. Now is the time to ensure you’re getting a competitive rate with the lowest VA closing costs.

How to improve your credit score for a VA loan

You may be able to get a VA home loan with bad credit, but you’ll pay a higher interest rate and may end up with a higher monthly mortgage payment. A credit score of 740 or higher will earn you the most competitive interest rate offers.

Here are five simple steps you can take to pump up your credit score and snag a lower VA interest rate:

Get VA Loan Offers for Free