The simple answer is “no.” FICO credit scores range from 300-850, so the lowest theoretically possible score is actually 300. However, in the 15 years of reading credit reports I have never seen one in the 300’s. To get that low you’d have to do virtually everything wrong, and have no positive credit history whatsoever. For example, if you had accumulated nearly $500,000.00 in debt due to a string of bad investments, experienced a foreclosure, gone on a debt management plan, and ultimately filed bankruptcy your credit score would likely still be in 400’s or even the 500’s. What you need to know is that once you get down near 600 you’re pretty much screwed anyway when it comes to securing any major credit.
Total obliteration of your credit score is impossibility because credit scores are fluid, based on five moving targets. These factors are your payment history, amounts owed relative to your available credit, length of your credit history, number of accounts, and types of credit used. In order to achieve a lowly 300, you’d have to bottom out in all five categories at once. Interestingly, while you can’t actually reach zero (or even 300, for all practical purposes), you can fail to qualify for a credit score. More specifically, FICO requires that you’ve had (and used) an account within the past six months in order to assign a score. This often comes into play for new immigrants who find themselves in a catch 22 position – you can’t begin a credit history because you have no credit history. We’ve had success helping our immigration clients navigate such circumstances.
Finally, you should actively monitor your credit scores – make it fun. The internet is rife with credit score monitoring programs and apps. AnnualCreditReport.com website has been around for while for you to be able to request your credit report for free every 12 months. They are pretty cumbersome though. More recently user-friendly sites such as Credit Karma are all around you – they’re easy to navigate and monitor and also give you updates. Find a free one – no need to pay in the modern internet world. The business model is to advertise new credit offers to you while you monitor your credit on their sites.
So be careful, but have fun with it. Credit scores move and you should move with it.
If you have any questions about credit scores or credit in general, contact our office on 718-539-1100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.