Credit scores are a prerequisite for a number of financial processes, from loans and car finance to mortgages and tenancy agreements. In short, they show how well you have managed credit in the past, giving companies an indication of how trustworthy you are to keep up with payments on their products or services.

If your credit score is good, very good or exceptional, that will probably be the last you hear about it. But what if your credit score is bad or poor? These slightly vague terms may lead to more challenges with getting the loan, finance or even accommodation you need.

So, what do they actually mean? And is there a difference between bad and poor credit?

Defining bad and poor credit

Credit scores are a numerical representation of your credit history, taking into account various factors like paying your bills on time, carrying balances over on your credit card and even the number of credit checks on your record. The result is a three-digit number which is ranked from very poor or poor to excellent or exceptional, depending on the system.

Two of the most popular systems, VantageScore and FICO Score both use a scale of 350 to 800. With FICO score, 300-570 is poor while 580-669 is fair. Using VantageScore, 300-499 is very poor, 500-600 is poor and 601-660 is fair.

With both systems, from fair downwards is classed as a ‘bad’ credit score, which is why you might hear this broad term used. In short, it refers to anything below a good score, which is a cut off point for some lenders. Within this, there are sub-categories of bad credit like fair, poor and very poor credit, which refer to more specific ranges.

The other meaning of bad credit

The use of the term ‘bad credit score’ admittedly causes some confusion, because bad credit also has another similar meaning. Bad credit refers to a history of managing credit poorly.

If someone has continuously paid bills late, missed payments or built-up debt on their credit card, they will be said to have bad credit. The same is true for companies, who can have bad credit if they have a history of debt and late payments.

How will bad and poor credit affect applications?

The difference between a bad credit score and a poor credit score will matter most when you’re applying for any form of credit. As mentioned, some lenders will draw the line at bad credit, refusing to lend to anyone whose credit history isn’t good or above.

Others will happily lend to those with a ‘bad’ credit score as long as it is still rated as ‘fair’. Thankfully, there are also plenty of lenders who will still offer their services to people with a poor credit score. That means you can get car finance with a poor credit history, as well as other services such as loans or tenancy agreements.

Moving on from poor credit

At My Car Credit, we understand that poor credit doesn’t always mean you’re a bad applicant. A bad or poor credit score can be down to a number of factors, all of which can be changed over time. That’s why we aim to make buying a car with poor credit easier.

With a network of 27 trusted lenders, we’re committed to finding a fair deal for all customers, whatever their credit history. To find out more, contact us today on

Rates from 9.9% APR. Representative APR 12.4%

Evolution Funding Ltd T/A My Car Credit

My Credit Rating


  • You are a home owner
  • You have been on the electoral role for a long period of time
  • You have current credit arrangements and mortgage with no defaults
  • You have no CCJs, credit arrears or missed payments
  • You rarely apply for credit
  • You are employed or self-employed


  • You are on the electoral role
  • You are a home owner or long standing tenant
  • You have a stable employment history
  • You have current credit arrangements with occasional missed payments
  • You have no CCJs


  • You are or have recently been on the electoral role
  • You may have recently changed address
  • You may have occasional missed payments
  • You may have an old CCJ
  • You may have regularly applied for credit


  • You may have had frequent changes in address
  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • You may have exceeded credit card limits
  • You may have missed payments on current agreements
  • You may have had a CCJ in the past


  • You may not be traceable on the voters roll
  • Your credit cards are over their limits
  • You have recent CCJs
  • You may have been refused credit elsewhere
  • You may be in a debt management plan

X monthly repayments of

Typical rate

Loan amount

Total payable




*for illustration purposes only

No impact on your credit score*

Representative Example

Borrowing £7,500 at a representative APR of 12.4%, annual interest rate (fixed) 12.36%, 47 monthly payments of £196.44 followed by 1 payment of £206.44 (incl. estimated £10 option to purchase fee), a deposit of £0.00, total cost of credit is £1,939.12, total amount payable is £9,439.12.

Evolution Funding Limited, trading as My Car Credit, is a credit broker and not a lender.

Please ensure you can afford the repayments for the duration of the loan before entering into a credit agreement.

*Initial application is a soft search. Should you progress, some lenders may perform a hard search on your credit file.

Require more help?

Got a question you can’t find the answer to, or need some advice and guidance around taking out car finance? Our Car Credit Specialists are friendly, experienced, and here to help so get in touch today!