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When it comes to VA loans, the Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t have a set minimum credit score requirement. However, most private VA lenders do have their own credit score requirements, which will vary depending on the individual lender.

VA Loan Credit Requirements Compared to Other Home Loans

The relaxed credit requirements are one of many factors that make VA loans favorable to potential borrowers compared to other types of home loans, such as conventional, FHA and USDA loans. The following table provides an overview of the standard credit requirements for each loan type:

Loan Type Minimum FICO Credit Score Minimum Set By... Required Down Payment (% of Purchase Price)
Conventional 620-680 Private lenders 3%-20%
FHA 500-580 FHA 3.5%-10%
USDA No set requirement Private lenders 0%
VA No set requirement Private lenders 0%

Why are credit score requirements for VA loans less strict?

Since VA loans are government-backed, there is greater protection for private VA lenders, making them more able and willing to approve borrowers with lower credit scores. The VA does not issue loans directly, but does partially guarantee loans for borrowers who meet the standard qualifications to be deemed eligible for a VA home loan. This guarantee helps mitigate the lender's risk and encourages them to offer loans to individuals who may not meet the strict credit requirements of other loan types.

What is the minimum credit score for a VA loan?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not set a minimum credit score requirement to qualify for a VA loan. However, most VA lenders will require at least a 620 FICO credit score to finance the mortgage.

2024 VA Loan Credit Score Requirements for Top Lenders

As previously mentioned, the minimum credit score required for a VA loan will vary by lender. Here are some examples of what credit scores some of the top VA lenders are looking for in 2024:

  • Veterans United Home Loans: 620 minimum credit score
  • Navy Federal Credit Union: 620 minimum credit score
  • USAA: 620 minimum credit score
  • Fairway Independent Mortgage: 600 minimum credit score
  • Rocket Mortgage: 640 minimum credit score
  • DHI Mortgage: 620 minimum credit score
  • Movement Mortgage: 580 minimum credit score
  • Caliber Home Loans: 580 minimum credit score
  • Guaranteed Rate Inc: 620 minimum credit score

Learn More: Find & Compare the Nation’s Top 10 VA Lenders for 2024

Credit Score Ranges for VA Loans

While there isn’t a set minimum credit score requirement for VA loans, you may be curious to see how your individual credit score will hold up in the VA loan process. Check out the following chart to see how many borrowers like you successfully closed on their VA loans within each credit score range last year:

FICO Credit Score Range Number of VA Loans Closed in 2022
500-525 466
525-550 792
550-575 1,795
575-600 5,107
600-625 27,979
625-650 60,653
650-675 69,854
675-700 71,269
700-725 65,697
725-750 63,707
750-775 67,387
775-800 70,413
800-825 32,554

Note: Above values based on 2022 Ginnie Mae Loan Level Disclosure data

Keep in mind that a variety of factors aside from your credit score can come into play when VA lenders are evaluating you as a potential borrower, such as your debt-to-income ratio or if you have a co-signer or co-borrower. For more information that is specific to your unique financial situation, contact a VA-approved lender to confirm your eligibility for a VA loan. You can also calculate your own estimate of what home price range would fit your budget with a VA Loan Affordability Calculator.

How do I figure out my credit score for a VA loan?

Getting informed about your own credit score is an important initial step in the VA loan process. If you aren’t sure how to get started, there are plenty of easily-accessible resources to guide you in exploring your personal credit history. You can visit to learn more about credit and even request your free credit report today!

Keep in mind that the credit score you receive from a credit reporting site will sometimes differ from the score your mortgage lender will be evaluating. When lenders pull your credit report, they typically look at FICO credit scores that are specifically calculated for mortgage lending, while credit reporting sites often use credit scores generated by generic scoring models. This difference could have little to no impact on whether you qualify for a VA loan, but it’s still an important factor to consider when trying to evaluate your own credit score.

Can I get a VA home loan with bad credit?

If you’ve been asking yourself this question, you aren’t alone! Many potential borrowers are concerned about having bad credit or no credit when initially going into the VA loan process. According to a February 2023 Experian report, the national average FICO credit score is 714. Experian also notes that credit scores below 670 fall into the “fair” or “bad” groups. However, most VA lenders will typically look for a minimum FICO credit score of 620 to qualify for a VA loan.

Even if your credit score falls below this benchmark or you have little to no credit history, you shouldn’t give up on your goals of homeownership. There are a variety of steps you can take to establish or improve your credit and increase your chances of qualifying for a VA loan.

Learn More: How to Get a VA Home Loan with Bad Credit

How to Improve Your Credit Score for a VA Loan

If you have bad credit or a low credit score, there are strategies you can adopt to improve your creditworthiness and increase your chances of qualifying for a VA loan. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Improve fiscal habits: Establish responsible financial habits such as reducing debt and avoiding late payments or defaults.
  2. Make payments on time: Pay all your bills, including credit card bills, loans and utilities, on time to demonstrate reliability in meeting your financial obligations.
  3. Monitor credit utilization: Keep your credit card balances low relative to your credit limits. High credit utilization can negatively impact your credit score, so aim to use a low percentage of your available credit (under 30% is a generally accepted rule-of-thumb).
  4. Work with an experienced credit consultant: Consider seeking assistance from a credit consultant or financial advisor who can provide specific recommendations tailored to your current financial situation.

Benefits of a Good Credit Score for a VA Loan

Having a good credit score can significantly impact your VA loan experience aside from just helping you qualify. Borrowers with credit scores in the 720-740 range can often expect better rate terms, lower fees and more competitive interest rates when applying for a VA loan.

Borrowers with strong credit scores may also have access to loan programs with larger loan amounts and more flexible repayment options. Additionally, maintaining a solid credit history could potentially expedite the loan approval process, allowing applicants to gain faster access to funds for purchasing a home or refinancing an existing loan. These advantages could translate to significant savings over the life of your loan, making it worthwhile to work on improving your credit score before moving forward with your VA loan application.

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ICB Solutions is a division of Neighbors Bank, which is an affiliate of Mortgage Research Center, LLC dba Veterans United Home Loans.

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