USDA Loan Credit Score Requirements

Clipboard with words credit score and checkmarkThe USDA Loan is one of the most popular home loan options for those purchasing a house in rural areas. Specific credit requirements must be met to qualify for this type of loan.

Knowing these requirements can help potential buyers understand if they meet the criteria to apply for a USDA Loan and get them one step closer to buying their dream home. The USDA Loan is one of the most popular home loan options for those purchasing a house in rural areas.

Specific credit requirements must be met to qualify for this type of loan. Knowing these requirements can help potential buyers understand if they meet the criteria to apply for a USDA Loan and get them one step closer to buying their dream home.

Understanding USDA Credit Score Requirements

To qualify for a USDA home loan, borrowers must meet specific income and credit score requirements. USDA income limits vary by region and household size, and borrowers must have a credit score of at least 640 to be eligible for the loan program.

Understanding USDA credit score requirements is crucial for anyone considering a USDA loan. In addition to credit scores, USDA loans require borrowers to meet specific other needs, such as having a steady income and being able to make utility payments.

USDA loans are a type of rural development loan that can be used to purchase single-family housing in eligible rural areas. The USDA sets the requirements for these loans to ensure they are only available to those who genuinely need them.

By understanding USDA loan requirements, borrowers can better prepare themselves for the application process and increase their chances of approval.

Minimum Credit Score Needed for a USDA Loan

USDA-approved lenders determine the acceptable credit score; the USDA does not have a minimum requirement. To qualify for a loan, most lenders want a credit score 640, while other lenders may have more significant (or lower) requirements depending on the borrower's financial situation.

The USDA loan program aims to help families with low to medium incomes purchase a primary residence in an eligible rural or suburban area. Borrowers must have a consistent monthly payment of no more than 115% of the area's median income to qualify for a USDA loan.

Borrowers must also be able to afford the loan's monthly payments, which cover the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. Other USDA loan options are available, including the USDA single-family housing loan, a rural development loan intended to assist low- and moderate-income households in buying homes in certain regions.

Borrowers may boost their chances of getting accepted and profit from this loan program by satisfying the USDA loan's minimal credit score standards.

Common Credit Issues for USDA Loan Applicants

USDA loans are designed to help low to moderate-income families purchase a primary residence in an eligible rural or suburban area. However, many applicants encounter common credit issues that can impact their eligibility for USDA financing.

One common issue is a low credit score, making qualifying for a USDA loan challenging. Additionally, outstanding debts, bankruptcies, and foreclosures can negatively impact eligibility.

USDA loans have specific income limits; if a household's income exceeds those limits, they may not be eligible for USDA financing. Furthermore, the home must meet specific standards and requirements to qualify for USDA financing.

Several USDA loans are available, including home loans, home improvement loans, and guaranteed loans. By addressing these common credit issues and meeting the requirements for USDA financing, applicants can increase their chances of being eligible for USDA financing and taking advantage of the benefits of this loan program.

Credit History Requirements for a USDA Loan

When applying for a USDA loan, your credit history is an essential factor that will be considered. USDA loans are designed to help low to moderate-income families buy homes in rural or suburban areas. The home must be your primary residence to be eligible for USDA financing.

The information in your credit history will determine if you meet the credit score requirements for the various types of USDA loans, including the guaranteed loan program, home loans, and home improvement loans. A credit score of 640 or higher is generally required, but some lenders may allow a credit score as low as 580 with certain compensating factors. A good credit history and a low debt-to-income ratio can help improve your chances of qualifying for a USDA loan and obtaining a competitive interest rate.

Credit Requirements for USDA Direct Loans

The USDA Direct Loan is offered to creditworthy applicants who desire to purchase a home but do not make enough money to buy a home with a conventional, FHA, or VA loan. A credit score of 640 or higher moves the mortgage application through the system quickly.

The mortgage is manually underwritten if the credit score is less than 640. This Direct loan program is also known as the Section 502 Direct Loan Program.

The Direct loan helps low-income applicants obtain decent, safe, and sanitary housing in rural areas eligible for the program. It does this by providing payment assistance to applicants, which increases their ability to repay the loan.

A form of subsidy known as payment assistance lowers a borrower's monthly mortgage payment for a limited time. The amount of the aid is based on the family's income after adjustments.

The payment assistance is a discounted interest rate and a loan term of 33 years. However, a 38-year period is available for applicants with meager incomes who cannot afford the 33-year loan term.

Unlike the Guarantee Loan, the mortgage application is directly made to one of the USDA rural development offices.

Indicators of Unacceptable Credit for a Direct Mortgage

To qualify for a USDA loan, most applicants must fulfill minimal credit standards, including a satisfactory credit history. However, individuals who do not satisfy these conditions may still be eligible for a USDA loan if they produce other evidence of their creditworthiness. Here are some specific factors that may affect an applicant's creditworthiness for a USDA loan:

  • Court-ordered duties or court-issued judgments resulting from nonpayment that are now delinquent or have been outstanding for the previous twelve months unless otherwise specified.
  • Bankruptcy may be considered if a judgment was satisfied more than twelve months before the filing date, debts were discharged more than 36 months before the application date, or the applicant has completed a bankruptcy debt restructuring plan and proven a desire to fulfill obligations when due 12 months before the application date.
  • Home foreclosure during the previous three years.
  • USDA agency liabilities that have been or are being evaluated for debt settlement during the previous 36 months.
  • Federal tax liens or other tax debts that have not been satisfied.
  • Federal debt delinquency.
  • Little or no credit history, which may be mitigated if the applicant demonstrates a willingness to pay ongoing debt commitments through other acceptable methods.
  • Non-agency debt commitments that were wiped off during the last 36 months unless the obligation was paid in full at least 12 months ago.
  • Outstanding collection accounts with a history of inconsistent payments and no appropriate repayment agreements or collection accounts that were paid in full within the last six months unless the applicant has been making consistent payments.
  • Payments on any installment account when the delinquent amount exceeds one charge for more than 30 days in the previous 12 months.
  • Payments on any revolving account that were past due for more than 30 days on two or more instances over the previous 12 months.
  • Two or more rent or mortgage payments paid 30 days or more past due during the previous two years. This criterion may be waived if the program loan considerably decreases housing expenses and improves the borrower's repayment capacity.
  • Rural Development may find that the applicant was not at fault for the conditions that led to their poor credit score and that they have fixed the problem or intend to do so. However, each applicant will be evaluated based on their qualifications, and an applicant with an excellent credit history cannot compensate for a co-borrower's poor credit history. Ultimately, examining the applicant's credit history helps determine if they are able and willing to repay commitments.

Credit Requirements for USDA Guaranteed Loans

USDA-approved lenders provide the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program. The USDA allows lenders to supersede the basic USDA credit requirements. Consequently, most lenders prefer a credit score of at least 640.

This will enable lenders to submit loan applications through the Guaranteed Underwriting System (GUS). The Guaranteed Underwriting System analyzes the loan application, including the applicant's income and credit report. The automated underwriting system speeds up the mortgage process.

Credit scores less than 640 require manual underwriting. Manual underwriting is the traditional method of determining whether a loan application should be approved. The debt-to-income ratio falls to 29%/41%.

The PITI (principal, interest, taxes, insurance, and PMI) and total debt ratios of an applicant may be higher than 29 percent and 41 percent, respectively, if the lender finds that significant compensatory circumstances indicate that the household has more robust repayment capacities. With a credit score of 680 or greater, the debt-to-income ratio is expanded to 32%/44%. This means that the monthly mortgage payment is allowed to be 32% of the monthly gross income.

The mortgage payment (including property taxes, homeowners insurance, and the USDA's version of PMI) and monthly credit obligations can total 44% of the applicant's gross monthly income.

Non-Traditional Credit Sources for USDA Loans

Don't worry if you want to apply for a USDA loan but don't have a standard credit history—you can still be eligible. The USDA has developed provisions for non-traditional credit sources because it recognizes that not everyone has an average credit background.

You must be able to repay the loan to be eligible for USDA funding. This entails fulfilling specific credit criteria, which may be met by presenting proof of non-traditional credit sources like rental or utility bills.

You may still be eligible for a USDA loan if you reside in a suitable rural region and fulfill the income standards. USDA loans come in two flavors: direct and guaranteed.

Each loan option gives grants and loans to low-income families who are having trouble being accepted for a conventional house loan, albeit how they operate differs. Don't give up hope if you're concerned about your credit history since a USDA loan can be an option for you.


In conclusion, qualifying for a USDA loan is not difficult. An acceptable credit score, sufficient income, a debt-to-income ratio, and being in a suitable location are the only requirements to be approved for a USDA loan. This makes it a desirable option for those who do not have perfect credit or cannot put down a substantial down payment for a conventional loan. Additionally, USDA loans offer competitive interest rates and low monthly payments, making them affordable for most borrowers.

Credit Analysis Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program