According to FinAid, adverse credit is defined as having any debt paid over 90 days late, or having a Title IV debt within the past five years that has been subjected to default, foreclosure, bankruptcy discharge, repossession, tax lien, write-off or wage garnishment. While this designation does not otherwise involve the credit score, it does have an effect on a person's ability to get a loan or other financing.

According to FreeScore, fixing an adverse credit history is an uphill but achievable climb. Using a combination of patience and solid money management, it is possible to restore adverse credit by using credit cards and loans specifically designed for people with poor credit. Although these types of credit cards have high interest rates and fees, they are instrumental in repairing poor credit. An adverse credit designation can also be repaired by paying bills on time, paying down the balance on credit cards and consolidating debt so that payments are more manageable. Credit scores range from 300 to over 720, with any score below 500 considered very bad, 500 to 619 considered bad to poor, 620 to 679 considered okay, 680 to 720 considered good, and any number over 720 considered an excellent credit score.