A line of credit is a financial instrument that a homeowner can use to his or her advantage to pay down excess debt, remodel a home, or use for other purposes.Essentially, an equity line of credit is a lot like an equity loan. In both cases, the homeowner is leveraging the equity in his or her home as collateral for a cash loan. However, there is a difference. As compared to a home equity loan (a.k.a., a second mortgage), with a home equity line of credit:a. you usually pay a variable interest rate on your loan principal (as opposed to a fixed rate)b. you borrow what you need, when you need it (as opposed to a lump sum)Of course, if you have a low FICO score – say one under 600 – you may have trouble qualifying for a line of credit.If you are looking for an equity line of credit with a bad credit score, here are 5 tips for qualifying:1. Banks are looking for low-risk borrowers:Put yourself in the shoes of your bank for a moment. They are going to want to make a loan to somebody who is likely to pay the money back, but they also want to make as much as possible in the form of interest from the loan. So the real question is: how does the bank you are applying to determine risk?2. Your credit score is what matters to most banks:The majority of banks estimate their risk of extending you an equity line of credit by looking at just one thing: your credit score. Translation: if you have a bad credit score, you are essentially out of luck with these banks. To improve your chances of qualifying for such a line of credit, you will need to find a “bad credit” lender.3. Applying for a lower credit line limit will be easier to qualify for:You stand to improve your chances of loan acceptance even further by reducing the size of the credit line limit (the maximum amount you can borrow).4. Determine how much you can borrow:So, figure out the lowest-possible a mount you can borrow while still being able to accomplish the goals you have set for yourself with the money you will be borrowing.5. Apply to at least 5 “bad credit equity line of credit banks”:Finally, be sure to apply to at least 5 banks or other lenders who advertise themselves as “bad credit equity line of credit” lenders. Follow through with applying to every bank or lender on your list in order to get the best rate.Follow these 5 tips as you apply for an equity line of credit, even with a bad credit score.