What Is the Average Credit Score?
Credit scores are on the rise for the fourth year in a row.
In 2021, the national average FICO credit score reached an all-time high of 714, according to the latest data from Experian, one of the three credit bureaus. That same year, the average VantageScore — a credit score developed by the three major credit reporting agencies — was 698.
Knowing the average credit score can give you a good sense of how your score stacks up to the rest of the country. The higher your credit score, the better your chances of staying in good financial standing and getting approved for credit accounts with lower interest rates and better terms.
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What is the average credit score by state?
In late 2021, the average FICO Score in the United States was 714.
However, the average score varies by state. For instance, Minnesota had the highest average credit score at 742, while Mississippi had the lowest at 681.
Here’s a state-by-state breakdown of credit scores in 2020 and 2021. How does your score match up to the average score in your state?
What is the average credit score by age?
Credit scores also tend to vary between age groups. In general, older Americans, such as members of the silent generation and baby boomers, have much higher credit scores than younger consumers.
Here’s how credit scores are broken down by age group:
|Age group||Average FICO credit score in 2020||Average FICO credit score in 2021|
|Silent generation (76+)||758||760|
|Baby boomers (57-75)||736||740|
|Generation X (41-56)||698||705|
|Generation Z (18-24)||674||679|
Source: Experian (2021)
What is the average credit score by year?
The average credit score is on the rise. In fact, the average score has risen 25 points in the last 10 years. Here’s a look at the average FICO credit score in the U.S. since 2005.
What is a credit score?
A credit score is a number that lenders use to evaluate your creditworthiness, or how likely you are to pay your bills on time. Lenders look at this number before deciding whether to approve you for a credit card, mortgage, loan or other form of credit. Your credit score is based on several aspects of your credit history.
Many factors can go into determining your score, including your debt, types of accounts, number of late payments and the age of your accounts. These factors are calculated and provided a score based on which scoring model is being used: FICO Score or VantageScore.
The difference between a FICO Score and VantageScore
There are two types of scoring models that are used by the credit bureaus: FICO Score and VantageScore. While they are similar, there are some noteworthy differences in how each model works to calculate your credit score.
FICO Scores range from 300 to 850. The average FICO Score of 714 is considered “good” by most lenders. Here’s a breakdown of the FICO Score ranges and what they mean:
FICO Score credit bands
To calculate your FICO credit score, the activity on your credit report is assessed using details such as credit utilization and whether you pay your bills on time. Here’s a look at which factors are taken into account and how much they matter when it comes to determining your FICO score:
- Payment history: 35%
- Debts owed: 30%
- Length of your credit history: 15%
- New credit: 10%
- Types of credit used: 10%
Like the FICO Score, the VantageScore ranges from 300 to 850. The average VantageScore of 698 can be considered “fair.” Here’s a breakdown of the VantageScore ranges and what they mean:
VantageScore credit bands
Your VantageScore is calculated using some similar methods and factors as your FICO Score, though there are some differences in how details are calculated and weighed. There are two types of VantageScores: VantageScore 3.0 and VantageScore 4.0.
VantageScore 3.0 is the most widely used of the two categories. Here is how it is determined:
- Payment history: 40%
- Length of credit history: 21%
- Credit utilization: 20%
- Debts owed: 11%
- New credit: 5%
- Available credit: 3%
Since VantageScore 4.0 is a newer model, it’s not as commonly known as VantageScore 3.0. Here’s how VantageScore 4.0 can be broken down:
- Payment history: 41%
- Length of credit history: 20%
- Credit utilization: 20%
- New credit: 11%
- Debts owed: 6%
- Available credit: 2%
Why credit scores matter
Credit scores are not only used by lenders but also by some landlords when deciding whether to rent you an apartment. A bad credit score can affect your life in more ways than most people realize, including making it harder to qualify for credit, receiving higher interest rates and even being rejected for employment or housing. Conversely, a strong credit score can greatly increase your financial options and potentially save you money on your credit accounts.
Knowing your score and understanding your credit report can help you identify ways to improve your creditworthiness. You can check your credit score for free by signing up for LendingTree. You can also visit www.AnnualCreditReport.com to receive a free copy of your full credit report from all three credit bureaus.
How to improve your credit score
Since your credit score can determine your ability to get approved for a loan, credit card or even a lease agreement, it’s important to keep your credit score in good standing.
If your credit score could use some work, here are a few ways you can work to improve it.
Check your credit score regularly: Keeping an eye on your credit score can play a big part in improving your financial health. Understanding your score and how it stacks up to other consumers’ scores can help you see how well you’re doing managing debt. If you want to keep your financial options open, check your credit score regularly.
Evaluate your credit report for errors: Your credit score is based on the activity on your credit report. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for errors to show up on your credit report. Checking your credit report for mistakes or fraudulent activity can help improve your score, as those details could be holding your score back. If you find a mistake on your credit report, you can dispute the error.
Make extra payments on your current debts: Your credit utilization ratio — or the percentage of your available credit you’re utilizing — can demonstrate how you manage your credit. This ratio makes up 30% of your FICO Score. The lower your credit utilization is, the better it looks to lenders. Ideally, you’ll want to keep your credit utilization ratio below 30%.
Pay your bills on time: Your payment history makes up 35% of your FICO Score and about 40% of your VantageScore. Lenders want to know that they’ll get their money back if they provide you with a loan, and your payment history (which includes whether you pay your bills on time and in full) can be a good indicator of that.
Frequently asked questions
The highest credit score you can earn is 850, while the lowest score is 300. While it is challenging to achieve this perfect credit score, 1.2% of FICO Scores sit at 850, so it’s not an impossible goal.
Consumers in their twenties can be split into two generations: millennials and Generation Z. Millennials (25- to 40-year-olds) and Generation Z (18- to 24-year-olds) have an average credit score of 686 and 679, respectively.
Credit scores are calculated based on the following factors:
- Payment history
- Length of credit history
- Credit utilization
- New credit
- Debts owed
- Available credit
To boost your credit score, pay your bills on time and in full, keep your credit utilization low and be cautious about how often you take on new credit.