Credit Score Statistics: How to Interpret - and Boost - Your FICO Score
If you want to know how Americans are doing financially, take a look at their credit scores. Many are doing great. Many others have a rocky relationship with credit cards. To tell who’s who, just take a look at credit score statistics.
Your credit score plays an enormous role in your daily life. It can determine the interest rate you pay for credit cards, car loans, and mortgages. It can make the difference between moving your family into the house you love and having your mortgage application rejected.
Some potential employers even check applicants’ credit details to get a better picture of how responsible they are. Your credit score range can affect whether you’ll score your dream job or keep waiting tables.
With all this competition for credit, houses, and even jobs, it’s important to understand your own situation and how it compares to the average credit score.
Credit Score Stats for 2024 - Editor’s Choice
- One in five Americans aged 20-29 don’t know their credit scores.
- More than 29.8% of Americans have a credit score of 680 or higher.
- 42.5% of America’s youth earning $49,999 or less per year have a credit score of 639 or lower, with only 24.6% reaching a score over 680.
- 51.2% of Americans renting property have no idea they can report rent and utility bill payments to improve their credit scores.
- Nearly one in two people don’t pay off their credit balances each month.
- Only 12% of the US population has a FICO score lower than 550.
- Americans owe more than $1.5 trillion in student debt.
Filling in the Credit Score Blanks
Like your Social Security number (SSN), your FICO score is one of those numbers you just need to know. Those three digits play a huge role in determining your eligibility for loans and the interest rates you pay.
The first thing you should know is that American credit score statistics are, more often than not, compiled by a company called FICO. FICO uses the information in your credit report to create a numerical representation of your creditworthiness.
There’s also VantageScore, a partnership of America’s three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. VantageScore is FICO’s main competitor. Both companies provide a credible credit score statistics report for every eligible individual.
Lenders and creditors use this information to determine whether your credit score rating means that you’re reliable enough to repay borrowed funds. They then decide whether or not they will approve your application and, if so, what interest rate they will charge. If you have a lower credit score, lenders consider you less likely to repay any loans you take out. You’ll pay a higher interest rate as extra insurance to the lender. However, there are lenders and lending platforms specialized for the individuals with low credit score.
What is considered a good credit score?
The FICO score chart ranges from 300 to 850, with 850 representing the highest score possible. We can sort these into five categories:
- Excellent: 750 and above
- Good: 700-749
- Fair: 650-699
- Poor: 600-649
- Bad: under 600
Ready for some fascinating, timely, super-important credit score statistics?
In April 2017, 20.7% of Americans had a FICO score of 800 or above.
This data represents a record-high percentage of people who rate over 800. Financial experts attribute this change in credit scores to a lower delinquency rate and the fact that fewer Americans are taking out loans they can’t afford. As a result, fewer people are falling behind on their payments and more are reaching the 800 credit score that was once out of nearly everyone’s reach.
This is a positive change after a decade or so of turbulent times. It’s clear that credit scores are generally rising. Let’s dig a little deeper by examining the credit score statistics distribution in recent years:
Average FICO Score 2012-2019
In 2009, the average credit score in the USA bottomed out at 686.
In October 2009, the average FICO score hit a low of 686, shortly after the Great Recession. However, consumers have steadily regained what is now known as American credit health and have been consistently climbing for the past decade.
In the years following the Great Recession, bad credit score statistics became the new norm. Those with substandard scores struggled in almost all aspects of life. Perhaps these were the most important factors that pushed the population to pursue more favorable numbers on the average credit score scale.
According to Experian's annual State of Credit survey, 2017 was a year full of contradictions for FICO score statistics. Higher average credit scores and higher debts offered a multitude of reasons for optimism and caution as 2018 began.
Approximately 29% of Americans had a FICO score that fell in the "good" credit score range in 2018, while approximately 58% had a FICO score of 704 or greater.
The number of Americans with good credit score statistics has grown consistently. Even though 2018 had its highs and lows, the trend held steady.
It is important to note that there are two metrics of the statistics of 2019 provided by FICO and VantageScore. Check out these 2019 credit score statistics:
The average FICO score in 2019 in America is 695 and the average Vantage score stands at 673.
These numbers are beneficial for American citizens since they open the door to an improved way of life. For instance, the minimum FICO score required to qualify for a conventional mortgage is 620, and with this credit score report you can see that lots of people are qualifying.
In a nutshell, these FICO and credit score statistics offer many opportunities when it comes to borrowing money, and they can save Americans thousands of dollars in interest.
Only 12% of the U.S. population has a FICO Score that is less than 550.
According to experts, this statistic was predictable. Once the national average score improved and over 20% of Americans earned an exceptional credit score - with a nontrivial percentage of the population with credit score over 800 - the next step in economic development is a decline in lower scores. This is exactly what happened in the second quarter of 2019, and according to financial experts, the reductions will continue.
Average Credit Score By Age
One of the biggest differences in credit scores can be seen among different age groups. Younger groups tend to have lower credit scores for several reasons. One reason is obvious: a shorter credit history. The good news is that the average FICO score tends to improve with age. If you have ever asked yourself, “What is the average credit score by age in the United States?” Well...check out the following:
Individuals in the 30 to 39 age group are the largest group of consumers with a 650-673 credit score.
There are several reasons Americans in their 30s tend to have lower scores. That is, after all, when Americans begin facing big, expensive life events: weddings, mortgages, failing parental health, parenthood, and all the rest. A study about American credit score statistics by age, points out that this is the age group with the largest amount of credit card debt.
Younger individuals get bad scores too:
Individuals in the 18-to-25 age group tend to have credit scores of 620-662.
Following the 2009 CARD Act, these individuals are no longer desirable candidates for any sort of loans, or even opening new credit card accounts. As a result, many young individuals are far from learning “how to build you credit” lessons. The mistakes they make drive the national average credit score down.
Americans between the ages of 50 and 59 hold the second spot when it comes to the FICO score national average. Check out the following average credit score by age:
Americans aged 50 to 59 have the second-highest average FICO score: 706.
By the time they reach their late forties, most Americans have learned about the use of statistics in a credit score file and how to make timely payments on their financial obligations. Average scores continue to improve with age:
People over age 60 have the highest average credit score: 749.
Different age groups have different average credit scores that differ by more than 100 points.
Let’s review the average credit score by age:
|Average Credit Score By Age
|20 to 29
Average Credit Score by Income
What is a good credit score? The math depends on a simple rule - the higher one’s level of income, the higher the credit score tends to be.
One of the factors FICO includes when determining one’s credit score is the percentage of total available credit an individual is using on a monthly basis. The general rule is that the credit utilization should be kept below 30%, otherwise the credit score will gradually fall. Unfortunately, another rule of life complicates things: the lower one’s income, the larger the need for credit for day-to-day expenditures.
In the fourth quarter of 2018, a little over 38% of perfect FICO scores were held by people with an annual income of $75K or less.
This data confirms that your annual income doesn’t play an overwhelmingly large role in determining your credit score. Obviously, having more money can help you pay your bills, but building the highest credit score comes down to paying your bills on time every month and limiting your credit utilization or the total amount of your debt compared with total credit available.
Credit Variations by State
What is an average credit score in America? That’s a surprisingly tough question, because the lowest credit scores in America can be found in the southern states - Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Alabama - but even those statistics are not precise. Still it is certain that regional differences account for differences in what is an excellent credit score in different states.
Here is the list of average FICO scores by state:
|Average FICO score
|District Of Columbia
How Are Credit Scores Calculated?
There are many ways to learn how to manage your resources without sliding into debt. If you understand how your credit score is calculated, you will be empowered to sort out the factors that have the largest impact and go after a FICO score of 800 even though it may seem impossible.
FICO scores are calculated through examination and analysis of data found in your credit file. The score takes into account major factors such as your payment history, age of credit history, and level of credit utilization to produce a number that reflects your creditworthiness. Knowing how the analysis is performed can keep you out of debt and on the good side of credit score statistics.
Here are five types of information in your credit report along with the amount of influence each has on your credit score:
- Payment History: This is the most important aspect of your credit file. It shows whether you have paid your bills on time. 35%.
- Amounts Owed (Credit Utilization Ratio): This is the amount of debt you have, including an evaluation of how much of your available revolving credit you use every month. 30%.
- Length of Credit History: This is an assessment of how long you have had credit accounts open. A longer credit history equates to lower risks. 15%.
- Recent Activity: How many credit accounts have you opened, how many credit inquiries have hit your account, and how many times have you applied for credit in the past 12 months? 10%.
- Credit Mix: This factor is based on how many different types of credit accounts you have, including mortgages, credit cards, auto loans, and revolving credit. 10%.
What percentage of the population has a credit score over 850?
According to FICO, less than 1% of the population can maintain a credit score of 850.
What percentage of the population has perfect credit score?
Less than 1% of the population has the perfect FICO score of 850. At the moment, over 20% of Americans have a credit score over 700.
What is a perfect credit score in 2019?
According to FICO, consumers who fall between 720 and 850 qualify for lower interest rates and better credit card deals.
How can I quickly raise my credit score?
It takes nine months to 2.5 years for a consumer to bounce back from the impact of lower credit score results.
How can I raise my credit score 100 points?
Financial experts say that the best way is to pay your bills on time. Missing the payment of one monthly bill can lower your credit score by as much as 100 points.
Is 600 a bad credit score?
The FICO credit score scale starts at 300, so a credit score of 600 is considered to be on the poor side.
Is 650 a good credit score?
A 650 FICO score is considered to be in the “fair” range.
What is a good FICO score?
Typically, a good FICO score is considered to be above 670.
How much will my credit score increase if I pay off collections?
If the collection knocked your FICO score down, you can expect that many of the points you’ve lost will be regained.
What credit score do you need to buy a house in 2019?
Loans are available for home buyers at practically every credit score. Down payments and interest rates vary according to creditworthiness.
How long after buying a house does your credit score go up?
If you have a mortgage, this will most likely boost your credit score in the long run, provided you are regular with your payments.
Does paying a mortgage improve credit score?
Yes, a mortgage will boost your credit score, but only if you make your payments as agreed.
For years, the clients I worked for were banks. That gave me an insider’s view of how banks and other institutions create financial products and services. Then I entered the world of journalism. Fortunly is the result of our fantastic team’s hard work. I use the knowledge I acquired as a bank copywriter to create valuable content that will help you make the best possible financial decisions.