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Here’s some good news for Americans.
According to FICO, the average US credit score has climbed from 686 a decade ago to 706 today, which is an all-time high for consumers.
As with all averages, there are variances across demographics. For instance, the average credit score for Americans ages 20 to 29 is 662, while for those 60 and older its 749, according to data from Experian. New Yorkers net out with a 712 average, beating Californians whose average is 708.
Not only is the national average credit score going up, but 20 percent of Americans fall into FICO’s “exceptional” category, which is a credit score of 800 or higher.
While certain states and age groups might claim bragging rights, here’s a look at what’s helping boost these average credit score numbers.
Your FICO credit scores is based on the following factors, each carrying their own weight:
So what’s driving the 706 national average and other increases?
According to FICO, Americans have gotten better with paying their bills on time over the past decade. The percentage of the population with bills 90+ days past due has been on the decline across auto, real estate and bankcards.
Since payment history accounts for 35 percent of credit scores, the increase in timely payments has been a key component when it comes to what’s an average credit score.
Other factors that have contributed to the 706 national average credit score include a 28% decrease in credit card utilization rate from a decade ago, along with a decrease in the number of people with multiple credit inquiries in the last year.
Learn more about how to improve your credit score.
If you want to know how your credit score compares to others in your age group across the country, Experian has the data for that. The average credit score by age group can vary quite largely, showing the average increasing by age.
Cut yourself a break if you don't like how you compare to your peers. The data shows that building up credit may take some time. The 60+ age group having the highest average credit score is something to work towards. This group has had more time to grow their careers and increase their income, build payment history (potentially pay off a mortgage) and recover from previous debt.
Generally speaking, the higher your credit score, the more likely it is that you’ll qualify for better terms on your personal loans and other lines of credit. How do you do this?
Start by knowing and monitoring your credit score. Research conducted last year by FICO and Sallie Mae (a leading originator of student loans), found that people who frequently check their credit score tend to score higher and make better financial decisions.
From there, make it a point to pay your bills on time, reduce your credit utilization and apply for new credit only as needed.
Learn more about what credit score you need for a personal loan.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.