The Average Credit Score in America
In 2019, the average credit score in America is now 704 for FICO, and 680 for VantageScore. This is the main reason you cannot go by Credit Karma scores alone. They are using a VantageScore scoring model, while most companies still use FICO’s scoring model.
Both are decent credit scores and are considered good scores in general. However, if you were to look at more specific demographics like age, and or income, the average credit score may drop or go up significantly.
Generally, the average credit score for people under 40 is lower than those over 40. You can attribute this to the data proving that the accumulation of wealth is higher for people over 40.
Similarly, the more income and wealth a person has, the better their credit score. Keep in mind, that this has nothing to do with the debt-to-income ratio. Although, having a higher income affords you the ability to pay back debts, which leads to higher credit scores.
Average Credit Score By State
The state of Mississippi has the lowest average credit score at 647, while Minnesota holds the highest at 709. Scores below 680 will cause you to be approved for high-interest rates, and scores above will yield you more favorable interest rates. It’s best to aim for a 720 or higher for low-interest rates.
Average Credit Score in the U.S. by State
|Alaska: 668||Georgia: 654||Maryland: 672||New Hampshire: 701||South Carolina: 657|
|Alabama: 654||Hawaii: 693||Maine: 689||New Jersey: 686||South Dakota: 700|
|Arkansas: 657||Iowa: 695||Michigan: 677||New Mexico: 659||Tennessee: 662|
|Arizona: 669||Idaho: 681||Minnesota: 709||Nevada: 655||Texas: 656|
|California: 680||Illinois: 683||Missouri: 675||New York: 688||Utah: 683|
|Colorado: 688||Indiana: 667||Mississippi: 647||Ohio: 678||Virginia: 680|
|Connecticut: 690||Kansas: 680||Montana: 689||Oklahoma: 656||Vermont: 702|
|District of Columbia: 670||Kentucky: 663||North Carolina: 666||Oregon: 688||Washington: 693|
|Delaware: 672||Louisiana: 650||North Dakota: 697||Pennsylvania: 687||Wisconsin: 696|
|Florida: 668||Massachusetts: 699||Nebraska: 695||Rhode Island: 687||West Virginia: 658|
Average Credit Score By Age
You may have guessed that the older one is, typically, the better the credit score. That is due to two of FICO’s factors, payment history, and length of credit history.
- 18-29: 659
- 30-39: 677
- 40-49: 690
- 50-59: 713
- 60 or more: 747
Credit Score Hierarchy
All lenders have their own credit score ranges that guide them and help determine creditworthiness. The better or higher the score, the more likely you are to be approved and receive a low-interest rate. It’s simple, the less risky the borrower, the better the APR will be.
Here is a general list of the credit score ranges most lenders use:
- 720 or more: Excellent
- 660 – 719: Average/Fair
- 620 – 659: Poor
- 620 or lower: Bad
After reviewing the credit score ranges above, you can see why obtaining a 720 credit score is important. Now we can get into what you came for: The 3 Secrets.
Secret #1 – Repair Credit Via Dispute Letters
With all the credit monitoring services online many Americans are disputing accounts or information online. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with doing so. I want that to be clear. It’s great if your specific dispute is offered in the drop-down choices.
However, for best results, mailing a dispute letter is key. You cannot electronically send complex disputes. Most online/electronic disputes only offer basic disputes like, “account not mine”, or, “didn’t pay late”. Also, with online disputes, you cannot use more than one dispute reason. In many cases, more than one error is made on an account.
Creating a dispute letter allows you to really dispute effectively. You can use as many dispute reasons as you want in a letter. You can prepare more nuanced disputes that can detail your particular issue with an account. This is very important in terms of removing inaccurate items and improving your credit score.
Secret #2 – Use Your Credit Cards Monthly
Using your credit cards monthly is very important. Many people are afraid to use their credit card, especially when they have just paid a large credit card debt. I understand and feel their pain, however, that will cost them points on the credit score.
You score the most points on your credit score by making payments. If you have zeroed out your balance and never use it again, you will not have a reason to make payments. Remember, payment history is 35% of your FICO score.
Make sure you make at least one purchase per month. Then pay it off a day or two later. For best results leave a 1%-3% balance of the limit on your credit card. To make sure you do not forget to make a purchase, you can set up auto-pay on a card for one of your bills.
Secret #3 – Never Pay Collection Accounts
People commonly think that paying off debt will help them improve their credit scores. That is only true if the debt is a current and open account. Otherwise, it is a collection or charge-off in most cases. Paying a collection or charge-off will not result in a credit score increase. On the contrary, there will be little to no increase.
Collections affect your payment history. Paying a collection only updates the status of the account. Instead of showing a balance, it shows a zero balance. The account will read as a, “paid collection”. Never pay collections accounts, they are a waste of your money that could be going towards current debt.
Once again, payment history is 35% of your credit score and paying off a collection does not change its impact on your score. The only time you should pay a collection is if you have negotiated a pay-to-delete agreement. Meaning, you and the collection company have an agreement in writing. Usually, stating they will delete the account once you make an agreed-upon payment.
Something to keep in mind is that the numbers do not account for the many Americans that do not even have a credit score for lack of credit. This goes back to the old saying, “no credit, is the same as bad credit”. This may not be exactly true, but the essence of the message is true.
If you find yourself in that situation, where you have no credit, therefore no credit score. You should find a friend or family member to add you on to one of their credit cards as an authorized user. That’s the fastest way to add credit history to your credit report. The best part is, it’s free!
Remember, repair your credit by using dispute letters and do not dispute online unless you are lazy and just want to try an easy fix. Always charge your credit card at least once a month and make a payment on that card a day or two later. You need this to improve your payment history and length of credit history.
Last but definitely not least, do not pay collection accounts unless you have negotiated a pay-to-delete agreement. Make sure you get this agreement in writing before you make the payment. Sometimes the collection company will refuse to give you the agreement in writing before payment. You must try your best, and sometimes you may have to just trust them.