What is the Average Credit Score by Age in the US?
According to Experian, the average credit score in the US was 714 in 2022. However, the average score varies slightly when breaking it down by age group. If you're curious to learn more about how age can affect someone's credit score (and trust us, it definitely does), then keep reading.
In this quick guide, we'll discuss the average credit score according to age groups within the US and provide actionable steps for improving your score regardless of whether or not it falls below, matches, or exceeds those averages.
Credit Score Range: FICO vs. Vantage Score
Before diving into the average American credit score, it’s helpful to know that there’s more than one credit scoring model. This means that when we talk about the “average” score, it’s important to clarify whether it’s the average FICO score or the average VantageScore score.
FICO Credit Score Range
FICO is an acronym for Fair Isaac Corporation, which created the scoring model back in the 1980s. FICO scores are used by lenders, such as banks, mortgage companies, and credit card companies, to determine creditworthiness and the level of risk they are taking by lending money to a borrower. There are also various types of FICO scores, including FICO Score 8 and FICO Score 5.
FICO scores are calculated based on several factors, including:
- Payment history
- Length of credit history
- Types of credit
- Amount owed
- Recent credit behaviors
- Other factors
FICO scores range from 300 to 850. Within that credit range, you’ll find credit bands, which are the following:
- Poor: 300 to 579
- Fair: 580 to 669
- Good: 670 to 739
- Very Good: 740 to 799
- Excellent: 800 to 850
FAQ: When did credit scores start? Fair, Isaac, and Company (yep, FICO) created credit scores in 1989.
VantageScore Credit Score Range
VantageScore is a credit scoring model created by the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Like FICO, VantageScore is another metric that assesses a borrower's creditworthiness and perceived ability to repay debt.
Previously, VantageScore’s credit range went all the way up to 990. However, the two most recent credit scoring models, VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0, use the same 300 to 850 range as FICO. Despite having the same range, what qualifies as “good” differs from VantageScore:
- Very Poor: 300 to 499
- Poor: 500 to 600
- Fair: 601 to 660
- Good: 661 to 780
- Excellent: 781 to 850
So, what is considered a “good” credit score? As you can see, it varies. If you have a credit score of 790, your score would be considered “very good” when using the FICO scoring model but “excellent” when using the VantageScore scoring model.
FAQ: What is the highest credit score? For both FICO and VantageScore (at least 3.0 and 4.0), the highest credit score is 850.
Average Credit Score by Age in the US
Why is the information above important? Well, it’s helpful to know how your credit score is calculated and why you might have different scores depending on the credit scoring model used. However, the average credit score in the US is different when looking at FICO vs. VantageScore.
According to Business Insider, the average FICO score is 714, whereas the average VantageScore score is 701. Both average scores are considered “good” credit scores in this case.
Remember that your credit score changes over time. Hopefully, if you’re engaging in healthy financial habits, your credit score will improve as you age. However, that’s not always the case, as other financial obligations such as medical debt, student loans, and mortgages come into play as you age.
Still, most people find their credit score increases as they get older because older generations have had more time to build good credit and earn more to put towards paying down debt. That’s why, as you’ll see below, the average credit score by age in the US goes up through the years.
If you’re wondering, “What is a good credit score for my age,” then check out these current averages:
- 18 to 25 (Gen Z): 679
- 26 to 41 (Millennials): 687
- 42 to 57 (Gen X): 706
- 58 to 76 (Baby Boomers): 742
- 77 and older (Silent Generation): 760
It’s not just age, though. The average credit score in the US varies by state, too. For example, Mississippi has the lowest average credit score at 680. The highest credit score spot goes to Minnesota, where the average score is 742, a whole 62 points higher than Mississippi.
Other states falling below 700 in their average credit scores include Texas, South Carolina, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, Georgia, Arkansas, and Alabama. Washington and Wisconsin trail behind Minnesota, with the average credit score across each state being 735.
How Credit Scores Are Calculated
Credit scores are calculated using complex algorithms that consider various factors when evaluating a borrower's credit risk. These factors typically include the following:
- Payment history
- Current credit utilization
- Length of credit history
- Types of credit utilized
- Recent credit inquiries
The exact calculation methodology used to determine credit scores depends on the scoring model being used. However, payment history is generally the single most critical factor in credit scoring, followed by credit utilization. Other factors, such as the length of credit history and types of credit utilized, have more modest effects.
How to Improve Your Credit Score
If your credit score is lower than the average credit score in the US, don’t worry. You can start doing several things now to improve your credit score and catch up to the average in your age group.
Although, it’s totally okay if you’re not where your peers are at; everybody starts at a different financial starting line in life and goes through different life events that affect their financial health. Regardless of where you started or where you’re at, here are a few tips to implement to boost your score.
Don’t Miss Payments
Missed payments are the biggest factor that affects your credit score. They demonstrate to lenders that you might not be financially responsible or stable enough to repay your debts on time. To avoid this, set up autopay with your lenders to ensure you never miss a payment.
Pay Off Debt
Paying off any outstanding debts is crucial in improving your credit score. Doing so over an extended period can help reduce your credit utilization ratio and demonstrate your ability to manage debt responsibly to lenders. Plus, it just feels good to lower that debt total, doesn’t it?
Lower Your Credit Utilization Rate
Credit utilization rate is the ratio between outstanding credit and the total available credit limit. A high credit utilization ratio can negatively affect your credit score by implying that you use a significant portion of your available credit.
Reducing your credit balances and reducing your credit utilization rate below 30% will increase your credit score. You can lower the ratio by paying down debts, avoiding new credit, and requesting a credit line increase.
Improve Your Credit Mix
While credit mix is one of the more modest factors that influence your credit score, improving your credit mix is helpful to slightly boost your score. You can do this by having a decent mix of accounts, such as credit cards, auto loans, and mortgage loans.
Don’t Apply for Lots of Accounts
Hard inquiries and opening many accounts frequently can indicate that you are a higher credit risk and negatively affect your score. Aim to keep hard inquiries to a minimum to maintain a healthy credit score.
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