At What Age Can You Expect Your Best FICO® Score?

At What Age Can You Expect Your Best FICO<sup>®</sup> Score? article image.

The average FICO® Score in the U.S. has climbed steadily in the past several years, giving consumers access to a wider variety of credit products at potentially lower interest rates.

The average FICO® Score rose from 690 in the second quarter (Q2) of 2009 to a record high of 703 in Q2 2019, according to Experian data. Consumers' scores have largely recovered from the effects of the Great Recession—and Experian data also shows that the average FICO® Score generally improves along with age.

As part of Experian's continued look at credit scores in the U.S., we analyzed consumer credit and debt data from Q2 2019 to understand how credit scores change over a consumer's life. We found that the average FICO® Score for each 10-year age range increases consistently over time, and those in their 80s have the highest average FICO® Score compared with other age groups. Read on to explore our research and analysis.

Average FICO® Scores Rise Steadily With Age

As of Q2 2019, consumers in their 20s have the lowest average FICO® Score, at 660. Building credit—either from scratch or by using strategies like joining a parent's credit card as an authorized user—often starts in earnest in a consumer's 20s. The Credit CARD Act of 2009 prevents consumers under 21 from opening their own credit card accounts without either a cosigner or proof of independent income.

But a score of 660 is a solid start: It's not far off from good credit, which starts at 670, according to the FICO® scoring model. From there, each age group's average score increases. The average FICO® Score among age groups peaks at 757, for consumers in their 80s.

Additionally, all age groups but one (those ages 90 to 99) have higher average FICO® Scores than the equivalent age groups did in Q2 2015. Average incomes in all age groups increased between Q2 2015 and Q2 2019, which could be a contributor.

Credit Scores by Age
Age RangeAverage FICO® Score Q2 2015Average FICO® Score Q2 2019
23 to 29*660660
30 to 39652672
40 to 49667683
50 to 59688703
60 to 69718733
70 to 79745754
80 to 89755757
90 to 99754753

Source: Experian. *In Q2 2015, data was only available for ages 23 to 29; we compared to the same age range in Q2 2019.

Consumers' FICO® Scores Increase Most From Their 50s to 60s

The largest jump in FICO® Scores happens from consumers' 50s to 60s. The average FICO® Score for those ages 50 to 59 is 703 as of Q2 2019, compared with 733 among those ages 60 to 69.

Average estimated household income also peaks when consumers are in their 50s, reaching a high of $83,467 in Q2 2019—up from $79,390 in Q2 2015. That may make it more possible for those with debt to pay it off, contributing to an increase in average FICO® Scores during this time. Credit utilization, or the amount of credit a consumer uses relative to their overall credit limit, has the second-largest impact on credit scores, just after payment history.

Credit Card Debt More Than Doubles From Consumers' 20s to 30s

In contrast, average FICO® Scores don't rise much from the time consumers are in their 20s to their 30s, increasing just three points, from 669 to 672. Consumers may still be building credit during those years; another contributor could be that once those in their 20s gain access to credit cards, they use them. High credit utilization can be a drag on credit scores, but late payments have an even larger effect. Using more credit may make it harder to make timely payments and pay off balances in full.

Consumers in their 30s carry more than double the credit card debt 20-somethings do: An average $5,563 compared with $2,770 among those in their 20s as of Q2 2019. Average retail credit card debt also nearly doubles in those years, from $660 in consumers' 20s to $1,187 in their 30s.

An increase in credit card debt is also an overall trend: Nationwide, Q2 total credit card debt grew 6% from 2018 to 2019, according to Experian data.

Consumers Reach Peak Debt Levels in Their 40s

Average FICO® Scores jump slightly more—11 points—from consumers' 30s into their 40s. But debt levels also rise during this time, with average retail credit card, student loan, auto loan and mortgage balances all reaching their peak levels among 40-somethings. The only outliers are non-retail credit card balances—which are highest among those in their 50s—and personal loans, which peak in consumers' 60s.

Starting in their 50s, however, the average consumer starts reducing their debt across most categories. Credit scores also start rising at a faster pace. The average FICO® Score among 50- to 59-year-olds is 20 points higher than it is among 40- to 49-year-olds. Consumers in their 60s have scores 30 points higher than those in their 50s. And scores among those in their 70s are 21 points higher than among those in their 60s.

Consumer FICO® Scores by Age Range

Consumers in Their 20s

Average FICO® Scores as of Q2 2019 among those in their 20s decrease from a high of 681 at age 20 to 660 at age 29. This age group is one of two age ranges, the other being consumers in their 90s, that shows a score drop over the course of 10 years. But from age 20 to age 90, each age group sees an increase in average FICO® Score.

Credit Scores Among Consumers in Their 20s
AgeAverage FICO® Score

Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

Consumers in Their 30s

FICO® Scores begin to rise in consumers' 30s, increasing steadily a total of 14 points from age 30 to 39. This age range also has the largest increase in average FICO® Score compared with its equivalent age group in Q2 2015—672 in Q2 2019 compared with 652 previously.

Credit Scores Among Consumers in Their 30s
AgeAverage FICO® Score

Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

Consumers in Their 40s

Over the course of their 40s, consumers' average FICO® Scores increase by 11 points—a slightly smaller margin than in their 30s—topping out at 689 at age 49.

Credit Scores Among Consumers in Their 40s
AgeAverage FICO® Score

Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

Consumers in Their 50s

Credit scores continue to grow in consumers' 50s, and at a faster rate: FICO® Scores rise 24 points from age 50 to 59. This is the first age range with an average overall FICO® Score above 700.

Credit Scores Among Consumers in Their 50s
AgeAverage FICO® Score

Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

Consumers in Their 60s

Average FICO® Scores increase by an even larger spread throughout consumers' 60s: They rise 27 points, from 719 at age 60 to 746 at age 69. For the first time, the average consumer's FICO® Score hits the "very good" FICO® Score range (740 to 799).

Credit Scores Among Consumers in Their 60s
AgeAverage FICO® Score

Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

Consumers in Their 70s

In this age range, FICO® Score increases begin to slow slightly. The average consumer also sees their first score drop since their 20s—though it's just one point, from 758 to 757 from age 78 to 79.

Credit Scores Among Consumers in Their 70s
AgeAverage FICO® Score

Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

Consumers in Their 80s

This age range has the highest average FICO® Score, at 757. Older consumers have longer credit histories and have had more time for negative information to come off their credit reports.

Credit Scores Among Consumers in Their 80s
AgeAverage FICO® Score

Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

Consumers in Their 90s

Throughout their 90s, consumers' FICO® Scores decrease—but by just eight points, a smaller drop than consumers see in their 20s. This age range's average score of 753 is also slightly lower than the average FICO® Score consumers have in their 70s and 80s.

Credit Scores Among Consumers in Their 90s
AgeAverage FICO® Score

Source: Experian Q2 2019 data

Methodology: The analysis results provided are based on an Experian-created statistically relevant aggregate sampling of our consumer credit database that may include use of the FICO® Score 8 version. Different sampling parameters may generate different findings compared with other similar analysis. Analyzed credit data did not contain personal identification information. Metro areas group counties and cities into specific geographic areas for population censuses and compilations of related statistical data.

FICO® is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.

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