What Is the Average Credit Score in the U.S.?

What Is the Average Credit Score in the U.S.? article image.

The average FICO® Score in the U.S. rose to 711 in 2020, according to Experian data from October. That's an eight-point increase from 2019 and is the most significant spike since 2016 when the average FICO® Score grew by four points from the prior year.

Credit scores have been on the rise for the past decade (the average FICO® Score increased in nine of the past 10 years), but this year's increase stands out—first because the average FICO® Score has typically increased by one or two points each year, and second because consumers have faced significant financial and other challenges this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of our ongoing look at credit scores in the U.S., Experian analyzed consumer credit and debt data to understand how scores have changed and to identify potential reasons scores are increasing. Read on for our insights and analysis.

Drops in Delinquency, Utilization Likely Driving Score Growth

The standout growth of the average FICO® Score in 2020 can likely be attributed to shrinking debt, decreased credit utilization and a drop in delinquencies (late payments). Since the onset of COVID-19 in January 2020, consumer debt management has trended in a positive direction.

FICO® Scores are calculated using information from consumer credit reports. And when features of consumers' credit profiles improve, their scores typically do as well. Not all changes will have an immediate or visible impact, but improvement in key areas of credit reports will.

FICO® Scores are based on five types of information found in your credit report:

  1. Payment history: Payment history is the most important factor in your credit scores and shows whether you have paid your credit accounts on time.
  2. Amounts owed: How much debt you owe is the second most important category, including how much of your available revolving credit you are using each month.
  3. Length of credit history: The length of your credit history is based on how long you have had credit accounts open. A more established credit history usually helps credit scores.
  4. Credit mix: Your credit mix is based on how many different types of credit accounts you have, including mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and installment loans.
  5. New credit: This category looks at how many hard inquiries you have, as well as how many times you have applied for credit in the past 12 months. In addition, this category includes other credit activities in the recent past such as reducing balances, paying off installment loans, closing accounts and new accounts being added. Inquiries are only one small part of the puzzle when it comes to credit scores.

Since 2019, consumers have seen record improvement in utilization rates, debt amounts and number of delinquencies. The most significant changes between 2019 and October 2020:

  • Average credit card utilization decreased by 12%.
  • The average number of consumer accounts ever delinquent dropped by 10%.

These changes are not only positive for consumers' credit health, but they are unprecedented in recent years. Considering the importance of payment history and credit utilization when calculating credit scores, improvement in these two areas may have been a driving force in increasing the nation's average score.

Average FICO® Score Remains in "Good" Score Range

FICO® Scores, which range from 300 to 850, are the credit scoring model most commonly used by lenders for evaluating a borrower's creditworthiness. A FICO® Score of 711 is considered "good" by most lending standards. Approximately 21% of Americans had a FICO® Score that fell in the "good" credit score range in 2020.

Here are the FICO® Score ranges:

  • 800-850: Exceptional
  • 740-799: Very good
  • 670-739: Good
  • 580-669: Fair
  • 300-579: Very poor

Average FICO® Scores by Age Group

Average credit scores vary by age groups, and generally, the older someone is and the more experienced with credit they are, the higher their credit score will be. Members of the silent generation—the oldest group in our analysis, age 75 and older—consistently have the highest average FICO® Score of any generation. In October 2020, members of the silent generation have an average FICO® Score of 758; that's 47 points higher than the national average, according to Experian data.

Conversely, the youngest generation of adults—Generation Z, ages 18 to 23—have the lowest average score. This group has an average score of 674, which is 37 points below the national norm in October 2020.

Regardless of age group, every generation saw its average FICO® Score improve since this time last year. The bulk of the improvement occurred for the middle generations—millennials and Generation Xers—who each saw their average FICO® Score grow by 10 or more points.

Average FICO® Score by Generation
Generation Z (18-23)667674
Millennials (24-39)668680
Generation X (40-55)688699
Baby boomers (56-74)731736
Silent generation (75+)757758

Source: Experian. Table compares annually representative samples from 2019 and October 2020.

Average Credit Scores by State

Across the country, consumers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., saw their average FICO® Score increase since 2019. Compared with last year's growth—which only saw 42 states increase their scores—2020's average score improvement can be seen in all states. Minnesota remained the state with the highest average score in 2020, at 739.

Average FICO® Score by State
District Of Columbia703713
New Hampshire724730
New Jersey714721
New Mexico686694
New York712719
North Carolina694704
North Dakota727730
Rhode Island713720
South Carolina681690
South Dakota727731
West Virginia687695

Source: Experian. Table compares annually representative samples from 2019 and October 2020.

How to Increase Your Credit Score

Improving your FICO® Score can be helpful before applying for a new line of credit such as a credit card, mortgage or personal loan. A higher score can help you secure better terms and lower interest rates available. Here are some actions that can help improve your FICO® Score:

  • Pay all of your bills on time. This will help ensure your payment history is unblemished and shows lenders that you have a history of paying on time.
  • Pay down credit card balances. Keeping balances on your credit cards low will help keep your credit utilization at a good level.
  • Apply for credit only when you really need it.
  • Enroll in Experian Boost . Adding your positive cellphone, utility and streaming service payment could help boost your credit scores instantly.

Know your financial profile to understand what lenders see when they look at your credit report so you can make sure to get the best interest rates and terms on loans and credit cards.

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