Personal Finance Insider writes about products, strategies, and tips to help you make smart decisions with your money. We may receive a small commission from our partners, like American Express, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.
- The average American has a credit score of 711, according to data from Experian. That's considered 'good' by FICO's score ranges.
- Credit scores are numerical ratings of your borrowing and repayment history, commonly used by banks to determine eligibility for loans and interest rates.
- People over 50 have average credit scores higher than the national average. Scores in some states, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Vermont, tend to exceed the US average, too.
- Get your free credit score with CreditKarma »
The average credit score in the US is 711, according to credit reporting company Experian, calculated using the FICO scoring model.
Credit scores, which are like a grade for your borrowing history, fall in a range of 300 to 850. The higher your score, the better — people with higher credit scores tend to get better interest rates on loans, have access to credit cards with better perks and lower interest rates, and could even pay less for insurance.
The FICO model of credit scoring puts credit scores into five categories:
- Very poor: 300-579
- Poor: 580-669
- Fair: 601-660
- Good: 670-739
- Very good: 740-799
- Exceptional: 800-850
Based on this scoring system, the average American has a good credit score. But, the average credit score is different by demographic.
Average credit score by age
The average credit score looks very different between age groups. As credit scores are calculated on credit and borrowing history, older people have higher credit scores on average due to a more extensive borrowing history. Here's how it breaks down by age group, according to data from Experian:
|Generation||Average credit score in 2019 (FICO)|
Average credit score by year
Americans actually have better credit than ever. The average score has increased about 10 points the past seven years. Here's how it's risen, according to FICO data from October of each year:
|Year||Average credit score (FICO)|
Americans have more consumer debt than ever before, holding a total of $14.3 trillion in debt in the first quarter of 2020. But at the same time, credit scores are rising. The period spanning from June 2009 until early 2020 became America's longest-running period of economic expansion, and brought low unemployment rates. This could have contributed to America's rising credit scores, with more people borrowing money and paying bills on time.
Average credit score by state
Finances look very different across all 50 states, and the average credit score looks pretty different, too. While Mississippi has the lowest average credit score, Minnesota has the highest credit score at 720. Here's the average credit score in each US state and the District of Columbia, according to data from Experian.
|State||Average credit score (FICO) in October 2020|
|District Of Columbia||713|
What is a credit score?
Credit scores are calculated using information about your borrowing, like the amount of credit you're currently using, the number and types of accounts you have open, and your repayment history. All of that information is drawn from your credit report, which has a detailed borrowing history.
Everyone has credit scores based on data gathered by the three credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. There are two methods of calculation, known as FICO and VantageScore. While each one uses a slightly different calculation, all scores should be similar.
Your credit score can be found for free online from sites like Credit Karma, or even from certain credit card issuers that partner with the agencies to give you one (or more) of your scores.
It's a good idea to check your credit report regularly, too. Annualcreditreport.com, a site established by the federal government, will give you access to your report from each of the three agencies once per year. You can check them all at once, or check one every few months to keep a close eye on your credit. It's not uncommon for a report to contain an error that then affects your score, but it's up to you to find any such error. If you do find one, you can dispute it with the agency.
If you don't have any credit history, it becomes very difficult to borrow, and to get the best rates, going forward. That's why some credit card issuers provide specific credit cards meant for people to use temporarily, to build their credit in the first place. You can see our picks for the best starter credit cards here.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Personal Finance Insider team. We occasionally highlight financial products and services that can help you make smarter decisions with your money. We do not give investment advice or encourage you to adopt a certain investment strategy. What you decide to do with your money is up to you. If you take action based on one of our recommendations, we get a small share of the revenue from our commerce partners. This does not influence whether we feature a financial product or service. We operate independently from our advertising sales team.