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What Is the Average Credit Score?

Kevin Claypool, Client Portfolio Manager, First Republic Bank
December 29, 2021

  • The average American FICO score for 2021 is 716, and the average VantageScore is 695.
  • Credit score averages vary across demographics, including by age and by state. 
  • Achieving or maintaining good, very good or excellent credit may increase your chances of accessing credit or securing a lower interest rate. 

The average American credit score is actually two scores: the average FICO score for 2021 for Americans is 716, and the average VantageScore is 695. These numbers are trending upward — the average FICO score has increased by 13 points since 2019, and 27 points since 2010 — as Americans have become more diligent at making timely payments and using less of their available credit. 

Higher credit scores come with advantages for borrowers, since a good or great credit score makes it easier to access additional credit or be offered lower interest rates. Understanding the average U.S. credit score, and how it relates to your own score, helps you assess your own financial wellness and helps guide your decisions around credit. 

This guide will provide an overview of average credit scores by age and state, how your credit score plays a role in your financial health and how to increase or maintain an excellent credit score. 

Understanding the different types of credit scores

While many envision their credit score as a single number, the truth is that each person has multiple credit scores. 

Many different types of credit scores are available to consumers, but FICO and VantageScore are the two most widely used by institutions and lenders. Both FICO and VantageScore calculate credit scores based on similar consumer credit data, but the different weight each model places on the data can result in a slightly different score. 

In addition, some institutions create their own unique credit scoring model in-house using data and expertise. As a result, credit scores can vary across different platforms, and the score a lender sees may differ from a consumer’s VantageScore or FICO score.  

FICO scores

FICO was created by the Fair Isaac Corporation in 1989, and 90% of lenders use FICO scores when pulling your credit score, along with your credit report, on applications for new credit. Consumers must have an established credit account that has been reported by a credit bureau for a minimum of six months to be assigned a FICO score. 

VantageScores

While VantageScore may sound unfamiliar, the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — that most consumers are familiar with jointly established it in 2006. Any consumer with at least 1 month’s worth of credit history, and at least one report of a credit account within the last 24 months, will be assigned a VantageScore. 

FICO score and VantageScore credit ranges

Both FICO and VantageScore develop credit ranges: For example, “good,” “very good” or “excellent” score ranges. A consumer’s FICO score ranges from 300 to 850. While older models of VantageScore assigned different score ranges, the newest models — VantageScore 3.0 and 4.0 — reflect the same 300–850 credit range as FICO. 

The credit score ranges for FICO and VantageScore are as follows: 

FICO Score Range

Rating 

VantageScore Range

Rating

300–579

Poor

300–499

Very poor

580–669

Fair

500–600

Poor

670–739

Good

601–660

Fair

740–799

Very Good

661–780

Good

800–850

Exceptional

781–850

Excellent

Despite some overlap in scoring ranges, consumers may fall into different FICO and VantageScore ranges even if they have the same score in each. For example, A FICO score of 785 is considered “very good,” while a VantageScore score of 785 is considered “excellent.”

What’s more, consumers may have different FICO scores that coincide with FICO’s two types of scoring methods: Base and industry-specific. Industry-specific FICO scores are optimized for certain types of credit products. As a result, a mortgage lender may see a credit score that differs from your base FICO score as they review your application. 

While your credit score is unique to you, it will likely change throughout your life. And, not surprisingly, average credit scores in the United States vary across different age groups. 

Average credit score by age

The average American credit score varies between age groups, with older generations maintaining higher credit scores, on average, than younger ones. 

Part of this difference is reflected in how credit scores are calculated, which takes into account factors such as length of credit history, the mix of credit types held by a consumer and a consumer's history of repaying credit. As consumers age, the length of their credit history increases. Older consumers are also more likely to have successfully paid back credit, such as a mortgage or auto loan, and have accessed a mix of different types of credit. All these factors can result in a higher credit score. 

The average VantageScore and FICO Score 8 credit scores by generation, as reported by Experian in 2020, are as follows:

Generation

Average VantageScore 

Average FICO score

Generation Z (18 to 23 years old)

654

674

Millennials/Generation Y (24 to 39 years old)

658

680

Generation X (40 to 55 years old)

676

699

Baby Boomers (56 to 74 years old)

716

736

Silent Generation (75+ years old)

729

758

However, age isn’t the only factor that correlates with a higher or lower average credit score. Location does, as well. 

Average credit score by state

The average U.S. credit score also varies by state. Americans in states in New England or the Pacific Northwest tend to have higher credit scores than those who live in the South, for example. 

The state with the highest average credit score is Minnesota, with an average VantageScore of 724 and an average FICO Score 8 of 739, as of 2020. The state with the lowest average credit score is Mississippi, with an average VantageScore of 660 and an average FICO Score 8 of 675 in 2020.

If you’re interested in learning more about the average credit score in your state, refer to VantageScore consumer credit insights page and Experian’s FICO Score 8 state average table for more information. 

No matter where you live, though, maintaining good financial health means maximizing your credit score. 

Why your credit score matters

The strength of your credit history, as reflected in your credit score, can affect your ability to meet your financial goals. Consumers with excellent credit are often more likely to be approved for additional credit — whether that’s a credit card, mortgage or other loan — and may qualify for lower interest rates than those with lower scores. 

Knowing your own credit score, and how it compares to those in your state and age group, can help you make more informed decisions about credit, as well as create a financial plan that aligns with your situation and your goals.

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