The New Year Marks Healthiest Credit Score for U.S. Consumers Since 2007 - Average at 675

1/11/2018
Experian

According to the latest Experian research shows that the nation's average credit score is up two points to 675 —from 673 last year— and is just four points away from the 2007 average of 679.

The study also shows that originations are increasing across nearly all loan types with personal loans and automotive loans showing 11 percent and six percent increases year over year, respectively. Additionally, consumer confidence1 is up 25 percent year over year and has increased more than 16 percent from the same point in time in 2007.
 

"The trend line that we are seeing is quite promising. With employment and consumer confidence on the rise, we've made great progress as a country since the recession," said Michele Raneri, vice president of analytics and new business development at Experian.

"The economy is expected to expand at a healthy pace this year supported by access to affordable consumer credit and we believe that credit will continue to rebound. All of the factors point towards a good year for credit in 2018."
 

              Credit Snapshot of the Nation

Average VantageScore2

675

Average Number of Credit Cards

3.1

Average Balance on Credit Cards

$6,354

Average Number of Retail Cards

2.5

Average Balance on Retail Cards

$1,841

Average Mortgage Debt

$201, 811

Average Non-Mortgage Debt

$24,706

 

"Experian is committed to helping consumers understand the impact of their credit score. We want to help guide people when it comes to credit decisions-- from applying for a new cell phone to getting their first mortgage – and be there for each step big and small," said Rod Griffin, director of public education at Experian. "One of our goals is to help consumers understand the purpose of credit scores and why they are important. Being equipped with that knowledge is key to financial well-being and getting the financial services they need."

Annual Rankings
As part of this annual study, Experian also ranked U.S. cities by credit score. Minnesota is once again at the top of charts, with three cities setting shining examples of credit management: Minneapolis (709), Rochester (708) and Mankato(708). Cities in the South continue to struggle, but in regards to the bottom three—Greenwood, Miss. (624); Albany, Ga., (626); and Harlingen, Texas (631) –  the first two have shown improvements, while Harlingen stayed the same.  

 

 

Top 10 highest average credit scores by city

2017 highest
rankings

City

State

2017 average
VantageScore

2016 average
VantageScore

1

Minneapolis

Minn.

709

707

2

Rochester

Minn.

708

708

3

Mankato

Minn.

708

708

4

Wausau

Wis.

706

704

5

Green Bay

Wis.

705

704

6

Duluth

Minn.

704

703

7

Sioux Falls

S.D.

704

703

8

San Francisco

Calif.

703

699

9

La Crosse

Wis.

703

703

10

Madison

Wis.

703

702

 

Bottom 10 lowest average credit scores by city
 

2017 lowest
rankings

City

State

2017 average
VantageScore

2016 average
VantageScore

1

Greenwood

Miss.

624

622

2

Albany

Ga.

626

624

3

Harlingen

Texas

631

631

4

Laredo

Texas

635

635

5

Riverside

Calif.

636

632

6

Corpus Christi

Texas

638

639

7

Odessa

Texas

640

641

8

Monroe

La.

640

639

9

Montgomery 

Ala.

640

641

10

Shreveport

La.

640

640

 

Generational Divide 
Each city manages credit differently, and the same is true for generations.  

  • While Generation Z is young and still establishing credit, Gen Z members are off to a strong start by keeping their number of credit cards and balances low. They are building their credit through different methods than the older generations before them with heavier student loan debts and fewer credit cards and department store cards, yet they seem to mirroring many of the Millennial credit behaviors, such as keeping their debt low and managing it well, and we expect that to continue. 
  • Generation Y/Millennials are doing well managing their credit and continue to see their scores climb—four points over the past year. They have also decreased their overall average debt by eight percent and have increased their mortgage debt by an additional six percent, which is a positive sign for this generation. 
  • Generation X has an average credit score of 658 along with the highest mortgage debt of all generations, as well as a high instance of late payments compared to the national average. Scores for Gen X members have improved over the last year, so it appears they are managing their debts better than they have in the past, but with the highest debts in all categories, this generation needs to proceed with some caution. 
  • Baby Boomers continue to carry quite a bit of debt, specifically mortgage debt. They have the lowest late payment instances of all the generations, and with many approaching retirement, they need to continue their positive credit behaviors to sail into their golden years. 
  • As the oldest generation, the Silent Generation still has a lot of mortgage debt, but members are keeping other debts low and making payments on time. They have the best credit score of all generations with a score of (729), as well as and the fewest late payments.
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