What Is The Average Credit Score In America By Age & State?

Posted by CreditCardGuru

Try searching for “average credit score” and you are likely to get different answers from just about every website you visit. Here’s why…

Going through the top 10 listings on Google for the above term reveals that virtually every listing cited information that was either (a) incorrect, or (b) misleading.

The problem originates with the score being used…

  • FICO – This is without a doubt the gold standard of credit scoring. When people talk about credit scores, this is what they are referring to in a generic sense (or at least, intend to be talking about). Unfortunately, FICO has become very secretive about their process and greatly restrict how their scores can be used.
  • PLUS Score – This is a scoring model developed by Experian, and it’s geared solely toward consumers (it’s not used by creditors). Instead of running on a 300-to-850 scale like FICO, it runs on a 330-to-830 scale.
  • VantageScore – This ran on a scale of 500 to 990 until 2013, at which point it switched to a 300-to-850 scale to match FICO. It was developed a few years ago by the major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to compete with Fair Isaac’s industry-leading FICO formula. However, VantageScore hasn’t really caught on and lenders use it far less than FICO.

Rather than identifying an average credit score as being a PLUS Score or VantageScore, almost all websites are using these scores interchangeably, without mentioning what type of score their data is using.

Here’s the straight dope…

What is the true average credit score in this country? Well, that’s really not even a question you should be asking. Why? Because those with ultra-low scores (due to a bankruptcy, foreclosure, etc) are going to have scores significantly lower — these drag down the average number big time. It’s like asking what’s the average income in the US – the number of unemployed will totally skew the numbers.

If you want a better gauge of where you fit in, then you should be looking at the median credit score. Several years ago, FICO reported the median score as 723, but has been pretty silent on that front since. The median means it’s exactly in the middle: 50 percent of people have a lower score, 50 percent have a higher score. This will give you a much better idea of the credit score average for Americans.


If you still insist on knowing the current “average” then good luck on finding that out. FICO doesn’t report it.

Average credit score by state?

Ah… so this is where it gets tricky! FICO doesn’t release a state-by-state breakdown of score distribution. So in order to judge their performance, we have to turn to a different scoring model.

As an alternative, let’s use the VantageScore, which Experian reports on each year. The VantageScore is not the same thing as a FICO score — and Experian reports the averages by metro area, rather than state. However, this information is still a good way to measure performance of geographic areas relative to each other.

As of November 2013 (the last time Experian annually updated its Experian’s “State of Credit” data), the national average VantageScore was 681. Remember, Vantage scores run from 300 (worst) to 850 (best). Here’s a list of the metro areas with the best scores, and those with the worst (as of November 2013).

Cities with the best average Vantage scores:

Rochester, Minn. — 716

Mankato, Minn. — 716

Sioux Falls, S.D. — 713

Minneapolis, Minn. — 713

Green Bay, Wis. — 713

Wausau, Wis. — 711

Madison, Wis. –  711

Fargo, N.D. — 711

Cedar Rapids, Iowa — 711

La Crosse, Minn. — 710

Cities with the worst average Vantage scores:

Greenwood, Miss. –  622

Albany, Ga. — 632

Riverside, Calif. — 638

Harlingen, Texas — 640

Laredo, Texas –  641

Jackson, Miss. — 644

Corpus Christi, Texas — 647

Las Vegas, Nev. — 647

Monroe, La. — 648

Shreveport, La. — 648

You probably notice that those cities with the lowest average scores tend to be in the southern half of the country (both the southeast and southwest). Meanwhile, the cities with the best scores are in the northern Midwest. The spread between the lowest- and highest-scoring city is 68 points.

Average credit score by age group?

Lastly, there is credit score distribution by age. Our friends over at Credit Karma have the best data set available for showing average credit score by age. Although it’s not FICO, they use a credit scoring system which correlates closely – TransUnion’s TransRisk model. Like FICO, it runs on a 300 to 850 scale.

 

average credit score by age group

The first thing you probably conclude from looking at that is the older you get, the more your score will go up on average. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Let’s be honest here… there are many people who mangle their credit during college and post-college years. It’s not until a bit later when they realize how much damage was inflicted and finally start managing their credit properly.
  • Credit scores (FICO and competitors) all take into account the age of your credit history and accounts. The longer the (positive) history, the more it will help your score. This is a reason why adults who have had accounts for decades tend to have higher scores.
  • Even if you never had major indiscretions with your credit as an early adult, as you get older, you hopefully start building up a nest egg and paying down debts like your mortgage, student loans, etc. This of course helps your score.

It’s important to realize, though that you shouldn’t think you are doing well score-wise, just because you are above average for your age group. Sure, the average may be 638 for the 18 to 24 age group but truth be told, you can somewhat easily hit the low 700s in your early 20s if you do things right. Just check the forum and you will see people who are 18, 19 and 20 with FICOs either in the high 600s or low 700s.

By the time you are 25 to 27 it is entirely possible to get a credit score in the high 700′s or even over 800 if you play your cards right.

How many cards do you have in 2014?

Without any loans whatsoever, many have achieved a high credit score by my mid-20s solely using credit cards.  Obviously a mix of cards and loans are ideal, but if you have only one or two loans on your credit report, then it is recommended it can be an effective strategy to go heavy on the cards (have five to 10 if you can use them responsibly and stay debt free). At age 25 one of our members had around a dozen cards and a FICO of around 770 to 790.

Looking to get more cards and use the same strategy? If you do, it is strongly recommended that you only go with no-annual-fee cards. That way you can keep them open for the long haul and won’t have to worry about an annual fee. For cards that are used sparingly, that’s the way to go.

Updated Oct. 2, 2014


-----
Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

135 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. alex0825 December 2, 2014 at 10:25AM

    Im 21. Credit score is 758. I have 7 credit cards in total. 3 bank credit cards, Capital One MC, capital one VISA, AMEX. And the other 4 are store credit cards. I started building credit at 19 when working at macys and all employees got a debit or credit store card. I got a debit card that turned into a credit card by 3 months by the time i quit.
    I pay off all my cards every month.

    Im trying to raise my credit score. Is it just that i haven’t had a long enough credit history?

  2. ALex October 29, 2014 at 5:50PM

    I have a credit liine out, 2 credit cards and my credit score is well about 750. Im 29

  3. Marcus October 14, 2014 at 5:20PM

    I’m 19 with a credit score of 758. I have one credit card.

  4. kat July 24, 2014 at 12:26PM

    A credit score should show your credit worthiness, not your ability to play a game with opening and paying off a certain percentage of credit cards, on certain dates.

  5. Travis July 22, 2014 at 1:43AM

    I just wanted to say that i am 21 with a credit score of 750

  6. Morgan h June 26, 2014 at 2:50PM

    Dude said he had 10 credit cards!?! Wtf not a good idea. I’m 24 with a score of 803 and I have ONE CREDIT CARD! And no loans. Actually just got a 40000 dollar auto loan 2.89% . Woohoo

    • DIMITRI June 30, 2014 at 8:41AM

      Why is not a good idea? if he can get favorable terms and meet those obligations,who are you to say not a good idea?
      I’m a loan officer and one trade line and one auto loan will not get you favorable terms as far as choice of lenders. Most require at least three trade lines.
      get some more cards or ease in to your current rental for a nice long stay.
      woohoo! My COPO Mercedes is 1.9% woohoo definition: Something someone says when their patting themselves on the back for no reason.

      • nic September 14, 2014 at 9:52PM

        Dimitri,

        You are spot on. There’s really nothing left to say as I used to underwrite for years. One revolving trade line, even managed well is not impressive. And as you know, that singular trade line tells us nothing about how Morgan will pay a 40K installment loan. In fact, it’s highly likely she was automatically scored. Personally, I would have never signed off on that loan, but more power to Morgan…if she manages well and adds a stronger mix of tradelines, she could set herself up for a future 800.

    • Rob September 8, 2014 at 1:22PM

      And you likely live at home with you mom and dad. At 24, unless you have a very high paying job out of college (unlikely), you would have to live at home to get a loan for a $40,000.00 auto.

  7. mike June 11, 2014 at 7:53AM

    how can credit karma help you better when no one checks it when trying to get a loan

  8. Jay H Stewart June 11, 2014 at 2:53AM

    I can’ t get my credit score much over 600. I make my payments but have a lot of credit card debt & average 27% interest. I have almost a 100k credit but max it out. Shouldn’t my score be higher?

    Jay

    • Your Credit Mom June 25, 2014 at 5:26PM

      Jay…
      Keeping your credit cards maxed out REALLY hurts your score. Try to keep your balances down to no higher than 30% of your credit limit.

      • jay July 4, 2014 at 12:55AM

        Hi Credit Mom. I took your advice & my credit score improved this
        Month!! Thanks!! Jay

    • kat July 24, 2014 at 12:30PM

      Your score is being deliberately kept down by banks and those who profit from the high interest rates. Don’t you know, it’s not about your credit worthiness. You have to play the credit card game to trick their system.

  9. PRISM May 16, 2014 at 10:18PM

    After a divorce, my grade for age of history was a “c”. My statement said I only had credit history for 4 years. I have been a joint account holder, and paid bills for 20 yrs. Why is there a change?

  10. STALLION May 9, 2014 at 2:53PM

    I am dating a 35 year old woman who has no credit and is very high maintence. what should I do?

    Thanks

    • Stella Z May 14, 2014 at 11:36AM

      Do not marry her. Your credit will be affected negatively. Also, if she is high maintenance and spends a lot of money on herself irresponibly, then she will continue this behavior after the marriage and you will resent it. Good luck.

    • Hitman May 20, 2014 at 10:36AM

      Eliminate her

    • Tammy June 21, 2014 at 9:25AM

      RUN!!!!!!!!!!

    • Rob September 8, 2014 at 1:25PM

      Find someone else. At 35 and no credit, AND high maintenence, that should tell you something. One, she has not bought anything on her own and Two, she has her sights on hitting 45 with no credit history thanks to YOUR wallet!

    • Guy October 13, 2014 at 4:54PM

      Pump and dump

  11. Trena May 7, 2014 at 7:47PM

    After being turned down over and over again with a credit score of 600, I`m also rebuilding after a divorce, I’ve decided to continue to pay for everything in cash and save my money which means I will never have credit. The credit scoring system is screwed up.

  12. Jim May 5, 2014 at 4:35PM

    I’m a bit confused with the Avg. Score figure.. Credit Karma, the source you say you quoted has completely different numbers https://www.creditkarma.com/trends/age
    Which numbers are correct?

  13. Paul March 11, 2014 at 7:02PM

    You are missing the point. Credit score is only important if for some reason you need to go into debt and borrow money. No person of means will care what there credit score is, what it will be or how it is computed. It is mostly a mechanism for banks.

    • mary March 12, 2014 at 10:36AM

      Yes. Cash is better than Fico. Anything above 720 coupled with liquid or saleable assets and an income will make you an attractive customer. If you pay debts off early the impact of minor interest rate differences is mitigated. Debt is secured by your income. Don’t job hop. My oldest credit accounts was closed due to non use while I applied for a mortgage. I paid cash for 10 years. My score hovers in 730 range though it’s been as low as 650. I get low rates on mortgages 3.5%, car 2.5%, credit card 6%.Fico focus is a disease. I was once denied a rental because I had been a homeowner with no mortgage and no rental history even with a v large sum of cash in the bank. A call to the property management company hq cleared that up. Live your life.

    • John March 23, 2014 at 4:22PM

      That is not entirely true I have a good income and savings, enough that I can buy cars or homes for cash if I choose. At one time I felt like my credit score was irrelevant but then I looked into it more closely. It is used for other things than credit approval and interest rates, a big one is insurance rates! There are also times when it may make more sense tho borrow if you qualify for a low interest rate than to use assets that can be invested or would have negative tax consequences if cashed out from an investment.

    • James April 2, 2014 at 12:34PM

      Your spelling is as atrocious as your reasoning.

      • James #2 November 26, 2014 at 3:38PM

        Not really, regarding the reasoning at least… A loan with an interest rate lower than expected returns on an investment is almost always a better choice.

        eg: $20,000 car. $5,000 down and 1.99% interest on a 5 year note, or $20,000 up front?

        If you can invest that $15,000 dollars and get > 2% per year, you are wasting money if you pay for the car up front.

  14. Is 650 A Good Credit Score? Here's The Truth For 2013
  15. marie December 17, 2013 at 2:16PM

    I wonder what I’m doing, I’m a single mother of three father just up and left. 24 years old and a credit score of 746. Never had a loan and my credit card amount is significantly low. Work a minimum wage job and pay all bills by myself. Dont know how that would help, but it makes me pretty content with my score.

  16. ken November 22, 2013 at 1:00PM

    I have a credit score of 824, and although I haven’t gotten any deals on loans, I wasn’t required to fill out an application for my last car loan and was able to tell them how much I needed and when, they complied with a smile.

  17. RichyRich November 2, 2013 at 4:52AM

    The FED is desperate for money flow between banks, thus int. rates are extremely low & QE easing is indefinite. Take advantage of all the 0% promo credit cards. Get as many as you can and pay the minimum until they are ready to charge you interest, then pay them off. Build your credit for free. Wish it was that easy when I was young.

  18. Steve September 29, 2013 at 8:43PM

    Believe it or not, cash is still king. For those in debt, I say pay it off as quickly as possible. If you have 5 credit cards, pay as much as you can on the smallest and minimum on the other 4 until the smallest is paid off. Then take the payment from card 1 and apply it to card 2 as well as the minimum payment. Then the same with card 3 and so-forth. This is called the “debt snowball”. Then, move those payments to your car or student loan then your home. Getting out of debt takes time. How much time, depends on if you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired of being in debt.

    Remember, you biggest wealth building tool is your paycheck. How much could you save if you didn’t have a portion going out in credit card payments or a car payment? Personally, the only thing I advise taking out a loan for is a home. A vehicle is nothing more than a point a-point b transportation and you really don’t spend that much of your life in it (at least for the majority reading this). I suggest buying as cheap a car as possible, then take saved cash and trade it in for a nicer car, then do the same in a couple of years and keep trading up with no car payment. Eventually you will end up with a nice enough car for $10,000-$15,000 and no car payments. How nice would life be without a car of credit card payments? For more information look up Dave Ramsey the money game. Thank you and good luck

    • sesquipedaliman October 24, 2013 at 4:02PM

      paying on the basis of the ‘smallest amount’ is silly. you really should be paying off the one with the highest interest rate. Of course, people in that situation are stupid enough to use credit cards to buy things they can’t afford and have little knowledge about exponential growth.

      • William George Wardino December 11, 2013 at 10:27AM

        Nice name but no long words. I’ve known and (rarely)used sesquipedalian for many years, but I don’t recall seeing it but two times in my life! Kudos.

  19. Chuck September 21, 2013 at 3:30PM

    I am 41 and my wife is 40. Dual income of about $110k. My credit score is 790 and hers is 784. We have one credit card which we pay on monthly, but always carry a balance of $800-$1,000. Have a $280K mortgage (house appraised at $364K) and have one auto loan with about $11k remaining (two other cars were paid for over 48 month periods). We started out early planning and being extremely careful with our finances. Even through a 5 month period of unemployment for myself in 2012, we are in sound financial shape. Plan, plan, plan…..and you can live the lifestyle you want while keeping your credit score right up there.

  20. Jane August 27, 2013 at 8:34AM

    My Fico is below 600 due to single parent and divorce. I paid off ex debts 35,000.00 while I watched my credit go in the tank. The hard thing is I have no debts…and credit is so bad that I can not get new credit to build it back up and trying to have old stuff or comments removed is very difficult. So I live on cash which is very hard with technology to day. But was still able to managed without, I bought a car (cash) and put my daughter through college. While my son-n-law as great credit over 700 but can’t even manage a grocery budget, and over drafts his account as least once a month and uses one card to pay another…I don’t see the justice in the credit system. I am almost fifty and see no point any more in trying to live up to FICO.

    • Linda December 2, 2013 at 1:30PM

      Oh my gosh, could NOT agree more!!!

      i was on my own @ 16, put myself through college working 3 jobs at minimum wage, then struggled to save and pay rent on my own for 15 years to afford grad school….no debts, no evictions, no bankruptcies, never bought above my budget, was so diligent, went without…..then finally got into grad school, and became chronically ill, now on disability and impoverished. Remember when there were green stamps? it’s as if now people are trained to go into debt just to get a FICO score and it’s ruining the entire system, breaks my heart to see so much greed and so many people and animals suffering, while those who aren’t necessarily harder working nor responsible having better scores b/c they constantly OWE….Best of luck, Linda

  21. Mac Baller August 26, 2013 at 9:02AM

    Not to toot my horn, but I’m a self made millionaire with FICOs “undisclosed private credit rating” of 1470, about double the national “good” credit rating 700.

    How did I do it? 1 credit card. 1 mortgage. 1 loan. All paid off on time. I also pay my my gaurd and the ball washers ON TIME (thanks ladies!).

    • sesquipedaliman October 24, 2013 at 4:04PM

      I like how when I type

      (quote)FICOs “undisclosed private credit rating”(endquote) there is only one result.

    • joe November 17, 2013 at 10:37PM

      no such rating, moron

    • SelfMadeMillionaireTracker April 18, 2014 at 8:03PM

      Not to toot my horn, but my credit score is so secret that FICO does not even know it.

      Mac Baller you are retarded….

  22. jose August 7, 2013 at 9:29AM

    My fico score is at 748 with revolving credit cards equaling to 16k. Im curious as to a.) whether i would qualify for a auto loan on a used car and b.)what interest would I be getting?

    • SonnyB August 16, 2013 at 7:46AM

      748 is very low risk so used I would say absolutely take a RangeRover. After 725 Credit Unions really don’t ask for income due to a great track history.
      Bank of America. I think you need a 1000 to get a 5 dollar loan.

    • Chris Green August 23, 2013 at 11:28AM

      Yes. Probably 6.3% but I’d shop around for no interest with a 748.

  23. Megan July 28, 2013 at 4:33PM

    I’m 22, in California, and have a FICO score of 760.

    I’m glad it sounds like I’m doing ok. I have three open credit accounts that I charge everything on. But I almost always pay the full amount every month.

    All my credit cards are a little over a year old. In 2011 I bought a used car and took out a $20,000 loan. I was able to be very frugal all year and pay it off in 13 months. I believe this had a heavy impact on my score.

    • Chris Green August 23, 2013 at 11:38AM

      Yes. Negativley. Credit card holders that zero out monthly are not considered good customers. And paying a car loan off early probably won’t make friends either. $20,000 in 13 months? What did you eat? Air? Your history is only about a year and a half. With that kind of behaviour as the years go on you will probably keep a higher than average credit score but your “behavour score” (not published but scored by banks) will likely keep your credit limits low. The banks don’t want to give you a credit card that you use as a checking account for free. That’s why debit cards were created.

  24. Zeroed Out June 3, 2013 at 7:29PM

    I’m not really sure why someone shouldn’t go by the average and only the median. In nearly every aspect like this, a certain number of people will bring the average down. That’s just how it works, no matter what you’re talking about. If we’re going to take away the people who had a foreclosure, why not just take away all the people born into rich families who immediately have access to mounds of credit thanks to their parents who pay the bills and not them?

    I also find it hard to believe that 723 would be the median, even though it’s apparently true. I recently had a company run my credit and mine was 776 and they said it was “excellent.” Fifty points above average is excellent? Really?

    • Chris Green August 23, 2013 at 11:55AM

      Yeah. Kinda. With 880 being the highest score given to people like oh say maybe Warren Buffet, 776 is pretty good. My wife and I hover around 730-740. If you are 776 I would say you haven’t had a late payment in ten years, you have some cards zeroed out and some with a balance. You don’t get within $500-$1000 of your credit limit, you’re a home owner and probably make about $60k-$80K a year w/one income or $110K-$125K dual. Am I close? Also remember that person wants YOUR business so they are going to stroke you pretty good! LOL!

      • Mike B. August 24, 2013 at 6:35AM

        Chris has most of the story correct. Married for 26 years, a dual income of around $110,00, 6 credit cards paid off monthly, a couple of bucks in the bank and a home mortgage for 12 years almost paid off. I leased a car the other day and was very surprised to see my credit score of 864. I’m not Warren Buffett. I’m old Joe America. 45-50 hours per week of work for the last 34 years and being responsible.

      • lj October 11, 2013 at 5:22PM

        you hit this correct good guess I am impress

      • William George Wardino December 11, 2013 at 10:33AM

        I had a credit score of 830 at one time. Then I had to charge some things and make payments over a two-year period. My score is lower now, but better than acceptable. I am told to keep credit card debt below 50% of limit and all will be well.

      • Sherry Wilson December 30, 2013 at 9:18AM

        My credit score is 802 and I have lived on disability for about 16 years (I am 38 years old). I am so far from earning 60K – 80K it’s ridiculous. haha I have a mortgage (50K) and have paid off my car. I’ve had lot’s of credit cards and a few loans but have paid all of them off (except the mortgage loan). I’ve never been late paying my bills. Just goes to show how important it is to establish credit, no matter how little and to NEVER be late paying those creditors! You don’t have to be rich to have excellent credit! 110K-125K is rich to me ;)

  25. Joey June 3, 2013 at 1:39PM

    I had to do a short sale on my home due to losing a good paying job. My car payment is never late & I have no credit cards… I’m sure the short sale hit me but not as much as a foreclosure, my credit score is 521.

    • SonnyB August 16, 2013 at 7:50AM

      I’d count on cash for the next couple of years 521 is riding a hooptie.

  26. alaina June 1, 2013 at 6:56AM

    I’m not sure about the whole race thing….along with income, debt=to=income ratio, and low balances there is another line of letters that can indicate things like sex, race, location, etc.

    When I was in college my score was 580 and I had 0 credit cards. In my senior year, I got a cc to help, barely used paid it off every month – no change. After I graduated and started paying off my student loans and got a credit card it raised to a mere 600. What am I doing wrong? Now, years later, I have a car, student loans and 2 low ccs – paying all on time. I use credit karma to monitor. It’s 620 – again what am I missing?

    • Jason June 11, 2013 at 3:07PM

      Dude, drop credit Karma. It’s sweet because it’s free but it’s way off. Have credit karma which says my score is a 572, I also have credit inform through one of my credit cards, it’s gives an actual score (I believe trans union) and it is 693.

    • Chris Green August 23, 2013 at 12:06PM

      Do you have a mortgage? A college degree? Do you live in Detroit? You might want to pull a TransUnion, Experian or Equifax report. When you make your payments is it at the last minute? Or even late? Two or three lates a year will cost you about 100 points or 720 which is where you should be with your credentials.

  27. kevin April 23, 2013 at 5:14PM

    Actually the average US credit score is approx 678. Many of these comments are old and dont take into account the foreclosure and umemployment issues which over the last few years have ruined the credit for many.

    My credit score is 759 and when I spoke with the bank to see if I qualified for the $800,000 loan on a house I wanted, they said ‘jumbo’ loans are based on a score of about 700 so it really doesn’t matter how much higher your score may be. what matters is your income, debt to income ratio and credit score – not just the score. btw: Yes, with a 759 I got the loan but to be honest, all I needed as a 700 to get it, anything over doest matter according to 4 different loan officers from Chase to Citimortgage

    • Tim April 25, 2013 at 9:06AM

      Not all creditors work the same. I just checked into a refinance on my home and the company I talked with offered a lower interest rate at 760 while mine was at 748. For that large of a loan just a .3 percent rate change can save thousands. But they also could not tell me (or would not) what the loan acceptance was based on. I understand though they used the score as the sole means to determine the rate they would give. I opted to wait and get my score up a little more (just pay off some credit cards while keeping them open is all I needed to bring it up that much). So after a few months I will be ready with a better score as long as the government holds the current rate that is. If they intend to raise it I will jump in with the current rate ASAP.

  28. c March 22, 2013 at 2:48PM

    This was a very interesting article. I am 35 with a score of 811 and have always paid loans off early and have paid balance of my credit cards every month.

    • thad June 12, 2013 at 8:37AM

      Same with me.

      • Chris August 23, 2013 at 12:12PM

        Then you both must have incomes in the six digit figures which drives your score up because how you “behave” is not getting you in the low 800′s. If banks and lenders can’t make any money you’re not that “attractive” to them unless your income is $200K+.

  29. bb March 8, 2013 at 10:53PM

    19 here with a credit score of 753! I have my dad to thank for that. I just pulled my credit report and Ive been building credit for 7 years! to any of you around my age trying to start off right do what my parents and I did….my dad had a macys credit card and put me under his account when i was 12. he always made his payments on time. So by the time I applied for credit at my FCU I had a score of 760 (ish) its dropped a bit for a few reasons but I can still work to make it higher.

    • bb March 8, 2013 at 10:59PM

      also, I have read a few comments on here (not all but most) and I cant believe how ignorant some people can be! FICO is not a game its a formula. Your credit score isnt by how well you make your payments. It has to do with how many accounts you have open..your income, the balance you owe, the amount of credit you have available, the variety of accounts (store credit cards, mortgage, loans,…) etc. Usually your local bank, fcu offers classes and courses about how credit works. I suggest most of you inform yourselves and attend.

      • peteh4 April 19, 2013 at 8:47AM

        inform yourself, fico does not factor your income

      • rj April 21, 2013 at 7:05AM

        Despise internet bullies like you…bet you’re a real a*hole in person..know it all and the negative character list could go on and on.

      • bb April 28, 2013 at 10:16PM

        Yes youre right, my mistake!

        And how am I bullying? I’m simply giving advice. I dont know it all thats why I like to inform myself rather than being ignorant, whiny, and complain for things I shouldnt. Youre the a**hole.

    • Zeroed Out June 3, 2013 at 7:36PM

      How is that even legal? Credit shouldn’t start until you’re of legal age, because you could technically dispute anything negative that was caused when you were a minor while keeping all the good stuff. Plus, if you had used that card, you wouldn’t have been liable for anything you paid for with it because — again — you were a minor.

      I do know it’s possible, according to Experian, but it sounds more like you got lucky and slipped through the cracks. Plus, many minors simply couldn’t be trusted with that responsibility.

      • Joanthan June 23, 2013 at 3:54PM

        “Plus, many minors simply couldn’t be trusted with that responsibility.”

        Exactly. And if they CAN, then why shouldn’t it be allowed for them to help build up their credit? He certainly didn’t slip through the cracks, my mom had me on two different cards, a Sears Mastercard and a Discover card. The Sears was earlier, I think around when I got my permit, maybe earlier, the Discover was sometime after I got my license at 16 cause I did nearly all the food shopping. I also knew the pin on her debit card and used that extensively. She trusted me, I kept the trust, and it got on my credit history, and then my score, as she never missed a single payment.

        She co-signed a one-year loan for my 2nd motorcycle that I had $600 down on and $1600 loaned when I was 17. After this I was set. When I was 19 I bought a used ’05 Kia Spectra for $7000 out the door, no down, 5.99 or 6.99% APR (can’t remember) on a 3-year loan. Now I’m almost 22, car is paid off (early), FICO score is 741 as of March, and I’m starting to look into buying a $70-$80k 2 or 3 bedroom home as I’m getting tired of renting.

      • Hope July 9, 2013 at 8:38PM

        I was in this same boat. My mom added me to a Visa account when I was 16 for getting gas and whatnot, but the account was already about 6 years old at that time. By the time I was 18 I was listed on an account that had been active for 8 years. It’s not something my mom had thought about honestly. When I pulled my credit report in my early twenties I noticed an account in my name that was much older than should have been possible for someone my age. I’m not complaining, but it’s honestly not a bad idea to do that for your kids if possible.

    • Chris August 23, 2013 at 12:17PM

      I wouldn’t be going out on blogs and bragging about that. That is unethical and will eventually catch up with you.

      • Sue September 21, 2013 at 8:20AM

        Chris, I don’t think your half the expert you think you are. I have never had half of a six figure income, use zero percent for (X)months cc all the time, ( ex. Remodel kitchen divide cost by 12, pay that per month, remodel paid for w/o refi), pay cc in full/on time, pay cash/debit for lots of things, pay Everything On Time, upped my house payment and changed repayment to weekly to pay it off sooner ($183000/15 yrs, 3 left), when I bought my car, 2010, my credit score was over 900, the guy said I could basically walk out w/o signing for it. I have advised my daughter,19, on how to improve her credit score using these methods. I consigned a lease for her because her score was 619. I told her to get a visa and a dept. store cc. And to use them each month and pay the balances in full. She now wants to purchase/re lease a vehicle and her credit union said no problem, her credit score is now 720. It is not unethical for a parent to get their child started in the right direction. What is unethical is unresponsible adults buying homes that they know they can’t afford, banks loaning money on homes they know ppl can’t afford, and everyone refusing to take responsibility for their choices. Blame it on the economy? I came thru the worst of this recession with my better half on disability pay of $162 a week! It’s called buckling down, kids pitching in, praying and counting your blessings!

  30. Brandon March 5, 2013 at 3:28PM

    Wow… I am almost 30 and have just started trying to repair my stupid credit mistakes and I’m reading these for extra help…. very confusing with all the back and forth . I have almost finished paying off my car and would like to know what card to get, best rate for my 600 score and how to purchase and pay the balances????

    • Shellie April 2, 2013 at 10:13AM

      Brandon,

      I was in the same boat as you until I tried myfico.com. They have what turns out to be an awesome tool that shows you which debts, collections etc. to pay off first and how many points you can expect to earn for each one. Three months ago my score was 545 and today I just learned it is 631. It’s not a great score, but it is projected to be about 710 by the end of the year if I only keep doing the same one thing I am doing now- and I am not busting the bank with my fingers crossed to pay off old “debt” from a previous case of identity fraud while hoping it “might’ help my score.

    • rj April 21, 2013 at 7:09AM

      Never too late to improve Brandon. At least you admit you are human and have made mistakes, trust me, we all make mistakes no matter our age! :) Keep up the good work, you’ll get there. Get a capital one or Orchard card, not a real high credit limit but good for someone trying to obtain a card and I believe they accept applicants with that credit score. Altho Capital One recently took over Orchard, not 100% sure about that one. You may want to check them out online before applying so the hard pull on your credit report won’t lower your score.

    • Tim April 25, 2013 at 9:17AM

      Shop around. There are many cards out there and many that offer a zero percent rate for a set time on balance transfers. While holding several cards will help raise your score you must make payments on schedule and keep the cards paid down or paid off in order for it to help your score. A gas card is handy as long as you keep it payed off. Easy to use at the pumps and will help your credit and also easy to get. However it is very important not to let the bill get up there but keep them payed off. Cards change their offers often so watch for offers. Use the internet to search for no yearly fees and low rates. If you keep them payed off early then the rates will not mean much.

      More available credit and lower debt against them are important. Making on time payments is even more important. DON”T BE LATE! Pay early if you are forgetful then by all means purchase software (like Quickens) to keep your accounts balanced and schedule those monthly payments to even utility companies. Medical bills and utilities can go against your record just like a loan or rent can if you do not make the schedule.

    • Chris August 23, 2013 at 12:31PM

      Try the new Discover IT. Apply now before the car is paid off. They might give you a balance transfer promo with an interest rate below your car loan so you can pay it off.

    • Sue September 21, 2013 at 8:30AM

      Brandon, go to your bank and ask if they would approve you for a visa/MasterCard, even if they put a limit of $500, and a higher interest rate on it. At this point you just want to prove that you will,be responsible with it. Once you obtain a credit card, use it at least once a month, but do not EVER go over the limit and ALWAYS pay the balance off each month. If you pay it off each month the interest rate doesn’t matter. Do this for a year, then check your score. It also helps if u have a utility or cable bill in your name on autopay. If you can’t get a visa, get a gas or kohls card, they are easier to get and be sure and pay them on time. This repair process takes time, but it will work.

  31. Better Off March 4, 2013 at 3:25PM

    Despite all the hype about credit it is not needed to survive, you can have an extremely low credit score and still do anything someone with a high score can mine is 559 and I have bought and paid for both a Home ($134,000 Value) and 2 cars(So what one’s a Mazda =p ) and have set my kids up accounts for college, just remember no one likes to turn down Cash because CASH IS KING! You can get any type of loan you want with a reasonable down payment so IMO screw Credit reports live happy with a Bank Debit card and save up for the things you need loans for.

  32. julez March 2, 2013 at 6:05PM

    Do yourself a favor, pay all your credit cards off and cut them up. I did this 10 years ago and have put enough in my bank equal to any credit card I could sign for and now I am my own credit. Cars? I buy mine in cash and pay back my savings. Live this way and you’ll be happier than anyone here.

    • Chris August 23, 2013 at 12:28PM

      Good advice until you get really sick. Hospitals can drain a savings account in three to four days even with health insurance. And with no credit score or a low credit score the hospital MAY be reluctant to admit you! All one way or the other isn’t always the answer. Even Warren Buffet has credit debt. The best advice is to be prudent. Don’t exceed your means.

  33. Alex February 28, 2013 at 9:20PM

    I’m 48. I keep trying to care about my FICO score, but then I get hungry.

  34. jedison February 15, 2013 at 6:59AM

    Mine is a 637. I want to get to 750. Can someone help me pay some of my bills off?

  35. Sharon February 4, 2013 at 9:35AM

    I was the victim of identity theft TWICE. “Flagging” the credit with the three reporting agencies is a joke. Sending them the police report, the Federal Trade Commission Report and the FBI report didn’t help either. The theft took place in 2005 & 2006. I have been clawing my way up since, spending hours and hours of my time cleaning up my credit. Getting inquiries and reports removed. I should start a business on what to do. I’m 47, have bought and sold my home, have a parent plus student loan, and my credit score can get no highter than 697. It’s embarassing, but it is what it is. The person that stole my credit lives on [removed]. Stop by and tell her the REAL Sharon says hello.

    • Chris August 23, 2013 at 12:42PM

      Good luck Sharon. We are vigilant as well and have only had purchases on existing accounts that we had to dispute and have removed. We learned not to “store” card numbers on things like I-Tunes which got hacked into and they charged $350. That movie “Identity Thief” was very condescending. There are businesses that do this for a living. You could try Credit Lock or just do it yourself. You can freeze all three and not allow anything “new” created without your knowledge. I’m sure you are aware that all your information is still getting “passed around”.

  36. Lauren January 26, 2013 at 9:00PM

    I just turned 21 and don’t have any loans in my name and paid cash for my car but my credit score just was ran and I have a 767. I do have a credit card but I pay it off every month along with car insurance. I’m not sure how to keep raising it.

  37. Jose Pereira January 8, 2013 at 9:19PM

    I always have paid my credit cards at time, before due date.

    Why my credit score FICO is 750 instead of 800 or more ?

    • Kerri January 24, 2013 at 6:03AM

      A credit score is not like a school test where you start with 100% then get deductions for errors. You have to EARN the credit score. Paying off all cards every month is a great start! And your score reflects that, 750 is quite good! Other things that will make it higher are time (big factor!) and other loans (mortgages, car loans). A credit score is the bank’s way of determining if you are a good investment. The only way to show them that is through time and consistency. You are doing great! Keep it up.

  38. Vince November 22, 2012 at 4:06PM

    My parent have the Highest Credit available, no limits whatsoever. If they had a limit it would be over $350,000

    • Chris August 23, 2013 at 12:59PM

      What’s your point?

  39. lasthought November 16, 2012 at 2:20PM

    The ending of this article is basically crazy accurate. I just turned 26 and my score as of today is 765. Plus I just got a new car by financing. 800 here I come!

    • Tie-rone November 20, 2012 at 7:28PM

      There is also a huge difference among races. Just ask my credit bureau

      • Ju wanna November 26, 2012 at 3:32PM

        Yes obviously your credit does not show your race. stop being mad at the world and accept whatever credit you have and don’t blame it on the color of your skin, blame it on whether you pay your bills or not.

      • OverIT February 1, 2013 at 8:54AM

        As far as I know computers are colorblind…

      • rj April 21, 2013 at 7:12AM

        thanks for that crazy comment of the day…lol hmmm

  40. Mason November 9, 2012 at 3:01AM

    I am 19 years old and have a credit score of 664. I’ve been working my arse off on getting into the seven hundreds by the time I have graduated from college. That way I can get a low interest rate on a home..

  41. ben October 22, 2012 at 11:09AM

    My FICO score is very high. It’s 1045 (it goes over the limit). I was told by the banks that I could get up to $5000000 loans with 1.99% interest. I just feel sorry for those people with score of under 800. It is just tough to get anything with that score these days.

    • Connor October 25, 2012 at 6:27PM

      Funny, because the max FICO is 850. Additionally, the amount in loans you can get has very little to do with your credit score.

    • chris October 26, 2012 at 8:50AM

      Dude, did you read the article? Your theoretical max FICO score is 850. There isn’t FICO extra credit. It has to be between 300 – 850 or it isn’t a FICO score you’re looking at. I look at about 10 customer credit reports on average per day at work. I have NEVER seen a FICO score of 850 and very rarely in the 840s…and I live in MN, the state the article cited as the highest average credit score state.

    • Melody December 12, 2012 at 8:01AM

      Ben, you are totally incorrect about your FICO score…the max score you can have is 850, so is you were told that you have a score of 1045, you were lied to…I hope you didn’t pay whomever it was that gave you that information.

      • Juli February 11, 2013 at 1:35PM

        Sound like Ben has confused his FICO score with his SAT score :/

    • mike January 20, 2013 at 7:01AM

      seriously. i hope your joking otherwise your just gloating and adding nothing of note.

    • OverIT February 1, 2013 at 8:55AM

      Yeah, I had a dream I could fly…

    • Tim March 7, 2013 at 3:15AM

      My douche bag meter went over the top reading your comment.

    • rj April 21, 2013 at 7:14AM

      hope the mother ship zooms down and picks you up today Ben, takes you back to the planet you’re from :-)

      • bb April 28, 2013 at 10:18PM

        look whos the bully making fun of people

      • xela May 22, 2013 at 7:56AM

        haaaa he got u there rj, good job bb

        also ben was obviously joking, not gloating, not being a douche, and not an alien ;D

    • Joe May 23, 2013 at 1:16PM

      Take another Hit

    • beavis May 28, 2013 at 6:08PM

      troll

    • Chris August 23, 2013 at 1:06PM

      You do realize that when the Internet was invented it was the death of B&*LL
      S&(T? 1045? How many zeroes on the loan? $5mil? Are you a drug dealer? Maybe 1045 is your DEA score! LOL! And maybe you just like to stir up a bunch of bloggers and watch them squirm. LOL! Ooops! recess is over. Gotta get back to class. LMAO!

  42. daniel October 21, 2012 at 2:49PM

    I got qualified for 3.99% on Discover and a 4.99% on car loan with $16k debt. my score is 668 and I’m 20.

    • Andrae November 1, 2012 at 3:10PM

      Wow..16k at age 20.. Thats bad

      • Mike January 3, 2013 at 7:02AM

        16k at 20 is not terrible if you’re going to school. Average private institution worth a damn in America has got to be around 35-45k a year in tuition. The school I went to is now 51k a year and is not Ivy League! Parents’ college savings cant keep up with that kind of tuition inflation. My parents unfortunately could not contribute a penny to my education and my siblings and I are first generation college grads. Some times you have to invest in yourself.

      • rj April 21, 2013 at 7:18AM

        Not bad at all Mike! Keep up the good work, 1st generation college family, something to be very proud of and great incentive to keep moving forward!! Many people on this site and others like them posting such negative and judgemental comments probably only wish they were educated instead of posting negative comments on blogs going nowhere in life! :)

  43. janey October 11, 2012 at 2:07PM

    My going “cash only” and having NO credit cards for a few years? It did so much damage to my credit score that it’s not even funny. I had a bogus collection get added to my report for a cell phone plan in another state that I never had, and my score dropped into the low 500s. I got it removed, but the damage had been done. Now 5 years later I can’t break any higher than 680. No late payments, ratio is good, things paid off. But can’t break that 680 limit.

    The whole FICO game is so annoying.

  44. Bennidhamma September 13, 2012 at 11:48AM

    Thanks for the useful write up. Couldn’t help but notice though, that you say “By the time you are 25 to 27, in my personal opinion there is really no excuse for not having an 800 or close to it” on this page, and the page you link to you say “Even though I first hit 800 in my mid-twenties, that is extremely rare and for most, they may not hit that number ‘til their thirties.”

    Seems a bit inconsistent. I’m 34, and pretty happy with my 728 score. But I would of course be much happier with an 800…

    • Michael September 13, 2012 at 12:49PM

      You’re very welcome! Yep it is extremely rare for people to hit 800 in their mid-twenties, but there’s no excuse why people can’t achieve it (or get close to it) at that age, if they take the right steps. Does that make sense?

  45. gabrielle August 25, 2012 at 8:47AM

    Yea my score is 592. No one will give me credit to higher it

    • Thissguy August 29, 2012 at 9:23AM

      You can get a secured credit card and/or a Capital One card. You will start out with a low limit and literally build your credit up.

      • christel November 9, 2012 at 4:58AM

        Yes capital one has a credit steps program, you make your payments on time for eight months you get an increase i went from 500 to 1500

  46. Tracer July 13, 2012 at 1:48PM

    Sarah is right about carrying a small balance. I got my first credit card because I had been with Wells Fargo for six years, and the banker told me to keep at least $5 at the end of each pay period. Just having a credit card made my score jump by almost 100 points, allowing me to get a loan.
    **The trick is not having NO debt, it’s showing you know how to manage it.** I found this out the hard way after 10 years of paying for things free-and-clear, and often with cash. Go ahead and ring up a small, manageable bill. It will help you in the long run.

    • Michael July 13, 2012 at 7:43PM

      There’s no need to carry a balance. The total amount due on your monthly statement is what usually gets reported to the credit bureaus. So as long as you are using your card each month, there will be a balance shown even if you always pay the bill in full.

    • Alpha September 2, 2012 at 7:47PM

      I learned the hard way like many other individuals. If you just pay off the card in full every month, the only people getting worked over is the bank, not yourself. Same game, different outcome.:)

  47. Mike June 20, 2012 at 12:40PM

    The credit score is so mis-interpreted. If you pay it off every month, yes your score will be good but it will NEVER be perfect because the credit companies can’t make money off of you. The score has nothing to do with whether you can or cannot afford something. It’s an index for credit companies to assess whether they will make their money back,and it’s their equation, so they make sure people who borrow just right, and pay it off over time [i.e. interest] get great scores. That is who they want to lend to.

    • chris October 26, 2012 at 9:04AM

      I don’t think that’s the case, Mike. The score doesn’t indicate if they can make money off you. In fact, lenders make more money off lower credit score people, not the higher ones. Higher score means less risk, not more money.
      The score is an indication of how likely you are to make a late payment based on past history and credit patterns. A company like Fair Isaac, the company responsible for the FICO score, is a third party that evaluates credit. Credit scores aren’t generated by Capital One, Wells Fargo, Citibank, or any of these other creditors. Fair Isaac and other third parties collect data from these creditors to generate a score based on their credit models. Basically, they are predicting the likelihood of a late payment or default.

    • John December 20, 2012 at 2:30PM

      Wrong. It is based far more on “on time” payments, and percentage of credit used vs. credit available for revolving accounts. Banks make plenty of money of those who pay monthly with fees paid by the stores that accept the cards as payment.

  48. Les May 28, 2012 at 5:11AM

    I have a credit score of 830 and I don’t get any better interest rate than anyone else. I put everything on my credit card and pay it all off every month. I have never missed a payment nor have I ever been late on a payment – makes me think this whole thing is just a scam by the banks – they CAN do anything they want, they just don’t.

    • CCJS June 15, 2012 at 1:07AM

      If you pay the balance off every month then who cares if you’re getting a better or worse rate. I would say the rates change for bigger purchases like cars and houses. I pay mine off every month too and don’t even care what the rate is because it doesn’t apply. We get to use their money interest free for a month, whats better than that? So really its 0 percent.

      • Sarah July 5, 2012 at 1:30PM

        Something Mike, Les, and CCJS all have in common is they pay off their balances each month. As weird as this is going to seem if you want to raise your credit score carry a balance. Not a huge one about 1-10% is ideal. Here is the reasoning behind this. If you pay off your cards every month it is seen as you don’t really need the credit and you are just using the cards for rebates, points or whatever benefits. If you manage a balance and make your payments on time you are seen as being able to manage credit. You also have to have a good mix of credit 3-4 credit cards, an installment loan(car), and ideally a mortgage. Try it for 3 or 4 months and see if you notice a difference in your scores. Yes, you will be paying some interest on the cards, but that is the game. Is it fair? No, but it is still good to know the rules and then you can decide what is more important to at the time.

    • Jon July 25, 2012 at 1:17PM

      You are quite misinformed. The interest rates given are decided by the national interest rate. I also worked at a bank and your credit gets ran through a system called “Chek Systems” that runs your history to see if you owe any banks any money. People like you are the ones screaming at the banker because they can’t open an account. Your talking to the messenger 99% of the time.

      • Alpha September 2, 2012 at 7:49PM

        I agree totally.

    • Alpha September 2, 2012 at 7:51PM

      I agree.

    • Jim May 3, 2013 at 3:44PM

      it also depends on ‘how much’ credit you have. Theres a billion young people who have paid one or two credit cards on time with a score of 700+, but that doesn’t mean anything. Banks are looking for someone with a paid off car loan, mortgages, etc along with open credit lines without too much debt on them and long credit history.

  49. Neil January 3, 2012 at 11:25PM

    I’ve pretty much given up on trying to decipher between the different score types (FICO vs. Plus Score) because the companies that market/sell scores practically try to confuse us consumers by misleading us with their different types of scores. All I can do is pay off my balance on a monthly basis and go from there.

Leave a Comment

*