Credit Score Facts & Statistics: Average Credit Score, Credit Score Range & More [2021]

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Your credit score is one of the most important things you will carry with you throughout your lifetime. It has an impact on almost every big purchase you make but can be affected by almost every little purchase you make.

Understanding exactly what a credit score is, what affects it, what the average credit score is in America, and the basic stats and facts around a credit score are important. In this post, we have pulled together everything you need to know about credit scores in the U.S.

9 Quick Credit Score Facts and Statistics

  1. The average credit score in the U.S. is 716.
  2. The average credit score for Americans ages 23 to 29 is 660.
  3. 80- to 89-year-olds have the highest average credit score of 757.
  4. Low-income families have a median credit score of 658
  5. Asian Americans have the highest credit score of any race at 745.
  6. Black Americans have the lowest credit score of any race at 677.
  7. Men hold a slightly higher credit score than women.
  8. 23.3% of Americans have a credit score in the 800 to 850 range.
  9. Your payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score.

Average Credit Scores

Average Credit Score in America

To get a good idea of where your credit stands, it is also important to know where the average credit score in America sits. According to FICO, the average credit score as of August 2021 is 716. That is 8 points higher than the last time this number was reported back in October 2020.¹

Average Credit Score by Age

A credit score is a number that needs to be built up over time and that is why a lot of younger generations will have lower credit scores. When looking at the average credit score by age you can see the credit scores mostly increase. This is the average credit score by age, according to badcredit.org

Average Credit Score by Age
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

Average Credit Score by Income

It’s not just age that plays a role in your credit score, but you can see differences in credit scores among income levels. According to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, low-income families have a median credit score of 658, moderate-income families have a median credit score of 692, middle-income families have a median credit score of 735, and high-income families have a median credit score of 774.³

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York report also states that credit scores are highly correlated with income and are important both for credit access and for basic necessities, such as renting an apartment or opening a utility account. The median score of 658 in lower-income families suggests that many borrowers are unlikely to have access to affordable credit as those with scores above 720.

Average Credit Score by Race

Asians have the highest average credit score of 745 and Blacks have the lowest at 677. In between those, are non-Hispanic whites at 734, Hispanic whites at 701, and all others at 732.⁴

Average Credit Score by Gender

Men have a slightly higher average credit score than women. The average credit score for men between the ages of 21 and 40 is 781 and for women in that same age range, the average credit score is 774.⁵

What Is a Credit Score and Why Is It Important?

Now that you have a good idea of average credit scores by age, income, race, and gender, we can dig into what exactly a credit score is and why that number is so important.

A credit score predicts how likely you are to pay back a loan on time. A scoring or number model uses information from your credit report to determine a score. Your credit score can range from 300 to 850. The higher your score, the more responsible you seem to lenders and the more likely you are to receive the loan you are applying for.

Credit Score Ranges
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

Score ranges and what they mean:

  • 300 to 579: Poor — Your score is well below the average score of U.S. consumers and demonstrates to lenders that you are a risky borrower.
  • 580 to 669: Fair — Your score is below the average score of U.S. consumers, though many lenders will approve loans with this score.
  • 670 to 739: Good — Your score is near or slightly above the average of U.S. consumers and most lenders consider this a good score.
  • 740 to 799: Very Good — Your score is above the average of U.S. consumers and demonstrates to lenders that you are a very dependable borrower.
  • 800 to 850: Excellent — Your score is well above the average score of U.S. consumers and clearly demonstrates to lenders that you are an exceptional borrower.

As of April 2021, the percentage of Americans who fall into each credit score range is below:

Percent of Americans in each Credit Score Range
Image Credit: Upgraded Points

So where do these numbers come from? A credit score is calculated by using information from your credit report like payment history, the amount of debt you have, and the length of your credit history, but there are different scoring models that go off of different factors.

Different Credit Scoring Models

FICO

The most widely used credit scores are FICO Scores, the credit scores created by Fair Isaac Corporation. 90% of top lenders use FICO Scores to help them make billions of credit-related decisions every year. FICO Scores are calculated based only on information in a consumer’s credit report maintained by the top 3 credit bureaus: EquifaxExperian, and TransUnion.

By comparing this information to the patterns in hundreds of thousands of past credit reports, FICO Scores estimate your level of future credit risk, or how likely you are to repay a loan on time.⁶

FICO scores are generally calculated using 5 categories of information contained in your credit reports, with varying weight given to each:⁷

  • Your payment history (35%)
  • The amounts you owe, or credit utilization (30%)
  • The length of your credit history (15%)
  • The mix of your credit accounts (10%)
  • Your new credit accounts (10%)

VantageScore

VantageScore is a consumer credit rating model developed by the top 3 credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) in 2006 as an alternative to the FICO score model.

Calculated with 6 categories of information contained in your credit reports, VantageScore doesn’t assign percentages to how much weight the categories are given, but instead describes their level of influence:⁷

  • Your payment history (extremely influential)
  • Your credit utilization, or the percentage of your credit limits you’re using (highly influential)
  • The length of your credit history and your mix of credit accounts (highly influential)
  • The amounts you owe (moderately influential)
  • Your recent credit behavior (less influential)
  • Your available credit (less influential)

Who Will Check Your Credit and Why

It is important to keep a high credit score for multiple reasons. Creditors use your credit score to help make a decision on whether you will be able to pay back the money you are requesting to borrow. Your credit is checked when applying for things like a credit card, car loan, mortgage, apartment lease, student loans, etc.

Hard vs. Soft Credit Check

Hard credit checks, or hard inquiries, are when a lender or credit card issuer checks your credit when deciding on whether or not to approve you for the loan you are applying for. Hard credit checks occur when you apply for a mortgage, loan, or credit card. You should always be asked to approve a hard credit check and you should be notified after the credit check is complete. A single hard inquiry won’t have a huge negative impact, but applying for multiple lines of credit in a short period of time could lead to a hit on your credit score and lenders considering you a higher risk.

Soft credit checks, or soft inquiries, happen when a company checks your credit as part of a background check. For example, this may occur when you get credit card offers from your bank or a background check when applying for an apartment. These inquiries will not affect your credit score.

Checking your own credit is a soft credit check and won’t affect your credit. It is always a good idea to know what your credit score is and if it has gone up or down. You can check your credit by visiting sites like annualcreditreport.com. Before entering private information on a site, confirm that the site is legit by doing some research.

Hot Tip: In our article, “What’s the Difference Between a Hard and Soft Credit Check?” we further explain the differences between the 2 types (with common examples of both) and explain how each type will impact your credit.

How To Improve Your Credit Score

There are many ways to improve your credit score if it’s not in the range you would like it to be in.

Here are some things to consider when trying to improve your credit.

  • Don’t miss a payment. Pay all your bills on time every month.
  • Pay down balances on revolving credit accounts.
  • Try to get ahead on past due accounts.
  • Limit the amount of credit you are applying for.

There is no exact timeline for improving your credit score. It all depends on how many negative marks you have on your credit, the types of negative marks, and your current credit score. Be patient and as you start to pay off accounts, small payments are better than missing payments.

Final Thoughts

Whether you have an excellent credit score or are working on rebuilding a bad credit score, it is important to always have a full understanding of how credit scores work and what has or will impact your score.

If you still have additional questions on credit score, keep on reading through our FAQ section for more information or you can leave a comment and ask us below!


Frequently asked questions

Is it free to check my credit?

According to the FTC, you’re entitled to 1 free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the 3 nationwide credit reporting companies. Order online from annualcreditreport.com, the only authorized website for free credit reports, or call 877-322-8228. You will need to provide your name, address, Social Security number, and date of birth to verify your identity.

Which credit score do lenders look at?

When applying for things such as personal loans and credit cards, most lenders will use your FICO Score.

Which credit report is the most accurate?

FICO Scores are what lenders consider the most accurate. The FICO Score is used by more than 90% of major U.S. lenders.

What are the 3 main credit reporting agencies?

The 3 main credit reporting agencies are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

What is a good credit score?

Generally, credit scores between 580 to 669 are considered fair and 670 to 739 are considered good.

How does a person with a bad credit score rebuild their credit?

There is no quick fix to repairing your credit but there are multiple ways to start to rebuild your credit score. You can get a credit card and use it responsibly and pay it off at the end of every month. You can also start to pay off any debts or bills you are behind on.

How long does it take to clear a bad credit history?

According to Equifax, most negative information generally stays on credit reports for 7 years. Bankruptcy stays on your Equifax credit report for 7 to 10 years, depending on the bankruptcy type. Closed accounts paid as agreed stay on your Equifax credit report for up to 10 years.

Alex Miller

About Alex Miller

Alex has been traveling for over 25 years and from a young age was lucky enough to set out on numerous family trips all over the world, which gave him the travel bug. Alex has since earned millions of travel points and miles, mainly through maximizing credit card sign-up bonuses and taking every opportunity to earn the most points possible on each dollar spent.

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