The Average Credit Score By State
Credit scores affect almost every aspect of your life. It's used when you apply for a mortgage, a car loan, and a credit card. Even landlords and cell phone companies take your credit into consideration when you're getting approved. How does your credit score stack up against the people in your state? What about the country? Let's take a look at the data.
The average credit score across the entire United States was 675 in 2017, according to Experian's 2017 State of Credit Study.
The data is based on the VantageScore 3.0, which generates credit scores on a range from 300 to 850.
It's pretty well known that higher credit scores are better, but breaking down the credit score into brackets brings more clarity to specific credit score numbers.
VantageScore Rating Categories
- 781 - 850: Super prime
- 661 - 780: Prime
- 601 - 660: Near Prime
- 500 - 600: Subprime
- 300 - 499: Deep subprime
States With the Highest and Lowest Average Credit Scores
Minnesota has the highest average credit score at 709. Mississippi has the lowest average credit score at 647.
The rest of the top 10 states with the highest average credit score are: Vermont (702), New Hampshire (701), South Dakota (700), Massachusetts (699), North Dakota (697), Wisconsin (696), Iowa (695), Nebraska (695), Hawaii (693). These credit scores are all considered Prime on the VantageScore scale. Consumers with Prime credit scores often have an easier time getting approved for credit and will receive more favorable terms when they're approved.
As for the other 9 states with the lowest average credit scores: Louisiana (650), Georgia (654), Alabama (654), Nevada (655), Texas (656), Oklahoma (656), South Carolina (657), Arkansas (657), and West Virginia (658). On the VantageScore scale, these credit scores are considered Near Prime. It may be more difficult to get approved for credit and higher interest rates are more likely.
Does geography play a role in credit scores? It may seem so based on the data. Seven of the top 10 states with the highest average credit score are in the upper Midwest while 9 of the 10 states with the lowest average credit score are located in the Southeast.
Of course, while your address is included in your credit report, it isn't a factor in your credit score. Only information directly related to your borrowing and payment habits is included in your credit score. Payment history is the most influential factor in the VantageScore calculation. It's also 35% of your FICO score. Age and types of credit used and percent of credit limit uses are highly influential in the VantageScore. Total balances and debt are moderately influential. The least influential factors are Recent credit behavior and inquiries and available credit.
|District of Columbia||670|
Tips for Improving Your Credit Score
You can work toward improving your credit score no matter where you live. Since payment history is the biggest factor influencing your credit score, paying your bills on time is the best thing you can do to improve your credit score. Catch up on past due accounts and take care of debt collections.
Minimize the amount of credit you're using. Having high credit card balances will also bring your credit score down. While it's easier on the budget to pay just the minimum on your credit cards each month, that's not the best thing for your credit. Work on paying down your credit card balances to below 30% of the credit limit. The lower the better. Maintaining extremely low credit cards balances will help boost your credit score.
Apply for new credit only as needed.
While each new credit card will ding your credit a little, the real harm in opening several credit cards is the risk of running up large balances and missing payments. Minimize the number of credit cards you apply for.
Monitor your credit score using a free credit scoring service like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, or WalletHub. You can stay up to date on changes to your credit score and learn the factors influencing your credit score. You should also review your full credit report each year by going to AnnualCreditReport.com. Check your credit report to be sure all the information is accurate and dispute any errors with the credit bureaus. A healthy, accurate credit report is also key to improving your credit score.