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What Is Considered an Average Credit Score?

What Is Considered an Average Credit Score?; While every lender, landlord, and employer has its own credit score requirements, it can be helpful to know what an average credit score looks like.
Jacqueline DeMarco
Jacqueline DeMarcoUpdated May 14, 2021
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
Knowing where you stand creditwise can be really helpful when it comes time to shop for a loan, apply for a credit card, look for a new job, or rent an apartment. While every lender, landlord, and employer has its own credit score requirements, it can be helpful to know what an average credit score looks like. Keep reading to learn more about what the average credit score is, what a good credit score is, and how to give your credit score a boost. 

What is the Average Credit Score?

The credit score that most of us are familiar with is a FICO®, which can range anywhere from 300 to 850. Credit reporting agency Experian found that the average credit score in America was 711 as of 2020. In general, credit scores have been rising during the last decade and even rose throughout 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic, which caused financial hardship for many consumers. 

What are the Average Scores By Age?

It takes time to build a credit score and your stage of life may correlate with how strong your score is. Generally, the older a consumer is, the better his or her credit habits and credit score are likely to be. If you analyze average credit scores by age, those who are 75 and older tend to have the highest average FICO® scores. Let’s look more closely at what the average credit score is for different generations. 
  • Generation Z (born 1996-2015): 674
  • Millennials (born 1981-1995): 680
  • Generation X (born 1965-1980): 699
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964): 736
  • The silent generation (born 1928-1945): 758
Across the board, consumer’s credit scores tend to grow higher as they get older. That's in part because making responsible credit moves over extended periods of time help improve credit scores. 

What is Considered a Decent Credit Score?

So you may be wondering whether the national average credit score is good or whether it’s less than stellar. Generally, for a FICO® Score to be considered “good,” it needs to be at least 670. While not all lenders need to see a score this high, many do. A score of 711, the current average, is well within the “good” range. And generally, about 21% of Americans have what is considered a good credit score. For reference, FICO® scores fall into a variety of categories that range both higher and lower than “good.” 
  • 800-850: Exceptional
  • 740-799: Very good
  • 670-739: Good
  • 580-669: Fair
  • 300-579: Very poor
Generally, the higher your credit score is, the more likely you are to get larger loan amounts, lower interest rates, and better repayment terms. When you’re applying for insurance, having a higher credit score can lead to lower insurance prices, and when you’re applying to rent an apartment, if you’ve got a good credit score, you may stand out when you’re compared to  competing applicants. 

What is a Credit Score?

Your credit score is based on your credit history and serves as an indicator of how creditworthy you’re assessed to be. Although FICO® scores are used by many lenders, it’s worth knowing that consumers don’t have just one credit score, since different companies can use their own credit scoring models. Credit scores are generally calculated using the following information about your financial life:
  • Payment history 
  • Outstanding credit balances 
  • Length of credit history 
  • Applications for new credit accounts 
  • Mix of credit accounts (credit card, auto loan, et cetera) 
Your credit score may be used in many different scenarios, but it typically comes into play in situations where someone needs to evaluate your credit risk. Creditors commonly use a credit score to help determine their risk when they lend money to a consumer. In some cases, credit scores are used to evaluate how financially responsible a consumer is, which is why some landlords and employers may want to review your credit score. 

How to Improve Your Credit Score

Before you put your credit score to the test, you may be wondering how to improve it. While there’s no set formula you can follow to raise your credit score a certain amount by a certain date, there are recommended steps you can take to boost your credit score over time. Building a strong credit score doesn’t happen overnight and some of these actions may require time to really take effect, although others can have a quicker impact. Pay bills and loans on time. A history of missed payments doesn’t instill faith in lenders, which is why it’s important to pay your bills and loan payments on time. Setting up automatic payments or reminders to pay these bills can make it easier to avoid missing any payments. Keep credit utilization low. The less credit you’re using compared to how much you have available, the better. Keeping credit balances low (at less than 30% of your limit) helps assure potential lenders that you’re able to pay their bills. Paying off the balance on a credit account, like a credit card, each month can help keep this ratio low. While it can be tempting to close out credit cards that you’re not using, if there’s no annual fee attached to a card, keeping it open can help keep your credit utilization rates low since you’re not using the credit even though it’s available.Have a long credit history. This tip requires patience, but having a long credit history can help improve your credit score. Basically, the longer you’ve been making good credit decisions like paying loans on time, the more evidence there is that you’re a responsible borrower. Only apply for necessary credit. If you’ve recently applied for a lot of credit in a short time period, lenders may worry that your financial situation is in flux. If you’re getting ready to apply for important credit (like a mortgage), you may want to hold off on applying for any other credit that you don’t really need in order to avoid temporarily hurting your credit score. Check your credit reports for errors. Credit reports can have mistakes and these mistakes can hurt credit scores. Checking your credit report for errors can be worthwhile since they can be corrected. Not to mention, mistakes on your credit report may be a sign of identity theft. If you think a mistake occurred, you’ll need to contact both the credit reporting company that made the report and the company that provided the information to the credit reporting agency. For example, if your credit report inaccurately states that you’re overdue on a credit card payment, you’ll need to let the credit reporting company know you believe a mistake has been made and will also need to contact the credit card company to make sure it updates the credit reporting company about the error. 

The Takeaway

Having a strong credit score reflects good financial health and can make the best deals on credit products more accessible. To learn more about how different credit products work, Lantern offers simple and straightforward money tips that explain personal loans, credit cards, mortgages, student loan refinancing, auto loan refinancing, and other important financial topics. When it does come time to apply for financial products, Lantern makes it easy by providing a wide range of financial products at different pricing options to members. Fill out one simple form to compare offers from Lantern’s partners.

About the Author

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco

Jacqueline DeMarco is a personal finance writer and editor based in Southern California. While she spends the bulk of her time writing about complex financial issues, she also tackles a variety of subjects ranging from food to fashion to travel. Her work can be found across dozens of publications such as Credit Karma, LendingTree, Northwestern Mutual, The Everygirl, and Apartment Therapy.
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