Your credit score is one of the most powerful indicators of your purchasing and borrowing power. That’s why money expert Clark Howard wants you to do what you can to boost your credit score — but there is no need to obsess over perfection.
Experian’s new Consumer Credit Review shows that credit scores on average are improving.
What Is the Average Credit Score Right Now?
The average credit score is 716, according to Experian. The figure represents a one-point improvement over the past year.
But there may be some potential trouble for your wallet on the horizon. Experian’s report lists several factors that paint a mixed bag for consumer finances. Here’s the good and the bad:
- Good: Unemployment remains low. A new U.S. jobs report says joblessness is at 3.9%.
- Not so good: Incomes aren’t keeping pace with inflation.
- Good: Americans report being largely OK financially.
- Not so good: Concerns are growing that Americans are nearly out of their savings after being flush during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What Are the Average Credit Scores by Generation?
|Generation Z (18-26)||679||680|
|Generation X (43-58)||707||709|
|Baby Boomers (59-77)||742||745|
|Silent Generation (78+)||760||761|
How High Do Credit Scores Go Up?
“There are certain breakpoints where things get easier for you,” Clark says. “One that’s really important is being around a 680. That’s a point at which people look at you differently than when you’re below that.”
“If you can get up to around a 760, you’re going to get the same benefits, the same offers, that someone who has an 840 score is going to get,” she adds.
Tip: Don’t obsess over achieving an 800 credit score and certainly not a perfect 850. Clark says, “Your goal is from wherever you are right now, to try to move that number up. But once you get to 760, just give it a rest. My credit score is somewhere around an 818. That’s higher than I need.”
How To Increase Your Credit Score
If your credit score is nowhere near those cited above, don’t worry. There are several ways to raise it.
Clark says the two biggest ways to increase your credit score are to:
- Make all of your payments on time.
- Keep your credit utilization rate low. (That’s the percentage of how much of your available credit you’re using.)
“Thirty percent of your available credit is where you want to be,” Clark says. “So, in the example of $10,000 in credit, [you want to have] no more than $3,000 in use. If you go above 50%, your credit goes diving off a cliff.”