Credit

The Average Credit Score in America

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Although the U.S. economy has suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many consumers have been able to improve a major component of their financial lives over the past several months.

What Is the Average Credit Score?

The average FICO Score in the U.S. is 716, which is five points higher than the last FICO Score report in October 2020 and eight points higher than in April 2020. FICO’s blog attributes this to several factors: a growing economy, historic home price appreciation, equity market performance and lender payment programs.

Here’s a look at average credit scores since 2016:

Month/YearAverage FICO Credit Score
April 2021716
October 2020713
April 2020708
October 2019706
April 2019706
October 2018705
April 2018704
October 2017701
April 2017700
October 2016699
April 2016699
Source: FICO

What Is a Good Credit Score?

Credit scores can range from 300-850. So what exactly is a “good” credit score? Money expert Clark Howard has an answer:

“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.”

Beverly Harzog, a credit card expert for U.S. News & World Report says an even higher credit score will yield even more results.

“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! 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.

“30% of your available credit is where you want to be,” Clark says in his podcast. “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.”

Ready to boost your credit score in 2021? Follow these five tips.

More Credit Resources From Clark.com:

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This post was last modified on August 27, 2021 8:27 am

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