Average American Credit Score Highest in 12 Years
The FICO credit score ranks consumers’ credit-worthiness on a scale of 300 (poor credit) to 850 (excellent credit). The FICO score is the most widely accepted credit score used by lenders and other financial institutions. The average FICO score hit a record-high, reaching 700 for the first since tracking began 12 years ago.
Low unemployment, appreciating home values, and steady economic growth are all signs of economic recovery. Since 2005, the average FICO score has always registered in the “good credit” range, ranking between 670 and 739. The average FICO score fluctuated up and down during the financial crisis and recession. Since October 2013, the average score has been steadily rising from 690.
As the average FICO credit score improves, the number of consumers with very high credit (800+) has increased and the number of consumers on the lower end (600 and below) has decreased. Lenders can impose their own restrictions on what is considered “good” credit. Credit is also relative to the national economic environment. As the overall economy recovered, consumers took conservative actions to improve their credit score, thus contributed to the average rising.
Credit monitoring and awareness encourage better borrowing and spending habits. FICO vice presidentfor scores and analytics Ethan Dornhelm attributes to improvement to consumers, “As consumers become more educated about the actions they can take to improve their score, we're seeing the average score rise.”