FICO Scores Reach an All-Time High
The average FICO score in the United States has reached an all-time high. The credit scoring company reports the average American now has a score of 706, up from 700 this time last year.
After the Recession, credit scores plummeted to an average of 686. This is on the low end of “good” for FICO score ranges, but many lenders consider 700 the start of “good” credit. Over the last nine years, FICO scores have steadily risen, with significant increases in the last five years.
What’s driving the increase? FICO notes improvements across several metrics, including:
- Payment history: Accounts 30+ days past due decreased from 25.2% to 19.7% from 2009 to 2019
- Credit utilization: Americans now use an average of 33.5% of their available credit, compared to 46.4% in 2009 (30% is the recommended amount)
- Credit history: The average American now has a credit file that is 222 months old, compared to 204 months
- Credit card balances: The average amount owed is $6,595, down from $6,947 in 2009
The health of the economy may be contributing to improved credit scores, but it is not the only factor. Some feel an increase in credit awareness is a driving force for credit improvement. FICO emphasizes that “the increase in national average FICO® Score is the result of clear improvement in the underlying credit profiles of U.S. consumers, across many of the key aspects of the credit file that are considered by the FICO® Score.”