What is the average credit score?

Young man sitting on sofa with his dog and looking up the average credit score on his phoneImage: Young man sitting on sofa with his dog and looking up the average credit score on his phone

In a Nutshell

The average FICO® score in 2019 was 703, but there are other credit scores to consider, too.
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You have more than one credit score — and they might not all be the same.

That makes trying to pinpoint the average credit score a challenge. But when people talk about average credit scores, often they’re referring to FICO® credit scores. And in 2019, the average FICO® Score 8 — the most widely used scoring model — was 703, according to Experian. 

But why do you have so many different credit scores? And what are some of the other average credit scores? 

You don’t have just one credit score

When people say “credit score” they’re usually talking about just one credit score. But the truth is that we all can have multiple credit scores, and they may not all be the same. That’s because there are different credit-scoring models that can be used for the information in each of your credit reports. That’s the reason you have multiple scores. For example, there are industry-specific scores based on the information in your credit reports.

Credit bureaus

Credit-reporting agencies, or credit bureaus, collect your credit history information for your credit report. There are three major consumer credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — and your credit score might be different with each one. Here are some common reasons for that.

  • When credit bureaus receive data — Your lenders may report information to each credit bureau at slightly different times. This would mean that one credit score or another may not always reflect your most current account info.
  • What data your lenders send to the bureaus — While many lenders supply information to all three bureaus, some may report to only one or two of them. Different data being reported may result in different scores.
  • When you check your scores — If your credit scores among the different bureaus are different, it may be because you’re checking them at different times. Your credit data is sent to the bureaus regularly, so checking one score this week and another score the next may result in you seeing different credit scores.

Credit-scoring models

Your credit scores may also be different based on how it’s calculated. A credit-scoring model is a formula used to calculate a credit score based on the information in your credit report. But there are a lot of different scoring models out there.

Two frequently used models are FICO and VantageScore®.

For many credit-scoring models, the goal is similar: to predict how likely you are to pay back a loan on time.

That’s why you can see different credit scores depending on whether you’re looking at a VantageScore or a FICO score.

Both FICO and VantageScore have credit-scoring models that are used in a wide variety of industries. These scoring models have evolved over the years to reflect new technology or other important updates.

But even if you’re comparing only FICO scores, there are other types, which include FICO Score 8, FICO Score 9 and some FICO scores that are specific to certain industries.

Industry-specific scores

If you’re looking to apply for a credit card or a car loan, the credit scores that each lender sees may be different.

That’s because not only does FICO have different base credit-scoring models — it also has scores specific to different industries.

For example, a lender may look at FICO® Bankcard Score 8 when making a decision on a credit card application or FICO® Auto Score 8 when making a decision about an auto loan.

Additionally, these industry-specific scores may have different ranges. For example, base FICO scores go from 300 to 850, while the FICO® Bankcard Score 8 and FICO® Auto Score 8 range from 250 to 900.

Average FICO credit scores

What is the average credit score? There are a number of ways to dive into the data. We’ll go through average credit scores by year, age group and state.

Average credit scores by year

The average FICO score increased from 689 in 2010 to 703 in 2019. These are the annual average U.S. FICO credit scores, using data from Experian.

Year FICO® credit score
2010 689
2011 689
2012 693
2013 691
2014 693
2015 695
2016 699
2017 699
2018 701
2019 703

Source: Experian data for all of 2019

States with the highest average credit scores in 2019

State* FICO® credit score
Minnesota 733
North Dakota 727
South Dakota 727
Vermont 726
Wisconsin 725
New Hampshire 724
Massachusetts 723
Nebraska 723
Washington 723
Hawaii 723

*Includes the District of Columbia

Source: 2019 Experian data

States with the lowest average credit scores in 2019

State* FICO® credit score
Mississippi 667
Louisiana 677
Alabama 680
Texas 680
South Carolina 681
Oklahoma 682
Georgia 682
Arkansas 683
New Mexico 686
Nevada 686

*Includes the District of Columbia

Source: 2019 Experian data

Average credit scores by age group

Age range FICO® credit score
20–29 662
30–39 673
40–49 684
50–59 706
60 and over 749

Source: Experian data from the second quarter of 2019

Average VantageScore credit scores

VantageScores have been slowly inching up over the last three years — according to Experian’s State of Credit 2019 report — and there’s been an overall decrease in delinquency rates and an increase in average credit card balances.

Average score over time

Year VantageScore credit score
2017 675
2018 680
2019 682

Next steps

How do your scores measure up against the average credit scores? If you’re not sure, now is a good time to check.

Even if you know what your credit scores are, it’s a good idea to periodically check for errors in your reports and look for ways to improve them. You can use Credit Karma to check your TransUnion and Equifax credit reports. And if you want to check your Experian credit report, you can do so at AnnualCreditReport.com.

About the author: Erica Gellerman is a personal finance writer with an MBA in marketing and strategy from Duke University. She’s also the founder of The Worth Project: a weekly money newsletter you actually want to read. Her work has b… Read more.