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What is the Average Credit Score?

Posted By Jim On 06/30/2009 @ 12:01 pm In Credit | 41 Comments

Have you ever been curious what the average credit score is?

We know that the FICO credit score range [3] goes from 300 to 850 with a good credit score [4] being up above 750, but what is the average credit score? Fair Isaac shares a chart that indicates the average FICO credit score is around 700, but we don’t know when chart the was updated (see the chart here [5]).

Average Credit Score

With the economy in a constant state of flux, I thought it would be better to get real data. I asked Kenneth Lin, CEO of Credit Karma [6], if they would be able to provide some data on the scores they were seeing. Credit Karma, for free, gives you an actual TransUnion credit score, as if you ordered it from TransUnion itself. It uses TransUnion credit history data and TransUnion’s proprietary equation. It’s not technically a FICO score but it’s exactly what you would get from TransUnion and for all intents and purposes, good enough for our purposes (plus it’s free). (Big thank you Kenneth and the Credit Karma team for provided this valuable data!)

What did their data show?

The national average credit score is 664.25 points. (based on April 2009 data, for over 75,000 users) This is slightly lower than the generally accepted “average” provided by Fair Isaac, which is around 700 points.

Your credit score can vary from credit bureau to credit bureau because of their equations and the data they have for you. Some experts believe that range can vary as much as fifty points, which leaves a pretty sizable range of a hundred points. Ignoring that, seeing that the average TransUnion score was 664 lends credence to the idea that the average is closer to the higher end of the range, than the lower end. The midpoint between 300 and 850 is 575, but the average is much higher than that at 664.

Other Fun Statistics

Since I had this wonderful data, I thought I’d offer up some other fun statistics for your enjoyment (we excluded states with fewer than 300 records).

  • State with the highest average score: Massachusetts had an average score of 686, with California and Oregon coming in second with 681.
  • State with the lowest average score: Mississippi had an average score of 623.
  • My home state of Maryland’s average score: 664
  • There were two people in the military state, AA (Armed Forces Americas), with an average score of 785! Kudos!
  • 18 people in Guam had an average score of 641.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do with this information other than impress your friends at cocktail parties. The problem with looking at average scores is that it’s not actionable information. Knowing the average score in your state or country is useful from a personal information standpoint but there’s nothing you can do with it because geographic location is irrelevant when calculating credit scores. It’s not like you could move to Lake Wobegone [7], where I’m sure the credit scores are above average, and get a credit score boost! (incidentally, Minnesota’s average credit score is 678, which is higher than the national average)

I asked Bargaineering readers [8] a few weeks ago what their credit scores were and the results were (on 361 votes):

  • 800+: 18%
  • 750-799: 45%
  • 700-749: 23%
  • 650-699: 8%
  • 600-649: 4%
  • 550-599: 1%
  • 500-549: 1%
  • < 500: 0%

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URLs in this post:

[1] Tweet: http://twitter.com/share

[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/average-credit-score.html

[3] FICO credit score range: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/fico-credit-score-range.html

[4] good credit score: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/what-is-a-good-credit-score.html

[5] see the chart here: http://www.bargaineering.com/images/in_posts/FICO-Score-Distribution-Bar-Chart.png

[6] Credit Karma: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/r/creditkarma.php?tag=avgCreditScore

[7] Lake Wobegone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Wobegon

[8] asked Bargaineering readers: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/poll-whats-your-fico-credit-score.html#ViewPollResults

Thank you for reading!