Here's the Average Credit Score by Age: See Where You Stand
How does your credit score compare to others your age?
Contributing Writer at Tally
May 31, 2022
Your credit score becomes more important as you approach critical financial moments in your life, like buying your first home, financing a new family car or trying to get approved for credit to pay for the kids’ braces.
Reaching these financial milestones can translate to higher scores as you age, but several other factors may affect your average credit score. Below, we’ll cover what the average credit score is by age and how your geographic region and income can impact this average. We’ll also provide tips on how to increase your credit score.
Types of credit scores
There are many credit scoring models, but the two main models used today are FICO® Score and VantageScore. Here's how they are alike and what sets them apart.
FICO credit score
Your FICO credit score is the one you hear about the most. In fact, it has become so common, lenders sometimes mistakenly use "FICO" to describe all credit scores — even if they use a different scoring model.
FICO Score— originally named Fair, Isaac and Company — is a data analytics company that calculates Americans’ FICO Scores. The FICO Score is now used by more than 90% of leading lenders in the U.S. There are multiple scoring systems within the FICO model, including scores for specific industries like automotive, credit cards and mortgages.
The FICO scoring model has been through a number of changes since debuting in 1989. The latest model is FICO Score 10. Currently, FICO base scoring ranges from 300 to 850. Industry-specific scores range from 250 to 900.
Each of the three major credit bureaus — TransUnion®, Equifax® and Experian® — offers its own FICO Score, which may result in slight variations in your score. This is why many lenders look at all three scores and use the median score to determine your creditworthiness.
For example, let's say you have a 650 FICO Score from TransUnion, a 685 score from Equifax and a 705 from Experian. A lender that uses the median score would make its credit decision based on your 685 score from Equifax.
What goes into a FICO Score?
Ultimately, the creditor determines if a credit score is "good" or "bad." But the base FICO Score 10 model lays it out like this:
579 or lower: Poor
580 to 669: Fair
670 to 739: Good
740 to 799: Very good
800 or higher: Exceptional
The FICO scoring model weighs different factors and their effect on your credit report. The factors and the weight they carry on your FICO Score are as follows:
Payment history: 35%
Amounts owed: 30%
Length of credit history: 15%
New credit: 10%
Credit mix: 10%
VantageScore credit score
Much like the FICO scoring model, the VantageScore model has changed over the years. However, there are some notable differences.
The VantageScore model doesn't include industry-specific scoring systems. It also only provides one score based on your credit reports, rather than a unique score for each credit bureau.
What’s in a VantageScore credit score?
The VantageScore 4.0 system uses the same credit score range as FICO: 300 to 850 points. But VantageScore makes a different determination on whether a credit score is "good" or "bad." Here’s the breakdown:
Subprime: 300 to 600
Near prime: 601 to 660
Prime: 661 to 780
Superprime: 781 to 850
Similar to the FICO scoring model, the VantageScore 4.0 model also weighs various factors to determine your final score. Here are the variables and their weight:
Payment history: 41%
Depth of credit: 20%
Credit utilization: 20%
Recent credit: 11%
Available credit: 2%
Average credit score by age
Your credit score may be something you want to keep private, but it never hurts to know where you stand among your age group. Understanding the average credit score by age can give you an idea of how you're managing your personal finances, compared to your peers.
The average FICO credit score by age is as follows:
Generation Z (18-23): 674
Millennials (24-39): 679
Generation X (40-55): 698
Baby Boomers (56-74): 736
Silent generation (75 and up): 758
Unsurprisingly, older age groups tend to have higher credit scores. A lot of this has to do with longevity and life milestones.
In your late teens and early 20s, you're typically building a credit profile from scratch, which means your credit age is very young. Your average credit age may be just a year or two old, so it’s no surprise this group has the lowest average credit score. And every time you open a new credit card or take on new debt, it lowers your credit's average age.
In your 30s, your credit score may increase because you’ve had a decade or more to establish a good payment history and grow the length of your credit history. At this point, you’ve also likely established a mixture of different types of debt, like credit cards, car loans and maybe even a mortgage. All of these things help improve your credit.
As you continue moving through the years, the average age of your credit continues to rise, and the account mix improves. In your 40s through 50s, you are in your prime earning years, so your income has likely improved significantly. Higher income can lead to higher credit limits, which lowers your utilization rate and increases your credit score.
By the time you reach your 60s and 70s, you’re nearing or already heading into retirement and have reduced your debt in preparation for living on a fixed income. The law is also on your side: The Equal Credit Opportunity prohibits creditors from discouraging you from applying for credit due to age. In fact, the ECOA allows the credit scoring models to favor certain age groups, which happens to be those over 62 years old.
How the average credit score relates to income
Age isn’t the only factor that can influence your credit score average. Credit scores are also correlated to income. The income brackets and their respective average credit scores are as follows:
Low income (earning less than 50% of the median family income, or MFI): 664
Moderate income (earning 50% to 75% of the MFI): 716
Middle income (earning 80% to 119% of MFI): 753
Upper income (earning over 120% of the MFI): 775
Average credit score by state
Age and income aren't the only variables for credit scores. The state you live in can also impact it.
The lowest-ranking state by credit score is Mississippi, where residents have an average FICO credit score of 658. Meanwhile, the state with the highest average credit score is Minnesota at 720.
How to boost your score if it’s lower than you'd like
If your credit score is lower than others in your age group, don't fret. Your credit score can vary from month to month. Plus, getting your score at or above that average mark can be relatively simple by following a few credit score tips.
It's not all about constantly increasing your score, either. You want to maintain a good credit score by avoiding mistakes that can lower your score.
Good credit builds a solid financial base, but it’s just one aspect of a healthy credit profile. Here are some ways to boost your credit score.
Maintain a good payment history
Your payment history makes up 35% of your FICO Score and 41% of the latest VantageScore 4.0 model. Because it holds so much weight in both scoring models, it’s important to keep your monthly debt payments rolling in on time.
Remember, if you fall behind, your creditors cannot report your debt as late until it’s 30 days after the due date. As long as you pay within those 30 days, you will not get a late payment mark on your credit report.
Lower your credit utilization ratio
Your credit utilization ratio is the amount of revolving debt, like lines of credit and credit card balances, you have relative to your credit limits. Credit utilization is part of the “amounts owed” FICO variable and makes up 30% of your FICO Score. In the VantageScore 4.0 model, credit utilization is its own factor and accounts for 20% of your score. The lower your credit utilization rate is, the more positively it impacts your credit score.
Ideally, you want to maintain around a 1% utilization rate, showing that you’re actively using credit but maintaining low balances. However, that’s not possible for all people, so simply keeping this utilization as low as possible will help your credit score.
You can use a range of credit card debt-repayment methods to lower your utilization rate, including the debt avalanche and debt snowball methods.
Limit credit applications
When you apply for credit, you will get a hard credit inquiry on your credit report. Depending on what else is on your credit report, you could incur up to a five-point score reduction with a single inquiry.
While these impacts are temporary — they only factor into your FICO Score for 12 months — they are quick credit score draggers if there are too many of them.
In the FICO model, credit inquiries impact the new credit variable, which makes up 10% of your score. In the VantageScore 4.0 model, new credit makes up 11% of your score.
Catch credit report errors early
Credit report errors can quickly turn a good score into a bad credit score, so it’s important to stay on top of your credit report. You can get a free credit report every year from all three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — via AnnualCreditReport.com.
If you find any reporting errors that negatively impact your credit score, you can dispute them.
You can also monitor your credit more regularly through a wide range of free credit score and monitoring sites, like Credit Karma and Credit Sesame.
Achieve your ideal credit score
The average credit score by age varies greatly across generations, but this is simply the average. There’s nothing saying you must be average. With the tips listed above, you can work to build your score even higher than the average.
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