Average Credit Score by State: How Does Your Score Stack Up?
See where your credit score ranks among others in your state.
Contributing Writer at Tally
August 6, 2022
Monitoring your credit score can be both rewarding and frustrating.
Maintaining a good score can help you qualify for loans and credit cards with the best terms. It can even help you get approved for that apartment you’ve been eyeing. But the seemingly random increases and decreases may make you feel like you have no control over your score.
Instead of worrying about the small changes, try comparing your credit score to the average credit score in your state. This can help you determine how you stack up financially among people who live in the same area.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at the average credit score by state, what goes into a credit score and how to increase yours.
What is the average credit score by state?
Each year, Experian™ performs its Consumer Credit Review. This report reviews credit scores nationwide and pulls out key details, including:
Average credit card balance.
Average mortgage balance.
Average student loan debt.
Average FICO® Score in the U.S.
Average FICO Score by age.
Average FICO Score by metro area.
Average FICO Score by state.
In the 2021 Consumer Credit Review, Experian found Minnesota had the highest average credit score of 742, a three-point increase compared to 2020. Meanwhile, Mississippi had the lowest average credit score of 681, a six-point increase compared to 2020.
The full list of average credit scores by state is as follows:
District of Columbia: 717
New Hampshire: 734
New Jersey: 725
New Mexico: 699
New York: 722
North Carolina: 707
North Dakota: 733
Rhode Island: 723
South Carolina: 693
South Dakota: 733
West Virginia: 699
Knowing the average credit score by state provides context about your financial health in relation to others in your area and the country. But your geographic location has no impact on your credit score.
You don’t need to worry about living in a low-average state like Mississippi or West Virginia. Conversely, living in a state with a high average, like Wisconsin or Minnesota, doesn’t automatically give you a high score.
Regardless of the average credit score in your state, understanding your FICO Score and why it's the most significant credit score to monitor will help you maintain solid personal finances.
What is America’s average credit score?
How does your credit score compare to the rest of America?
In the same Experian survey, the credit bureau found America’s average credit score was 714. That’s a four-point increase over 2020. The report attributes this increase to 8.1% lower 90- to 180-day delinquency rates and stabilizing credit utilization ratios nationwide.
What’s the difference between FICO Score and other credit scores?
You may find dozens of credit scoring models, each with its own algorithm to determine your credit score. Common credit scoring models include:
Most lenders use FICO Scores to determine if you qualify for a loan or credit card.
The FICO Score model has more than 30 variations, including multiple base FICO Scores and industry-specific scores. Still, the FICO Score 8 model is the most widely used when qualifying someone for a loan or credit card.
Because of its widespread use, "credit score" generally refers to your FICO Score 8.
What do numerical FICO credit scores mean?
Your FICO Score can range from 300 to 850. Within this credit score range, FICO has five credit rating categories:
Poor: Less than 580.
Very Good: 740-799.
Exceptional: 800 or higher.
Many Americans aim to reach the “Exceptional” credit score status. While that’s a solid goal, only 21.8% of Americans have attained an 800 or higher credit score. You may also wonder if it’s possible to attain the perfect 850 credit score. This is a difficult feat but not impossible, as 1.6% of Americans had an 850 credit score as of April 2019.
How is your FICO Score determined?
Your credit score is determined by a calculation of your credit report’s information from each of the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
FICO looks at five primary categories within your credit reports and weighs them to determine your FICO Score. Because each credit bureau may have different information, your FICO Score can vary among them.
The five categories and their weights are as follows:
Payment history (35%): This category examines whether you've made on-time payments or late payments to your creditors. Payments that are late by 30 days or more can negatively impact your FICO Score.
Amounts owed (30%): This category reviews how much debt you owe but is primarily concerned with your credit utilization rate. While there is some debate about what is a good credit utilization rate, most financial experts agree that anything over 30% is excessive.
Length of credit history (15%): This category focuses on several time-based factors on your credit report, including the average age of all your credit accounts, the age of your newest account, the age of your oldest account and how long it's been since you used specific credit accounts. The older your average credit account is, the more positively it impacts your FICO Score.
Credit mix (10%): This category audits your mixture of credit accounts, including credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts and mortgages. If you have several account types on your credit report, it can impact your credit score positively.
New credit (10%): This category analyzes three items: how many new accounts you have, how long it's been since you opened a new account and the number of hard credit inquiries you have. If you open (or apply for) multiple new accounts in a short amount of time, it may negatively impact your FICO Score.
FICO's math to combine these weighted categories and calculate your credit score is not public. However, managing your credit to these weighted averages may help improve your FICO Score.
Can you check your own credit score?
Yes, you can check your own credit score. Checking your own credit report doesn't count as a hard credit inquiry and won't lower your credit score. Some options are free, while others have a fee.
Most sites that offer free access to your credit score from the three major credit bureaus don’t provide your FICO Score. Instead, they offer an estimated score based on the site’s review of your credit report from each credit bureau. While they aren't always accurate representations of your FICO Score, these free options give a rough estimate and let you see if your score is rising or falling.
Experian also offers a free credit score service. Unlike other free services, it discloses your FICO Score. However, the free option is limited to your Experian credit report. It doesn’t include your FICO Score based on your TransUnion and Equifax reports.
Some credit cards offer free FICO Score monitoring as a perk. Generally, you can see your FICO Score, but it's not always from all three credit bureaus.
FICO has a credit score website, MyFICO. For a fee, you can access your FICO Score from all three major credit bureaus.
What does a good credit score do for you?
A high FICO Score indicates financial responsibility. It shows you have a favorable credit report, which can help you get approved for loans and credit cards. It can also play a role in getting you approved for a rental property or even landing a job.
Good credit may also qualify you for the best loan and credit card terms, including lower interest rates, longer payment terms, higher credit limits and lower down payments.
Remember that your credit score doesn’t automatically qualify you for loans or credit cards. For example, if your debt-to-income ratio — your total monthly debt payments relative to your monthly income — is too high, a lender may deny your application, even with a 670 or higher credit score.
How can you improve your FICO Score?
Here are several actions you can take to improve your credit score.
Maintain on-time payments
Your payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO Score. As such, timely payments are essential for building your credit score. If you have credit card or loan balances, continue making on-time monthly payments. You may see your credit score increase over time.
If you don’t have credit card or loan balances, taking out a small loan or using a credit card to build a history of on-time payments can increase your credit score.
Keep your balances in check
Keeping your credit utilization ratio at 30% or lower may help raise your credit score. If your credit card debt exceeds 30% of your overall credit limit, use a debt repayment method, like debt avalanche, to pay it down.
If you don't have credit card balances and plan to use a credit card to build your payment history, try not to use in excess of 30% of your credit limit.
Keep your accounts open
When you want to improve your credit score, it may seem logical to close old accounts to eliminate them from your credit report. However, closing your credit accounts — especially older ones — can shorten your average length of credit history, which comprises 15% of your FICO Score.
Instead, keep all your credit accounts open to maintain and lengthen your average credit age and potentially increase your credit score. Credit card issuers do have the right, however, to close accounts due to inactivity. To prevent this from happening, you might consider using the card for a small purchase every few months or using it for a recurring payment. Paying the balance in full each statement period will avoid incurring interest on these purchases, of course.
Balance your credit mix
Credit mix only has a 10% impact on your FICO Score, but you can still improve it by creating a more balanced mixture of credit accounts.
Review your credit report and compare the number of credit card accounts you have with the number of installment loans, like a mortgage, auto loan or personal loan. If you have a disproportionate number of one type of credit account, opening a different credit account type may boost your credit score.
For example, if you have five credit card accounts and no installment accounts, it may be beneficial to take out a small personal loan to balance your credit mix.
Limit your new accounts
Avoid applying for and opening too many new credit accounts in a short period, which create “hard credit pulls” on your credit report. Each inquiry can lower your credit score by up to five points, according to myFICO.
If you already have many credit inquiries on your credit report, don’t panic. They only impact your FICO Score for 12 months, so you may start seeing your credit score improve in a year or less.
Your FICO Score also considers how many new accounts you open, so keeping these new accounts to a minimum may help push your credit score upward.
Establishing or rebuilding your credit
If you have no credit or poor credit, the previous credit-building options may not apply to you. In this case, you can establish or rebuild your credit with these credit-boosting tips:
Become an authorized user on someone else's credit card account.
Take out a credit-builder loan.
Open a student loan.
Sign for an auto loan.
Get a certificate of deposit loan.
Pay your rent (on time).
Know where your FICO Score stands
Your credit score impacts many parts of your life, from the car you can buy and apartment you can rent to the job you qualify for. Knowing the average credit score by state is a valuable way to gain perspective on your creditworthiness among others in your area and beyond.
If your credit falls below the average in your state or you simply want a FICO Score boost, you can improve it by:
Maintaining on-time payments.
Keeping your credit account balances in check.
Keeping your credit accounts open.
Having a variety of credit accounts.
Avoiding applying for and opening new credit accounts.
With an increased credit score, you may have access to more favorable loan and credit card terms, including lower interest rates, longer payment terms, reduced down payment requirements and higher credit limits.
If you’re struggling with credit card debt, the Tally† credit card repayment app can help. The app helps you manage your credit card payments. Plus, Tally offers a lower-interest personal line of credit, allowing you to efficiently pay off higher-interest credit cards.
†To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. The APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% and 29.99% per year and will be based on your credit history. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 to $300.