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When checking your credit, you might wonder how you stack up against the average credit score or compare to others in your age group.
Both FICO and VantageScore use a scale of 300 to 850. They consider many of the same credit factors but weight them in slightly different ways.
The average FICO in 2019 fell squarely in the “good” credit score range of 690 to 719. The average VantageScore was still in the “fair” credit score range. FICO saw an increase from 2018, when Americans’ average score was 704. The average VantageScore in 2018 was 680.
What's the average credit score by age?
The average FICO credit score rose slightly for every age group compared with 2018 scores. There was a dramatic difference — 88 points — between the scores of the youngest consumers and the oldest. Here’s how FICO slices the data.
Average FICO 8 score
Source: FICO, September 2019
VantageScore itself doesn't break down scores by age, but Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, tracks VantageScores by generation/age. Experian showed average credit scores for the youngest and oldest groups were 90 points apart.
Average VantageScore 3.0
Source: Experian State of Credit report, Dec. 2019
Credit score under 600? You're not alone
FICO reported that about 19% of consumers had FICO scores below 600. People in that credit score range likely have a hard time qualifying for credit and pay higher interest rates or have to put down deposits.
On the other hand, 22% of consumers had FICO scores above 800. Those “superprime” scores make it likely they get the best terms available when they borrow money and provide access to the best rewards credit cards.
Percent of Population
300 to 599
600 to 649
650 to 699
700 to 749
750 to 799
800 to 850
FICO compared consumers' current payment behavior with 2009. In 2019, fewer consumers had payments that were 30 days late and consumers used less of their available credit compared with a decade ago, says Ethan Dornhelm, vice president of scores and predictive analytics at FICO. Both of these factors have a major effect on your score.
How can I build my credit?
Check your own credit health by looking over your credit reports. You are currently entitled to a free credit report from each credit bureau every week from annualcreditreport.com.
If you see negative information that’s incorrect, you can dispute it to seek its removal. And check to make sure accurate negative information is removed on time.
Then, monitor your credit frequently to see your progress and watch for trouble. You can monitor your free credit report and credit score, updated weekly, with NerdWallet.
For both FICO and VantageScore, the biggest effects on credit come from:
Paying every bill, not just credit cards, on time.
Using 30% or less of your credit limits.