When checking your credit, you might wonder how you stack up against the average credit score or compare to others in your age group.
The average FICO credit score in 2018 was 704, squarely in NerdWallet’s “good” range of 690 to 719. That’s up from 700 in 2017.
The average VantageScore was 680 in 2018, up from 675 the year before.
The versions used to determine average score were the FICO 8, the score most often used in credit decisions, and VantageScore 3.0, a competitor. Both use a scale of 300 to 850. They consider many of the same credit factors but weight them in slightly different ways.
What’s the average credit score by age?
The average FICO credit score rose about 5 points for every age group compared to 2017 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.
|Age||Average FICO 8 score|
|Source: FICO, September 2018|
VantageScore itself does not break down scores by age, but Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, does track VantageScores by generation/age. Experian showed average credit scores for the youngest and oldest groups were 95 points apart.
|Generation||Average VantageScore 3.0|
|Source: Experian State of Credit report, January 2018|
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, nearly 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 cards.
|FICO Score||Percent of Population|
|300 to 599||19.1|
|600 to 649||9.6|
|650 to 699||13.0|
|700 to 749||16.2|
|750 to 799||20.2|
|800 to 850||21.8|
A reported 23% of consumers with scores had at least one collection account on their credit reports, a number that’s likely to go down as credit bureaus increasingly exclude some types of debt from their reporting. And when those credit blemishes are scrubbed from reports, scores should rise.
How can I build my credit?
Check your own credit health by looking over your credit reports. You are entitled to a free credit report from each credit bureau every 12 months 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.