How Does Your Credit Score Measure Up?

Do you know what your credit score is? Do you at least have a ballpark figure? We all have far too many numbers to memorize in life to keep all of them around for instant recall, but your credit score is probably among the more important ones to know.

Credit ScoreI’m not here to tell you how a credit score is calculated; frankly, there’s a lot that goes into it, and even financial experts are occasionally in disagreement about which factors actually influence your score. There are clearly some well-established criteria, but some of the smaller details are still debated.

What you probably want to know is how you compare to the rest of America. Does your credit score make you an appealing applicant for a car loan? A mortgage? A simple credit card application?

The Country at a Glance

Let’s take a look at a national snapshot of our current credit scores, courtesy of Native Merchant Services.

NMS-CreditScore

As you can see, there are some patterns that become immediately apparent. I’m not going to start a class war by suggesting that the Southern states are inherently more impoverished, but it’s clear that the deep south does have a bit of a credit problem.

In fact, four out of five of America’s worst cities, when it comes to credit scores, are located in the south. Greenwood, Mississippi takes the top prize with an average credit score of 622; California fares only slightly better with 638.

So where do the country’s best credit scores reside? We’ll have to look at little farther north. Curiously, the top five cities for credit score have values very close to one another; the top city is Rochester, Minnesota, with an average credit score of 716; taking fifth place is Green Bay, Wisconsin with an average score of 713. It was definitely a close race.

What Does Your Credit Score Say About You?

One of the more interesting ways to look at credit score data is to observe the correlational relationships between things like credit, age, and even your preferred email provider.

Unsurprisingly, millennials have some of the worst credit scores in the country; young adults between the ages of 19 and 29 have an average score of 628. However, it would be a mistake to jump to conclusions and assume this relatively low score has to do with fiscal irresponsibility. While that’s almost certainly a factor in some cases, the more likely explanation is mere financial inexperience; most young adults simply don’t have much history to draw on when it comes to building a credit score.

Faring only slightly better is “Generation X” (adults aged 30-46), who have an average score of 653. Rounding out the set is the Baby Boomers (ages 47-56) and the “Greatest Generation” (66+), with average scores of 700 and 735, respectively.

But if you really wanted to get into some surprising statistics, let’s get into other correlational data. How about email domain?

It turns out that Yahoo! users have an average credit score of 617. Gmail achieved a close second with 635, but the top spot was claimed by Comcast with an average score of 667. In other words, these values are fairly average, though still located at the lower end of the spectrum. Values for the entire country range from 668 to 716.

So how about you? Does your credit score meet or exceed the average for your state? Do you even know your credit score? If you don’t, there are a number of free options to take advantage of, including Quizzle and Mint. Even if you’re not always aware of it, your credit score is always being used behind the scenes of your financial ventures; you really do owe it to yourself to keep an eye on it.

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Image Credit: Flickr (via Creative Commons)



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