The average U.S. consumer credit score increased 2 points from 2013, according to Experian’s Fifth Annual State of Credit study. Americans have an average 666 VantageScore 3.0, up from 664 last year, on a scale of 300 to 850. That’s generally considered fair credit.
With this increase in score came an increase in consumer debt, up 2.3% to $28,496 per person (that’s credit card debt, auto loans, personal loans and student loans). On the flip side, mortgage originations are down 39% from last year, with only one in every 79 households getting new home loans.
Experian also analyzed average credit scores among the 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas, and there was nearly a 100-point difference between the lowest and highest average scores. Four of the 10 cities with the best scores are in Minnesota (Mankato, Minn., took the top spot with a 706), and the rest are in the northern Midwest: Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Actually, those four Minnesota cities have the four highest scores overall.
The bottom 10 — those with the lowest credit scores — also have the geographic unity of being mostly Southern cities. Here they are:
9. Columbus, Miss. & Bakersfield, Calif. (635)
8. Alexandria, La. (634)
6. Las Vegas & Jackson, Miss. (632)
5. Laredo, Texas (630)
4. Harlingen, Texas (625)
3. Albany, Ga. (621)
2. Riverside, Calif. (620)
1. Greenwood, Miss. (609)
All the cities in the top 10 saw average improvements, with the exception of Sioux Falls, S.D., which dropped a point from its average score. On the other end, Albany recorded the most improvement among the bottom-10 cities, with a five-point jump in its average.
To see where you fall among your national and state average VantageScore 3.0, you can see your credit scores for free through Credit.com. You can get two free credit scores with updates every 30 days, allowing you to track your personal progress, as well as your score relative to other U.S. consumers.
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