Credit Score Trends

A credit score is a way of evaluating a financial situation of the consumer and measuring the risk associated with lending them money. It is used by banks, credit card companies and other third-party institutions to calculate the likelihood of paying off all the debts you accumulate. A credit score is represented by a number, and the higher the score, the better.

How Is Credit Score Calculated?

There are several different scoring methods used by lenders to evaluate a borrower’s creditworthiness, and the FICO score is the most commonly used one. FICO scores range between 300 and 850, depending on several different factors.

Factors including payment history, length of credit history, current debt burden, types of credit, and recent inquiries play the most significant role in determining your FICO score. Lenders are most likely to look at some other things as well, such as your debt to income ratio.

Depending on your FICO score, you will fall into one of these categories:

  • Poor – Any score below 580. (16% of the population)
  • Fair – A FICO score between 580 and 670. (17% of the population)
  • Good – Scores between 670 and 740 fall into this category. (21% of the population)
  • Very good – A FICO score between 740 and 800. (25% of the population)
  • Exceptional – A FICO score over 800. (21% of the population)

Credit Score Trends over the Years

FICO score has reached its highest ever and is currently at 704 with a steady upward trend. After the 2008 financial crisis that shook the world, the average FICO score was at a low 686. Since then it has been in the constant rise, and after hitting 700 for the first time in 2017, it has maintained the same momentum and continues to rise.

YearFICO score
2009686
2010687
2011688
2012690
2013691
2014692
2015695
2016699
2017700
2018704

Credit Scores and Age

The current data shows a strong correlation between a FICO score and age. And it makes complete sense since young people have a short credit history and a limited borrowing capacity.

People in their 30s and 40s usually have established careers, steady income, and longer credit history, which leads to higher FICO scores. However, people in this age group carry more mortgage debt. People over 60 years old have the strongest scores since they have been using different credits for a long time, and they have excellent repayment histories, which makes them trustworthy in the eyes of lenders. Here is how the average FICO score correlates with age:

AgeFICO score
18-29659
30-39677
40-49690
50-59713
60+747

Credit Scores and Income<

A 2018 study shows that income isn’t the most significant factor for determining credit scores. According to this research, there is no strong correlation between income and credit scores. Most credit score models are based on the credit history and factors surrounding it, so income doesn’t play a part in them.

A typical American consumer has a 704 FICO, 675 Vantage Score (another popular method beside FICO), 3.1 credit cards with $6,354 average balance on them, with average $201,811 mortgage, and $24,706 non-mortgage debt.

Why Do We See an Increase in Credit Scores?

n 2018 we saw a consistent 4-5 point rise in credit score across all age groups compared to 2017. This increase is attributed to fewer consumers in the lowest credit score ranges, as well as a higher number of people with exceptional scores.

It also seems that people are seeking loans more responsibly. Only 42.2% of people had 1 or more credit inquiries in the last year, which was a whole 1% decrease compared to 2017. A greater number of loan requests has been linked to an increased repayment risk, which is why it is a factor in credit score calculations.

Another possible reason for the national increase in average credit scores is an increase in awareness and education of the consumers. It appears that people who pay attention to their FICO scores are more likely to make better financial decisions and have a higher credit score. FICO continues to focus on customer education as they see it as a way for people to learn about fiscal responsibility and reach their financial goals.

If you’re worried about your credit score due to income, it could be beneficial to learn that credit score isn’t strongly correlated to the money you make each month.