- The average FICO score in the U.S. hit a record high of 703 in 2019
- Minnesota residents have the highest average credit score for the eighth consecutive year at 731
- Mississippi residents have the lowest average credit score at 667
- 59% of Americans have a FICO score of 700 or higher the biggest percentage ever seen at that level
FICO score ranges
Credit score ranges vary based on the credit scoring model used (FICO versus VantageScore) and the credit bureau (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) that pulls the score. Previously Experian used VantageScores in their Consumer Credit Review, but switched to FICO scores in 2019. This is a welcome change since lenders opt to use FICO scores in 90% of U.S. lending decisions.
Here are the FICO score ranges, based on estimates from Experian.
- Very poor: 300 to 579
- Fair: 580 to 669
- Good: 670 to 739
- Very good: 740 to 799
- Excellent: 800 to 850
Take action: Check your credit score for free
Top 10 states with the highest credit scores
Similar to prior years, Midwestern states have the highest average credit scores. Minnesota topped the list for the highest average FICO score (733) for the eighth straight year. And Wisconsin jumped up seven points from 2018 to round out the top five states.
- Minnesota: 733
- North Dakota: 727
- South Dakota: 727
- Vermont: 726
- Wisconsin: 725
- New Hampshire: 724
- Hawaii: 723
- Massachusetts: 723
- Nebraska: 723
- Washington: 723
Top 10 states with the lowest credit scores
Southern states have lower average credit scores than the rest of the U.S., and Mississippi ranks as the worst with an average 667 FICO score. The three states (Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama) with the lowest credit scores remained the same as 2018, but each state increased scores by up to two points.
- Mississippi: 667
- Louisiana: 677
- Alabama: 680
- Texas: 680
- South Carolina: 681
- Georgia: 682
- Oklahoma: 682
- Arkansas: 683
- Nevada: 686
- New Mexico: 686
|District Of Columbia||700||703|
How to raise your credit score
If you have a credit score lower than the average 703, consider following these simple tips to improve your credit. And even if you have a 703 or higher credit score, it’s important to stick to these actions.
Make on time payments
Payment history is the most important factor of your credit score, so it’s key to always pay on time. Set up autopay or reminders to ensure you don’t miss a bill.
Pay in full
While you should always make at least your minimum payment, we recommend paying your bill in full every month to reduce your utilization rate (your total credit card balance divided by your total available credit) and avoid paying high interest charges.
Don’t open too many accounts at once
Each time you apply for credit, whether it’s a credit card or loan, an inquiry appears on your credit report. This temporarily dings your credit score about five points, though it will bounce back within a few months. Try to limit applications as needed and shop around with prequalification tools that don’t hurt your credit score.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staffs alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.