Q: What is considered an average credit score?
A: An average credit score varies by the credit score provider because each provider has their own method of calculating a credit score and some use different score ranges. In general, the higher your score the lower the credit risk you represent to a potential creditor.
For example, the well-known FICO® Score provider has a scale that goes from 300 to 850. Although they are very tight-lipped about their average credit score, recent FICO site updates seem to indicate the U.S. average FICO® Score is between 690 and 700. In addition, we were able to find data from the FICO Banking Blog supporting a a median credit score of 711. The median score tends to be rather stable; in 2005 the median score was 713, while in 2008 the median score was 711. (note: FICO only provides scores from Equifax and TransUnion and not all 3 credit bureaus, due to an ongoing legal battle with Experian.)
While we're talking about average and median scores, it's important to note the difference between the two. An average credit score is the total value of all credit scores divided by the number of scores ordered, while a median credit score is halfway between the bottom 50% and top 50% of all scores. Statistically speaking, the median score is more useful because it tells you the midway point between the upper and lower scores rather than the average of all the values.
If you're interested in knowing what your FICO® Score is and how you measure up, Equifax Score Watch will give you your Equifax FICO® Score at signup and track it over time. After signing up you'll be alerted if your score changes and can see your newly updated score by logging into the secure online member center, where your score is tracked in graphic format.
The graph below indicates the FICO® Score distribution in 2005, 2008 and 2011. You can see that although there has been some movement, there have not been any particularly sharp spikes or downward trends.
Although knowing the average and median FICO® Scores and their distribution over a 7 year time frame is interesting information, it doesn't mean much without the FICO rating system. Within the scale of 300 to 850, scores are given values of "bad" to "great" using the following parameters. You can see that both the average (690-700) and median (711) FICO® Scores fall into the "Good" rating category.
|FICO® Score Range||FICO Rating|
Too see a different perspective, let's take a look at the Vantage Score. Vantage Score is a popular credit scoring system offered by all three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. According to Experian, the average Vantage Score is 736, which puts the average credit score within the "C" range or "higher than 39% of U.S. consumers". The Vantage Score scale runs from 501-990 and the rating values are shown below.
|Vantage Score Range||Vantage Rating|
|B:||801 – 900|
|C:||701 – 800|
|D:||601 – 700|
|F:||501 – 600|
As shown by the information above, average and median credit scores vary by credit score provider. They also change over time, usually fluctuating with the economy but the data we've gathered indicates this fluctuation isn't as great as you might think. In addition, your individual credit file can change on a daily basis. Because of this, we highly recommend staying on top of your credit information, including your credit reports and scores. An easy way to do this is by signing up for a credit report monitoring service, and many of the services we review give you free scores and reports at signup. Some even offer free trials and include free computer anti-virus software.
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