No matter how old you are, it’s always a good idea to see how you stack up against other people to make sure you’re on the right track financially. And one of those great things to know is what is the average credit score by age.
That way, you can see how you’re going against other people at a similar point in life to see if you’re doing well – or whether it might be time to take a good hard look at how you can improve your credit score.
This is especially the case if you think that you’ll need to take on some debt in the near (or even not-so-near) future, like a mortgage.
After all, it can take some time to bring your credit score up.
So the best time to start working on it is right now!
If you’re young (or even if you’re not-so-young!), you may not have even considered this.
Or maybe you’ve kind of maybe a little bit thought about it and done something like having taken out a credit card or two “to start building some credit”.
Which is a great start! But a bit more attention may be needed.
Luckily, it’s extremely easy to check your credit score and see how you’re going.
And while it’s not necessarily simple to improve your credit score, there are a few key things you can do for this that make it very straightforward!
What is the average credit score by age?
WalletHub points out that the statistics show that credit scores tend to improve as people get older.
So if you’re on the younger end of the scale, don’t worry if your credit score maybe isn’t as high as it could be – as you’re in good company!
This is probably because of a range of things, including the fact that credit scores are calculated based on the length of your credit history, that people generally become more financially responsible as they get older and that they’ve had more time to recover from any credit mistakes.
At the same time, it’s crazy when you see the average difference between Generation Z and the so-called Silent Generation – almost 100 points!
So take a look at just what is the average credit score by age (source):
- 22 and under: 634
- 23 to 36: 638
- 37 to 51: 658
- 52 to 71: 703
- 72 and above: 729
And just for an added bit of information, apparently the average credit score in the US is 675.
Now, you may be thinking: that’s great and all, but how do I know what that actually means when applying for credit?
Well, this may help (source):
- Excellent Credit: 750+
- Good Credit: 700-749
- Fair Credit: 650-699
- Poor Credit: 600-649
- Bad Credit: below 600
So if you’re in your early to mid-30s like me, the data says that you probably have a ‘Poor’ credit rating.
That said, keep in mind that the exact meaning of each credit rating in terms of what you can borrow will vary from lender to lender.
Nevertheless, this can at least give you a pretty good idea of where you stand – and whether it’s time to work on improving your credit score.
What is the average credit score tier by age?
I have to say that this is the part that I found the most interesting.
And it’s because it seems to fly in the face of the rest of the data.
That is, the other information above indicates that the older you are, the more likely it is that you’ll have a good credit score.
But then take a look at the average credit score tier by age (source):
- Excellent Credit: 41 years old
- Good Credit: 45 years old
- Fair Credit: 47 years old
- Bad Credit: 52 years old
These results may be partly because many younger people don’t have a credit score yet, so the average age for each credit score tier skews higher than you’d expect.
Whatever the reason, it shows that, for example, just because you’re in the average group of people in their early 30s who have a Poor credit score, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re behind on getting your credit score sorted out.
After all, the best time to work on your finances was yesterday. The second best time is today!
How to improve your credit score?
While it’s not an exact science, there are a few things that can definitely help to improve your credit score.
1. Keep an eye on your credit report
According to FICO, which produces one of the most widely used credit scores, the first thing you should do if you’re aiming to improve your credit score is to know exactly what’s in your credit report.
This will let you quickly see if there’s anything that shouldn’t be on there, like mistakes or fraud, which can have a massive effect on bringing your credit score down.
2. Keep your credit utilization ratio below 30% (and, ideally, below 10%)
Your credit utilization ratio is essentially how much you owe divided by your overall credit limit.
It’s based only on your “revolving credit”, which essentially includes credit cards and lines of credit. So things like your car loan or mortgage don’t factor into this.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WHAT THIS IS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT FOR YOU, CHECK OUT: WHY YOU SHOULD BE PAYING OFF CREDIT CARDS IN FULL (AND HOW TO DO IT)
So making sure that your balance on your credit cards is as low as you can make it (and making payments on time!) can be a great way to increase your credit score.
3. Start paying off your debt
This is related to the previous point, but it’s worth repeating: if you’re carrying too much debt, it’s time to really, truly focus on paying it off.
Not only is it negatively affecting your credit score, but it can also save you literally tens of thousands of dollars.
Fortunately, while paying off debt can take some hard work, it’s also relatively simple.
For step-by-step instructions on the best way to pay off your debt, see THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO GETTING OUT OF DEBT.
At the same time, you should always make sure that you’re making your debt repayments on time.
If you don’t, not only will you get slugged by late fees, but it can make a mark on your credit report.
For me, I’ve simplified this as much as possible by having automated my finances.
This means that all of my minimum payments are made automatically each month, so there’s no way I can accidentally spend too much or forget to make the payment.
Find out more at HOW TO AUTOMATE YOUR FINANCES AND SAVE MONEY IN 3 EASY STEPS
4. Keep old accounts open
Not only can keeping old accounts open be good for your credit utilization ratio, it can also be great for showing the length of your credit history.
And both of these things can really help to improve your credit score.
In fact, the length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your credit score.
This means that simply keeping an account open is an easy way for your credit score to jump a few points.
So when you check your credit report, don’t be tempted to close any old, unused accounts as this can actually hurt your score.
5. Avoid hard inquiries as much as possible
A hard inquiry is what happens when you apply for credit, whether that be a car loan, a mortgage, a student loan or a credit card.
The issue is that when you make one of these credit checks, it shows that a lender has reviewed your credit because you have applied to borrow from them.
This can be a serious problem if you’re trying to work on your credit score, as each hard inquiry can drop your credit score by between five and ten points.
There are two simple ways to avoid this:
- Only make a hard inquiry if you absolutely need to (and only as many times as you need to) OR
- If you need to make multiple hard inquiries, have them done over a short period of time.
On the second point, this is because multiple credit inquiries in a two week period (or sometimes 30-day period, but better to be safe than sorry) will only be counted as one inquiry.
So if you’re shopping around for a loan, such as a car loan, a mortgage or a student loan, make it quick and it won’t affect your credit score as much.
Will checking my credit score or my credit report count as a hard inquiry?
And neither of them count as hard inquiries so they won’t affect your credit score!
Oh, and did we mention that it’s totally free?
So how does your credit score match up against the average for your age?