What is the Average Credit Score by Age?
When you think about the important numbers in your life, you likely picture your salary or your Social Security number. But there’s another number that’s critical: your credit score. It affects your eligibility for loans and credit cards, and it can even affect what rates you qualify for on a mortgage.
Nationally, the average credit score for all adults is 714, which is in the “good” range. But the average credit score by age varies significantly. In general, younger adults have lower scores, which tend to improve over time.
What is Considered a Good Credit Score?
There are many credit scoring models, but let’s focus on the FICO Score, as its most commonly used. In fact, 90% of top lenders refer to FICO Credit Scores when determining applicant eligibility and rates.
Your FICO Score is a three-digit number that reflects the information listed on your credit report and helps lenders decide how likely you are to repay borrowed money. It ranges from 300 to 850, with 850 being the best possible credit score.
Rather than looking at a specific number, lenders generally consider a range, and your eligibility and rates are based on where your score fits. According to Equifax, one of the major credit bureaus, credit scores are divided into the following five categories:
|Credit Score Range
|350 to 579
|580 to 669
|670 to 739
|740 to 800
|800 and above
If you have ‘very good’ to ‘excellent’ credit, meaning a score between 740 and 850, it’s much easier to qualify for loans or rewards credit cards. And for credit lines like a student loan or a car loan, you’ll typically qualify for lower rates than other borrowers.
What is the Average Credit Score for my Age?
If you’ve wondered: ‘what’s a good credit score for someone my age?’ or ‘how does my credit score measure up to others in my age group?’, you’re not alone. To help find where you stand credit-wise, we reviewed data provided by Experian, another major credit bureau.
According to Experian, these are the average credit scores by age as of 2022:
|Average Credit Score by Age
|18 to 25 Years Old
|26 to 41 Years Old
|42 to 57 Years Old
|58 to 76 Years Old
|77+ Years Old
Why Credit Scores Usually Improve Over Time
As you can see above, younger adults those between the ages of 18 and 25 tend to have lower credit scores than older adults. And as people age, their scores usually improve. Why? It all comes down to how credit scores are calculated.
Let’s dig a little deeper. Here are five factors that determine your FICO credit score:
Payment History (35% of Your Credit Score)
Payment history is the largest factor that determines your credit score. It shows lenders your history of making payments on time. If you’ve never missed a payment, your timely payment history can benefit your score. Conversely, late or missed payments can damage your credit.
Young adults in their late teens and 20s are at a disadvantage here, especially since they may be managing loans or credit cards for the first time. Because they haven’t gotten into the habit of reviewing their statements and submitting payments, they’re more likely to miss a payment due date.
Salary is another factor that can affect payment history. Young adults early in their career typically earn less money, which can lead to tight finances. If their finances are stretched too thin, they may not be able to afford all their payments or may be late submitting them.
Amounts Owed (30% of Your Credit Score)
If you use a large amount of your available credit— for example, by maxing out your credit cards — lenders will think that you have overextended yourself and are at a higher risk of falling behind on your payments.
It’s common for young adults to misuse their first credit cards by overspending or using them to cover basic necessities. They learn the hard way how their high interest rates can quickly increase the overall amount they owe. But as they earn more money and pay down debt, more credit will become available, which will increase their scores over time.
Length of Credit History (15% of Your Credit Score)
Your credit score considers the average age of your credit accounts and how long you’ve had them. Young adults may have just one student loan or secured credit card under their names, so their credit history is quite young. By contrast, older adults may have had the same credit card for decades, meaning their credit history is more established with higher scores as a result.
New Credit (10% Of Your Credit Score)
Opening several accounts in a short amount of time is a red flag to lenders, but it’s a common occurrence for young adults. Particularly after college, they may have to take out loans to buy a car, purchase a house, or refinance student loans – all of which cause more inquiries to appear on their reports. But as their finances and circumstances stabilize, they’ll likely have fewer inquiries, ultimately increasing their score.
Credit Mix (10% of Your Credit Score)
Having a mix of different types of credit cards including installment loans, credit cards or mortgages shows lenders that you can responsibly handle multiple forms of debt. Young adults may have only one or two accounts, like a student loan and a credit card, so their credit report isn’t as diversified.
Improving Your Credit
Your credit score acts as a financial report card that provides lenders information about your experience with debt and how likely you are to repay it on time. The average credit score by age typically improves as adults gain more experience managing money. But dealing with a low credit score in the meantime can be frustrating.
Whether you’re still in college or a recent graduate, focus on making all your required payments on time and minimize how often you use or apply for credit. Your payment history and the amount of available credit that you use are the two biggest factors affecting your credit, so mastering good habits in those areas will have the greatest impact on your credit score. By being mindful of your actions and working towards strengthening your finances, you’ll see your credit score improve in no time.