Average VantageScores say we've fully recovered from the recession.

Numbers don’t lie, especially when it comes to credit scores.

In 2007, now fully a decade behind us, the nation’s average VantageScore — the second most common credit score — was 679. Today, we’re just four points away from that at 675, according to Experian. (The max score is 850.) Michele Raneri, an Experian VP, says this means 2018 will be good for consumers.

“With employment and consumer confidence on the rise, we’ve made great progress as a country since the recession,” says Raneri. “The economy is expected to expand at a healthy pace this year supported by access to affordable consumer credit and we believe that credit will continue to rebound. All of the factors point towards a good year for credit in 2018.”

Personal and auto loans are also up 11 percent and 6 percent, respectively, year over year, while consumer confidence is up 25 percent. Consumers are carrying around an average of 3.1 credit cards each (2.5 retail credit cards). Cardholders are carrying around $6,300 on credit cards and averaging around $25,000 of non-mortgage debt. While this seems promising, there are some areas around the country that are better with credit and debt than others.

Minneapolis residents have the best score in the country with 709 (707 from this time last year), while Rochester and Mankato — both also in Minnesota — round out the top 3, tying with average scores of 708. Neighboring Wisconsin had two cities in spots No. 4 and 5: Wausau and Green Bay, averaging 706 and 705, respectively.

The South has it relatively bad. Greenwood, Miss., is home to the worst average VantageScore in the nation (624). This is even after it went up two points from last year. Georgia, Texas, and Louisiana all had cities that made the bottom 10. None of them broke a score of 640.

While scores differ based on cities, it’s different generations that generally handle their debt differently, Experian says.

“Millennials are doing well managing their credit and continue to see their scores climb — four points over the past year,” Experian says. “They have also decreased their overall average debt by eight percent and have increased their mortgage debt by an additional six percent, which is a positive sign for this generation.”

Generation X has the highest mortgage debt of all generations and higher-than-average late payments. Baby boomers also have high mortgage debt but the lowest rate of late payments. The silent generation has the best credit score average at 729.

Last year, credit scores jumped across the board thanks to a change in how credit bureaus managed reporting structures. Because of this, debt that used to count against your credit score, like tax liens and losing a civil lawsuit, were removed. Medical bills were also shifted from hurting your score, and are now managed more efficiently. It’s great news since medical collections made up about 20 percent of debt collections.

Credit scores are important to virtually everything you handle, from buying a home to getting a great interest rate on a car loan. Even though credit scores are on the rise, debt is still a major financial burden to many Americans. Oftentimes, medical bills or home emergencies lead to using credit cards to pay off big expenses, which puts us in a bind when we have mounting credit card debt to pay off. If you’re looking to improve your credit score, take some notes from Hispanics.

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Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn

Writer

Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Budgeting & Saving, Credit & Debt

credit score, economy

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Article last modified on July 6, 2018 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Is Our Economy Doing Better? Our Credit Scores Say Yes - AMP.