U.S. consumer credit quality has been on a slow, steady climb for the past several years.
It’s an indication that Americans are getting better at managing their credit and paying their bills on time.
According to Fair Isaac Corporation, basic FICO scores range from 300 to 850. The national average FICO score is now 695, the highest it’s been in at least 10 years. And 20 percent of consumers now have FICO scores above 800.
“It indicates that overall more consumers using credit are managing it responsibly enough to not be among the lowest scorers,” the FICO blog said. It could also indicate that the lowest-scoring consumers are bypassing the traditional credit market, so they no longer have a valid FICO Score.
Consumers having easier access to their FICO score could be a powerful contributor when it comes to raising the score.
“Don’t underestimate the influence of the number of places now giving out credit scores at no cost,” credit expert John Ulzheimer told The New York Times.
Many credit card companies, as well as lenders and banks, now offer consumers periodic access to their credit scores. The list of companies that help educate people about their score is only expected to grow.
“Consumers are increasingly well informed and aware of their credit score,” Ethan Dornhelm, a principal scientist in FICO’s analytic development group, told the Times.
FICO said that although scores have improved, it’s beginning to see evidence that credit levels are plateauing.
If you’re looking to raise your credit score, but don’t know where to begin, try “7 Ways to Build Your Credit Score Without a Credit Card,” and “7 Fast Ways to Raise Your Credit Score.”
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