Experian confirmed what you might also be seeing in your F&I office or underwriting department. Consumer credit scores are generally getting a bit higher.
According to its annual State of Credit report, Experian said Americans' average credit score has increased 2 points year-over-year to 682. While people are taking on slightly more credit card, mortgage and nonmortgage debt year-over-year, analysts found delinquency rates are decreasing on average.
“We’re seeing a promising trend in terms of how Americans are managing their credit as we head into a new decade with average credit scores increasing 2 points since 2018 to 682 — the highest we’ve seen since 2011,” said Shannon Lois, Experian’s head of analytics, consulting and operations.
“Average credit card balances and debt are up year over year, yet utilization rates remain consistent at 30%, indicating consumers are using credit as a financial tool and managing their debts responsibly,” Lois continued.
When comparing the borrowing behaviors of men and women, Experian’s State of Credit report revealed woman have a 4-point lead over men with an average credit score of 686 compared to 682. While men and women both maintain a utilization rate of 30%, differences in how they manage credit include:
— Men carry more non-mortgage and mortgage debt than women at $27,314 and $220,421 respectively; compared to $24,176 and $203,630.
— Women have more credit cards (3.17 compared to 3.01) and retail cards (2.83 compared to 2.13) but carry lower balances with an average credit card balance of $6,569, compared with $6,872 and an average retail card balance of $1,858 compared to $2,087.
— Men have a slightly higher 90+ days past due delinquency rate (34% compared to 33%).
As part of the annual study, Experian also ranked states by average credit score in 2019.
Minnesota, Vermont, South Dakota, New Hampshire and Massachusetts are the top-ranking states in the nation with prime credit scores of 705 or more.
Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Texas and Oklahoma are the five lowest-ranking states with credit scores below 660.
Experian’s analysis is based on a statistically relevant sampling of Experian’s consumer credit database from Q2 2017, 2018 and 2019. Analyzed credit files contained no personally identifiable information. Credit scores are based on VantageScore (range 300 – 850).
Experian director of consumer education and awareness Rod Griffin looked at the data in the complete report and offered this assessment.
“Understanding the factors that influence their overall credit profile can help consumers improve and maintain their financial health,” Griffin said.
“Credit can be used as a financial tool. Through this report, we hope to provide insights that will help consumers make more informed decisions about credit use as we prepare to head into a new decade,” he went on to say.