Average credit score at every age in the U.S.

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Although Americans’ average credit scores recently dropped for the first time in a decade, many appear to be maintaining a relatively healthy score.

The average credit score dipped by one point, from 718 to 717, according to FICO’s March 6 blog post. Your FICO and VantageScore credit score can fall anywhere between 300 and 850, and a 717 score is considered to be “very good,” according to the VantageScore model.

Here are VantageScore’s rankings and ranges:

  • Very Poor: 300 to 499
  • Poor: 500 to 600
  • Good: 601 to 660
  • Very Good: 661 to 780
  • Exceptional: 781 to 850

When you break down the average credit score by age, most Americans appear to have a good score as well.

Here’s the average credit score by generation as of March 2024, per VantageScore CreditGauge data shared with CNBC Make It:

  • Gen Z (18 to 27): 665
  • Millennials (28 to 43): 687
  • Gen X (44 to 59): 710
  • Baby boomers (60 to 78): 746
  • Silent generation (79 to 96): 750

Many factors are used to calculate your credit score, including your payment history, the amounts you owe, your credit mix and how often you’ve recently opened a new line of credit. It’s understandable that older generations tend to have higher scores since they’ve had a longer time to establish and maintain their credit.

However, Generation Z and millennials are more likely to move up to a higher credit tier at a faster rate than older generations, according to OpenLending and TransUnion’s “Financing the Future” report.

How to take your credit score to the next level

When it comes to boosting your credit score, expert advice is pretty straightforward: Do your best to pay down your debt.

“The best way to improve your credit score in both the long and short run is to pay down your loan balances,” Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree, tells CNBC Make It. “That can obviously be easier said than done, but it should always be the goal.”

Another way to help your score move up is to ask your lender to increase your credit limit, which helps improve your credit utilization ratio, Schulz says. Your credit utilization rate is the amount of your total available credit that you’re using.

For example, if you have one credit card with a $4,000 limit and you’re carrying a balance of $1,000, your credit utilization would be 25%. If your lender increases your limit to $6,000, it would lower your credit utilization to around 16%.

If your credit utilization rises above 30%, it can start to negatively impact your score, according to Experian.

However, if your request to increase your credit limit is granted, it’s important not to spend up to that new limit, “otherwise you’ll be digging your hole even deeper,” Schulz says.

Ultimately, maintaining a healthy credit score comes down to consistency.

“It is about paying your bills on time every single time, keeping your balances as low as possible and not applying for too much credit too often,” he says. “If you do these things consistently for years, your credit is going to be just fine.”

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