Based on recent data from the credit bureau Experian, the average national credit score is 692. This score, commonly known as the FICO score, ranges from 300 to 850. At a score of 682, Washington D.C. came in below average. Nevada had the lowest with a 668. Maryland residents are above average with a collective credit score of 695. Minnesota had the highest average credit score at 721.
Ensuring that your credit reports are accurate and that your score continues to rise is an important step of leading a financially responsible life. The consequences extend beyond financial concerns as companies and employers are increasingly using credit reports for additional purposes. The National Consumer Law Center found that nearly half of employers use credit reports in hiring decisions. Insurance companies have used credit reports to pick customers and exclude those more likely to file a claim. If you would like more information about improving your finances, a Washington DC or Maryland bankruptcy lawyer is available to assist you in attaining a high credit score.
Keeping Up on Your Credit Scores and Reports
- Check your free credit reports regularly. By law, consumers can check their credit reports from the three major bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) once per year. Whether you check all three at the same time each year or space them out every four months, be sure you regularly check them for accuracy.
- Occasionally check your credit score. Your free credit reports do not include a credit score. Perhaps once a year, you should pay to find out your credit score from TransUnion or Equifax (Experian no longer sells credit scores). If you have not had any major credit events, you could get away with checking your score less often. If you have a major event coming up (for example, taking out a mortgage or a buying a car), knowing your credit score is vital information. Waiting for your score to rebound before undertaking a mortgage can save you lots of money.
- Pay bills on time. Many people are unaware that unpaid bills relating to medical services, library books, or housing utilities can affect your credit report. These items are not normally included on your credit reports unless there is a problem. If the institution sends the bills to collections, the bills can appear as unpaid debt. They can appear even in error, so, again, checking your free credit reports throughout the year is a wise decision.
With a credit score of 760 or higher, you will be able to qualify for the best rates on loans you take on, whether for a new car, new house, or something else. With a clear credit report and a high score, you will know that your financial life will never affect your ability to land a job, rent an apartment, or take out insurance. Contact a Boston or Washington DC bankruptcy attorney at the law firm of Kevin D. Judd if you would like to learn more about how to improve your credit scores.