- Americans, overall, are weathering the pandemic relatively well from a financial perspective.
- Credit scores have actually improved as people pay down debt.
- There are still star performers and laggards when it comes to credit-worthiness, however. WalletHub tracked median credit scores in more than 2,500 U.S. cities.
If you're wondering how you're faring financially amid the pandemic compared to your neighbors, or other Americans in general, your credit score can be one good yardstick.
Personal finance website WalletHub in September compared the median TransUnion credit scores of residents in 2,572 U.S. cities to come up with a list of top and bottom performers when it comes to credit-worthiness.
In general, recent research shows that Americans, overall, are faring well despite the economic havoc wrought by Covid-19. Largely thanks to federal relief efforts such as stimulus checks, pauses on repayments of federal student loans and mortgages, and extended unemployment insurance payments, consumers are both saving more money and paying off debt.
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In fact, WalletHub says debt paydowns are at record levels. As a result, credit scores are actually improving nationwide. For example, in July the average national credit score rose to an all-time high of 711, according to FICO, the developer of one of the most commonly used scores by lenders.
The top five cities with the highest median credit scores were, according to WalletHub:
- The Villages, Florida (807)
- Sun City West, Arizona (789)
- Sun City Center, Florida (789)
- Green Valley, Arizona (788)
- Los Altos, California (784)
The bottom five cities, meanwhile, are:
- Camden, New Jersey (552)
- East St. Louis, Illinois (552)
- Chester, Pennsylvania (552)
- Detroit (560)
- Gary, Indiana (561)
For all the good news, experts say the full impact of the pandemic on credit scores may not be known until government aid ends.
"Serious delinquency levels remain near record lows," Matt Komos, vice president of research and consulting at TransUnion, told CNBC recently. "However, the performance of those accounts still in accommodation will help shape the true consumer credit picture."
Full results from the WalletHub study are available here.