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Millennials' average FICO score increased 25 points since 2012—here's the average credit score by generation

CNBC Select breaks down the average credit score by generation from Experian's Consumer Credit Review report and offers advice on some easy ways to improve your credit score.

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The average credit score was a record-breaking 703 in 2019, and that's thanks in part to millennials who have achieved a 25-point increase since 2012. That's according to the 2019 Experian Consumer Credit Review, which also found that the average age Americans are reaching a FICO score of 700 is the lowest it's ever been, at 54.

The spike in millennials' credit scores can be attributed to many entering the workforce, advancing in their careers and achieving life milestones, such as purchasing a home.

A good credit score (670 to 739) is essential for obtaining the best rates on a mortgage, auto loan or even opening a credit card. Good credit can help you qualify for a balance transfer credit card, like the Discover it® Balance Transfer, or generous rewards credit cards, like the American Express® Gold Card.

CNBC Select breaks down the average credit score by generation from Experian's report and some easy ways to improve your credit score.

Key findings

  • The average FICO score in the U.S. hit a record high of 703 in 2019
  • Millennials' average FICO score has increased 25 points since 2012
  • Generally, the older you are, the higher your credit score
  • The silent generation (74+) continues to have the highest FICO score, on average 756
  • Generation Z (18-22) has the lowest credit score, on average 677

FICO score ranges

Credit score ranges vary based on the credit scoring model used (FICO versus VantageScore) and the credit bureau (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) that pulls the score. However lenders have a clear preference: FICO scores are used in 90% of U.S. lending decisions.

Here are the FICO score ranges, using estimates from Experian, so you can see where you fall.

  • Very poor: 300 to 579
  • Fair: 580 to 669
  • Good: 670 to 739
  • Very good: 740 to 799
  • Excellent: 800 to 850

Take action: Check your credit score for free.

Average credit scores by generation

Generation 2018  2019 
Generation Z (18-22)666667
Millenials (23-38)664668
Generation X (39-54)685688
Baby Boomers (55-73)729731
Silent Generation (74+)754756
Source: Experian using FICO scores

How to raise your credit score

If your credit is less than stellar (scores below 670), consider following these easy tips to raise your credit so you can achieve a good or excellent score.

Make on time payments

Payment history is the most important factor of your credit score, so it's key to always pay on time. Set up autopay or reminders to ensure timely payments.

Pay in full

While you should always make at least your minimum payment, we recommend paying your bill in full every month to reduce your utilization rate (your total credit card balance divided by your total available credit) and avoid paying high interest rate charges.

Don't open too many accounts at once

Each time you apply for credit, whether it's a credit card or loan, an inquiry appears on your credit report. This temporarily dings your credit score about five points, though it will bounce back within a few months. Try to limit applications as needed and shop around with prequalification tools that don't hurt your credit score.

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Information about the Discover it® Balance Transfer has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the CNBC Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.