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Average FICO score hits record high—here's the average credit score in every state

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The average FICO score in the U.S. hit a record high of 703 in 2019, according to the 2019 Experian Consumer Credit Review. That's a two-point increase from 2018 and up 14 points since 2010.

A 703 FICO score falls within the range of good credit (670 to 739). The fact that many Americans have good credit scores is promising, since having a high score is key to qualifying for the best credit cards, mortgages and competitive loan rates.

If you have good credit, you may qualify for competitive travel rewards cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, or solid cash-back credit cards, like the Citi® Double Cash Card.

CNBC Select breaks down the key credit score findings from Experian's report, the average credit score in every state 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
  • Minnesota residents have the highest average credit score for the eighth consecutive year at 731
  • Mississippi residents have the lowest average credit score at 667
  • 59% of Americans have a FICO score of 700 or higher — the biggest percentage ever seen at that level

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. Previously Experian used VantageScores in their Consumer Credit Review, but switched to FICO scores in 2019. This is a welcome change since lenders opt to use FICO scores in 90% of U.S. lending decisions.

Here are the FICO score ranges, based on estimates from Experian.

  • 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

Top 10 states with the highest credit scores

Similar to prior years, Midwestern states have the highest average credit scores. Minnesota topped the list for the highest average FICO score (733) for the eighth straight year. And Wisconsin jumped up seven points from 2018 to round out the top five states.

  1. Minnesota: 733
  2. North Dakota: 727
  3. South Dakota: 727
  4. Vermont: 726
  5. Wisconsin: 725
  6. New Hampshire: 724
  7. Hawaii: 723
  8. Massachusetts: 723
  9. Nebraska: 723
  10. Washington: 723

Top 10 states with the lowest credit scores

Southern states have lower average credit scores than the rest of the U.S., and Mississippi ranks as the worst with an average 667 FICO score. The three states (Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama) with the lowest credit scores remained the same as 2018, but each state increased scores by up to two points.

  1. Mississippi: 667
  2. Louisiana: 677
  3. Alabama: 680
  4. Texas: 680
  5. South Carolina: 681
  6. Georgia: 682
  7. Oklahoma: 682
  8. Arkansas: 683
  9. Nevada: 686
  10. New Mexico: 686

Average FICO Scores by state

State 2018  2019 
Alabama680680
Alaska704707
Arizona694696
Arkansas683683
California706708
Colorado716718
Connecticut716717
Delaware700701
District Of Columbia700703
Florida694694
Georgia680682
Hawaii721723
Idaho710711
Illinois709709
Indiana698699
Iowa720720
Kansas711711
Kentucky691692
Louisiana675677
Maine712715
Maryland701704
Massachusetts721723
Michigan705706
Minnesota732733
Mississippi666667
Missouri700701
Montana718720
Nebraska722723
Nevada684686
New Hampshire722724
New Jersey713714
New Mexico685686
New York710712
North Carolina693694
North Dakota726727
Ohio704705
Oklahoma682682
Oregon716718
Pennsylvania711713
Rhode Island710713
South Carolina680681
South Dakota727727
Tennessee689690
Texas680680
Utah714716
Vermont725726
Virginia708709
Washington721723
West Virginia686687
Wisconsin718725
Wyoming711712
Source: Experian

How to raise your credit score

If you have a credit score lower than the average 703, consider following these simple tips to improve your credit. And even if you have a 703 or higher credit score, it's important to stick to these actions.

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 you don't miss a bill.

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 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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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.

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