Building good credit can be a lengthy process, and it is one that is a lifelong process. Since building credit usually starts when you are young and lasts your entire life, it would seem to follow that there may be a correlation with age and credit scores. Overall, average FICO credit scores have risen in the ten year period of Q2 2009 (score: 690) to Q2 2019 (score: 703). Using consumer data from Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, researchers have gained insight on the correlation between age and FICO credit scores. Continue reading to learn more!
FICO CREDIT SCORES INCREASE WITH AGE
Overall, it is clear that credit scores increase quite steadily with age. The data suggests that consumers in their 20s have the lowest credit scores (660), which makes sense given that they have had relatively little time to build a credit history. Consumers in their 80s have the highest credit scores (757), which also makes sense given that they have had ample time to build their credit histories and bounce back from any adverse events that may have negatively impacted their credit. Between those age categories, credit scores rise steadily. The exception is those in their 90s, who had a slightly lower credit score.
SCORES INCREASE MOST FROM THE 50s TO 60s
While scores generally increase steadily with age, the rate of increase varies between age categories. Scores increased the most from the 50s to 60s, which correlates with average estimated household income. This income statistic peaks for individuals in their 50s. Thus, it would seem to make sense that this higher household income allows people to more responsibly manage their credit card balances and keep their credit utilization lower.
CREDIT CARD DEBT CORRELATES
Credit card debt generally seems to correlate with these findings. Credit card debt balances double from the 20s to 30s, and while the average credit score does increase, it only does so by three points (669 to 672). This would seem to make sense given that the increase in scores due to longer credit history gets offset by the negative impact of high credit card balances.
On the other end of the spectrum, credit card debt balances reach their maximum in the 40s. The subsequent decrease in credit card balances makes sense given the household income statistics in the 50s and subsequent fast rise in average credit card scores mentioned previously.
CREDIT SCORES BY AGE
There were a number of additional findings stratified by age category. Some of these include:
- Age 20s – one of two age categories where average credit scores decrease from the lower to upper end (681 average for age 20 versus 660 average for age 29)
- Age 30s – greatest increase in average score relative to that in Q2 2015
- Age 40s – steady increase
- Age 50s – first age category to surpass an average credit score of 700
- Age 60s – first age category to surpass an average credit score of 740, which is considered “very good”
- Age 70s – slower increase; first age category to have a slight drop in average credit score (758 average for age 78 versus 757 average for age 79)
- Age 80s – highest average credit score of 757
- Age 90s – one of two age categories where average credit scores decrease from the lower to upper end (757 average for age 90 versus 749 average for age 99)
Overall, it is clear that credit score tends to correlate with age. Of course, the key thing is maintaining diligence with good credit practices over your lifetime!