10 States With the Lowest Average Credit Scores

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

There are only a handful of significant numerical measures in our lives — for instance, we have our health measures (like cholesterol and weight), scholastic and career measures (like grade point average and SAT score), and then of course, there are the financial measures, like income, net worth, and debt-to-income ratios. One of the more significant financial numerical measures we have is our credit score, which grades us on our ability to borrow and repay responsibly.

Most lenders still use the FICO (Fair Issac Corporation) score to make lending decisions. FICO, which was founded in 1956, uses advanced math and analytics in their scoring process. They break scores down into five main components — payment history, amounts owed (or utilization), length of credit history, types of credit (do you have a good mix?), and new credit.

A FICO score should not be confused with a Vantage score, which is what many online score providers offer to consumers. Your Vantage score will generally be higher than your FICO score, as some earlier vantage models use a 501 to 990 score range, and FICO scores generally range from 300 to 850. Vantage’s 3.0 model has updated the score range to 350 to 850, which is a more similar range to FICO’s scoring model. You may see a pretty significant (sometimes as high as 150 point) difference in your credit score, depending on where you pull it from — a Bureau, MyFico, or an online credit program.

Between all of the variables that go into a credit score and the different scoring models, it can be tough for many people to keep their credit on track. However, some consumers seem to have gotten this whole credit thing down a bit better than others.

Credit Karma, a website that offers credit services to consumers (the “get your free credit score folks”), found that those over the age of 55 have higher average scores than any other age group. Using Credit Karma data, coupled with data from Experian, we created a list of places with the lowest average credit scores. Is your credit score higher than the statewide average where you live?

** Credit Karma, which interacts with at least 30 million consumers, uses Transunion’s credit scoring model (Vantage 3.0) to determine the scores of its users. The U.S. map and the “states with lowest scores” data is based on credit scores of Credit Karma users. The “cities with the lowest scores” data is from Experian, which also uses the Vantage scoring model. 

10 states with the lowest credit scores

10. Missouri and Georgia (tied) 630
9. Tennessee 630
8. Oklahoma 629
7. Texas 629
6. Kentucky 628
5. Arkansas 624
4. Louisiana 624
3. Alabama 623
2. South Carolina 622
1. Mississippi 614

10 cities with the lowest credit scores

According to Experian’s “State of Credit” report, these metropolitan areas have the lowest credit scores among 100 areas that the Bureau examined.

10. Columbus, Mississippi 635
9. Bakersfield, California 635
8. Alexandria, Louisiana 634
7. Jackson, Mississippi 632
6. Las Vegas, Nevada 632
5. Laredo, Texas 630
4. Harlingen, Texas 625
3. Albany, Georgia 621
2. Riverside, California 620
1. Greenwood, Mississippi 609

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