NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


| Share

What's Your Credit Score?

What’s Your Credit Score?


                The average American’s credit score has been ticking up over the past few years, hitting a record 700 last year. But that strong national average hides a wide age-based range. There is a 91-point difference between the average scores of those in the oldest bracket of consumers and those in the youngest group, according to a new analysis done by FICO, a leading analytics software company. Their analysis found that for each decade, the average score increases by about 20 points.

                Your credit score is a three-digit number that relates to how likely you are to repay debt. Banks and lenders use it to decide whether they’ll approve you for a credit card or loan.  As there are three main credit bureaus -Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – you may have three different credit scores.

                All three credit bureaus consider similar factors to calculate your scores, such as:

  • Your payment history
  • How long you’ve had credit
  • The types of credit you have (credit cards, auto loans, student loans, mortgages, etc.)
  • Your credit limits and how much of those limits you’re using
  • How much debt you have
  • Hard inquiries on your credit report

                You could have different scores if a lender doesn’t report to all three credit bureaus or reports updates to them at different times. Some lenders may only report to one or two bureaus (or none at all.

You could also have different scores depending on the lending situation. For example, an auto lender might use one scoring model, while a mortgage lender uses another.

                You can order your report for free three times a year. Every 12 months, you’re entitled to one free copy of your report from each of the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—at AnnualCreditReport.com.  Your Credit Report does not include your Credit Score. Some credit card companies, such as American Express, Bank of America and Chase, provide customers free FICO score monitoring, including an estimate of their score either online or in their monthly statements. If your issuer doesn’t offer such a service, MyFICO.com has a free score estimator that you can use to get a rough idea of where you stand.

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.