Higher scores and improved consumer behavior are fueling a stronger credit market, Experian found in its seventh annual State of Credit study.
The average credit score nationwide rose four points from last year to 673 points, Experian reported Wednesday. That score is now just six points off the average of 679 set in 2007 prior to the financial crisis.
“We are seeing the positive effects of economic recovery, with the rise in income and low unemployment reflected in how Americans are managing their credit,” Michele Raneri, vice president of analytics and new business development at Experian, said in a news release.
“All credit indicators suggest consumers are not as ‘credit stressed.’ Credit card balances and average debt are up, while utilization rates remained consistent at 30%.”
Still major gaps remain when analyzing the credit score by generation. The average credit scores for the “Silent Generation” and baby boomers are 730 and 700, respectively. Comparatively, the average credit score for Generation Y, also referred to as millennials, is 634.
At the same time, millennials carry roughly $10,000 less in average debt than baby boomers, at $32,698 versus $42,628. But mortgage debt is about equal between the two generations at $185,668 and $186,240, respectively. The cohort with the highest level of average mortgage debt is Generation X at $224,836.