Credit Scores: Highs,Lows and Averages

Oct 20, 2015 by

Credit Scores: Highs,Lows and Averages

Every person in the United States has a credit score. As can be expected from such a wide cross- section of people, those scores are going to vary; sometimes quite a bit. Many people are aware of what constitutes a low credit score and what makes a credit score favorable. What folks may not be aware of, however, is how the numbers are put together, or how they can actually take steps to improve their own credit ratings. With all of this in mind, it is important to understand that there are some areas where lower credit scores are more common than in other areas.

As of the spring of last year, the average credit score in the United States was 669. That is a score that is okay, but not good enough to help people qualify for the best lines of credit or the most favorable interest rates. As you might have guessed, though, the credit scores vary quite a bit from one state to another. For example, in Mississippi (the state with the lowest credit score average) the score came in at 638. This is not a great average credit score for a state. Minnesota came in at the top, with an average credit score of 704. That is the kind of credit rating that helps people to qualify for favorable loan terms and rates on most loans or lines of credit.

Why so many low scores?

A major cause of lower credit scores in some states is that consumers are not as aware of what goes into building a strong credit score as they ought to be. Educating consumers about financial topics plays an important role in helping people to have higher credit scores. Having extra cash, however, is another important factor that must be considered. In Minnesota, the median income is an impressive $61,000. That is almost 2/3 higher than the $38,000 median income level in Mississippi. The disparity in income levels, for better or worse, makes a big difference when considering the average credit scores and financial stability levels from one state to the next.

The president of the Mississippi Council on Economic Education Selena Swartsfager said, “You’ll hear people say it doesn’t matter what you make, you just have to manage what you’ve got. I’m afraid that until we’re able to do something about the level of poverty that we have in Mississippi, we can train people all day long on what to do with their money, but if they don’t have any, then that’s an issue.”

Examining the Big Credit Score Picture

The financial difficulties faced by people in Mississippi definitely showed through when comparing the state to nearby states that had their share of financial difficulties; states, like Georgia and Louisiana. These three states currently have the titles to 10 of the 20 lowest credit score averages in major cities. The upper Midwest, however, was the center of all but one of the top 10 credit ratings in large cities. This data includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Dakotas and Iowa. Only Montana came in as an outlier, according to a recent report.

As difficult as it may be, every household has to take its own steps to recover from low credit scores. The most important thing that consumers can do to improve their credit ratings over time is to continue to make on-time payments on all of their loans, credit cards and other financial obligations. We will likely always see credit score disparities across the nation, but it is comforting to know that individuals can take steps to make their credit scores more favorable than they are currently.

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Official CFPB Poll Results Released to the Public

Aug 19, 2015 by

Official CFPB Poll Results Released to the Public

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was created as a part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The CFPB claims in its mission statement that it is here to, “…educate consumers, enforce federal consumer financial laws, and gather and analyze available information to better understand consumers, financial services providers, and consumer financial markets.”

Here are some of the core functions the CFPB is responsible for:

  • Take complaints from consumers
  • Author and publish rules to inform and protect consumers
  • Supervise businesses and enforce federal consumer protection laws
  • Educate consumers about financial topics
  • Research the financial behavior of consumers
  • Monitor markets and take note of new risks to consumers
  • Enforce laws that prohibit discrimination or unfair treatments in consumer finances.

With all of this information in mind, let’s take a look at the results of a recent survey.  This survey was given to 3,225 potential voters and 3,604 U.S. adults. It was conducted between June 5th and June 10th of 2015. Here are some of the findings of this survey:

73 percent of survey respondents believe that the CFPB should be held to the same standards as other federal agencies when it comes to anti-discrimination rules. 77 percent agreed that women with equal qualifications as men should be paid the same amount at the CFPB. 66 percent of survey respondents believe that the director of the bureau should be fired because of an incident where CFPB officials called a division with a large number of African-American employees the “Plantation” and another incident where a manager with the CFPB allegedly referred to an employee as an “expletive… foreigner.”

A mere 20 percent of survey respondents agree that the CFPB should be able to review consumer’s credit card information without direct consent and that the bureau should be allowed to collect information from credit card accounts to track how the average consumer spends money. 57 percent of responders completely disagreed with the 20 percent mentioned above when it comes to the CFPB accessing and using consumer credit card information.

The majority of respondents expressed a lack of confidence about the CFPB’s ability to safeguard credit card data. In fact, only 8 percent of respondents said that the CFPB’s collection methods were better than the NSA’s review of peoples’ text and phone records. 43 percent said that the CFPB’s snooping into credit card data is just as bad as the NSA spying on people.

Of the people polled, 68 percent disagree with the government being able to tell consumers how to make the best financial decisions and how to spend their money. 71 percent believe that it is the responsibility of consumers to decide whether they should take out loans and mortgages with unfavorable terms, as long as those terms were presented clearly in the loan documentation. 65 percent of the survey respondents said that consumers should be able to decide about payday loans, even if those loans feature high fees that borrowers must pay. There were only 25 percent of respondents who believe that the CFPB should be able to put restrictions on short term loans and other types of alternative financial products.

Whether or not the CFPB will take any of this survey information into consideration is anyone’s guess. However, the numbers clearly tell the story that consumers in this country do not want – or need – a watchdog group that is going to restrict their rights to the financial products that people prefer to use. Even if a loan features expensive fees, it is clear that consumers understand this fact and want the freedom to be able to choose those types of loans if that is what they consider best for their personal situations.

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Small Mistakes That Cause Big Problems for Your Credit

Feb 2, 2014 by

Small Mistakes That Cause Big Problems for Your Credit

There is probably not one person who wants poor credit. Not many people go around saying they do not care about their credit. There are some small mistakes that anyone can make that can cause big problems for your credit, you need to watch for them and avoid them.

The first mistake is to open too many accounts at one time. Every credit card that you apply for can and will show up on your credit report. This does not look good, the more you have on there the worse that it looks. Each application for a credit card does cost you three to five points on your credit score. They can even show up on your credit score for up to two years, although it only has a negative impact for about half the time that it shows up.

Missing even one payment is another mistake that can cost you big. Missing a payment can cause you to have a larger amount owed. The company that you owe can add late fees to your balance, and not only that the interest will still be adding up. It also looks bad on your credit score, causing it to fall up to one hundred points. Make sure that you are making your payments on time.

Acceptance marks displayed on top left of this...

Photo: Wikipedia

Before closing an old credit card account that you have had for years. If you are looking for a new line of credit then closing an old account is not a good idea. It can negatively impact your credit score. So make sure that you think long and hard before closing an old account. Try to look into your future to see if you can see yourself trying to acquire a new line of credit any time in the near future.

It is obvious for anyone who knows anything knows that it is not a good idea to max out a credit card. Maxing out a single credit card can really hurt your credit score. If you have to make a big purchase you will be better off splitting the cost between two different credit cards. Maxing out one will not only show up on your credit score but can impact your ability to get new lines of credit.

You need to make sure that you are checking your credit score at least once a year. The three major credit reporting companies will give you a copy of your credit report for free once a year. You need to make sure that you are checking your credit card for errors. Any errors that are on your credit report will affect you getting a new line of credit. If you find any errors make sure to report them to the company immediately.

If you have a bill that is unpaid and gets sent to a collections agency and do not pay it, it will seriously hurt your credit. There is no reason to ignore these bills, if you have to contact the collections company and set up a payment plan that you can afford. Most of these companies are going to be willing to work with you in order to get the money that is owed to the original company. So just call and see what they can do to work for you.

There are many small mistakes that can really hurt your credit. Your credit needs to be very important to you. You need to make sure that you are doing what is necessary to keep your credit in a good place. Having good credit can help your financial future, and having poor credit can truly hurt your financial future.

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Unusual Money Saving Tips

Jan 22, 2014 by

Unusual Money Saving Tips

Most likely you have heard various financial tips. Some of them you may have followed and some of them you may not have felt the need to do. No matter how you feel about financial tips, there are some that are unusual but really do work.

When you go out to eat you can see on the menu that some meals are larger than others. Most of the time the meal that are larger are not really much more expensive than the smaller meals are. Order the larger meal. You can take home the left overs and have another meal that did not cost any money because it had been paid for already.

Get your friends to cut your hair. Make a party of it. Getting your friends to cut your hair can save a lot of money over the course of a year. Think about how much you pay per haircut, is it worth it? Depending on what you want done to your hair and your friend’s skill level there is no reason they cannot do it for you.

Use dryer sheet two or three times. Dryer sheets are still good after their first use, do not throw them away. They can be used two to three times and still be effective. Reusing dryer sheets will help you to save money by not needing to buy more than necessary.

Saving Money

Saving Money (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

The day after Christmas there are so many sales and deals. You can find great gift baskets for next to nothing. There is nothing wrong with buying a lot of them and saving them for next year. You may even find that you can give them as gifts for other things throughout the year such as birthdays. This saves a lot of money, because the day after Christmas they are trying to get rid of all the items they have in stock for that year.

Do not buy rags at the store. When a towel or piece of clothing is worn out and no longer of use cut it up. You can use the scraps of clothing or towels instead of buying rags. This saves money and can give you many more rags than you would actually buy at the store and if one gets ruined you will not mind as much because it was not a new rag, it was an old piece of clothing.

There are many ways to save money. Some are more unusual than others. It does not matter if it is a way that most people use to save money or if it is a big more unusual. The point is to save where you can. You may surprise yourself by finding more ways to save than anyone you know, or a new way to save that no one else is doing.

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Achievable Financial Goals

Jan 10, 2014 by

Achievable Financial Goals

Most everyone has financial goals. Some are very reasonable and realistic, others, not so much. Setting financial goals that are achievable is just as important as the steps you take to get to those goals.

One of the first things you need to do is decide what you want those financial goals to be. You need to make priorities out of them. What do you want first? Second? You must keep in mind that they have to be realistic. You cannot say I want to save a million dollars this year? Well, okay, do you make enough money that you can realistically save a million? If you do fine, if not then obviously this is not a realistic goal. Making goals you want to achieve is just as important as setting realistic goals. You are more likely to achieve your goals if you want them.

Your goals should be able to be measured. It is easier to measure financial goals than many other goals. So give your goal a number. Being specific about timelines and measurements is very important to you actually achieving your goals.

Try for only one goal at a time. Do not try to split your focus right away. By setting only one goal to start with you can put most of your focus toward that. Once you reach that goal you will be able to set another one, and so on. By having one goal at a time you are more likely to actually get to that goal. If you set so many you cannot focus on them, then they will never be achievable.

Millenium goals Toon

Photo: Wikipedia

You do not need to only set one goal a year. If you set a goal for yourself and you achieve it go ahead and set another one, you do not need to wait until next year. Continue your goal setting and achieving all year long.

There may be many goals you want to achieve and are unsure of which one you want to achieve first. You always have the option to talk with a financial advisor. They will be able to help you prioritize your goals, talk to you about how best to achieve them, and then help you get started. They can we a wealth of information, so if you do go to see one, take a list of question you have so that you do not forget to ask anything.

Prioritize your goals; make your goals measurable; work on one goal at a time. These are the basic steps to get you on your path to achieving your financial goals. It may seem simple to some, and difficult to others. By only having one goal at a time you should not feel so overwhelmed and it should help make it easier to achieve all of your goals.

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You Cannot Plan For The Unexpected

Dec 31, 2013 by

You Cannot Plan For The Unexpected

Here’s the main thing you have to understand about life: as much as you think that you can plan for things, the unexpected is just around the corner. This is especially true when it comes to your fnances. While you may find that a few months of good fortune allows you to save money and have Financial Relief, you soon find that Unexpected emergencies occur that can lead you back to a situation where you don’t have the money to pay for your monthly bills. It doesn’t matter how financially responsible you may be, these unexpected issues can throw you for a loop. Even if you have put money away, these issues can quickly lead you looking for a loan to make sure that you don’t fall behind on your regular monthly bills. While you may be looking for Payday Loans that you can get either from those who offer Text Loans or Bad Credit Cash Loans for surprisingly little risk, you are also looking for peace of mind that you don’t have to worry about taking a credit hit, and further financial issues, due to events that have occurred.

A Wide Variety Of Events Can Effect One


There are certain events that are apt to lead you to financial issues. While there are a wide variety of things that can through you for a loop, there are some that tend to occur more than others. For example, if you have a car, you are going to have repairs and services needed here and there. Sometimes, though costs will eat into your savings, and affect your ability to pay monthly bills. Same goes for health issues that either lead a family member into the emergency room or, worse, spending the night in the hospital.

Be Smart About The Loan That You Pick

While there is no such thing as a “no risk” loan, there are some loans that are less risky than others. Payday loans tend to be on the lower side of the risk because they should be paid back the next month, and they are based upon the money that is coming in a paycheck.

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