America’s Best & Worst Credit Scores

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California may be plagued by financial woes, but that doesn’t mean its residents are in the red.

The Golden State tied with New Jersey and Massachusetts as the state whose occupants currently have the highest credit score. According to credit management website CreditKarma.com, which aggregated the data from its user base, residents in all three states had an average credit score of 684.

Those living in Arkansas, conversely, have the lowest credit scores, by far. State residents there averaged a score of 636, which is seven points below the residents in Alabama and Kentucky, where both states hold an average score of 643.

FICO’s credit model scores consumers on a scale of 300 to 850 points. Those with a FICO score above 760 are typically considered to have excellent credit and, as such, are privy to lower interest rates, and tend to score better rewards deals and accessible bank loans.

As FICO considers people with moderate credit to be those with scores between 650 and 699, three other states posted low or “poor” averages. These states included South Carolina (644), Louisiana (647) and Tennessee (649).

Oklahoma residents’ credit scores just made it into the moderate bracket with an average score of 650.

To get this data, CreditKarma compared the current credit scores of its user base with previous scores pulled at least 30 days prior and no more than 90 days prior to the month of September. Its latest figures include a comparison of more than 148,082 scores. The site currently more than 2 million users.

Nationally, U.S. residents averaged a score of 666 from September 2010, down three points since January 2010. Louisiana saw the largest credit score change since January with the average credit score rising eight points from 639 to 647.

The top 10 states whose residents posted the highest credit score average include:

  • California: 684
  • Massachusetts: 684
  • New Jersey: 684
  • Washington: 679
  • New York: 678
  • Minnesota: 678
  • Connecticut: 677
  • Utah: 677
  • Virginia: 675
  • Colorado: 672

While most states managed to maintain moderate credit, no locale can be considered the home of the credit elite. Check out this MainStreet article to learn how to get a perfect credit score.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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