A study of average credit scores for different racial groups shows substantial disparities, with Hispanics scoring at the national average and the average black score falling well below that level. Meanwhile, White and Asian populations record significantly higher than average scores. Here’s how the numbers break down.
Key points to remember
- Credit scores do not take into account age, race, income or place of residence.
- However, the financial factors used to calculate credit scores can disproportionately affect certain racial groups.
- Asian and white populations in the United States have the highest average credit scores. Hispanics roughly match the national average, and black credit scores as a group are below average.
- The average of all groups is considered “good” to “very good”.
What the Credit Score Study Revealed
Based on FICO score data, payment processor Shift calculated that the median credit score for all Americans was 703 in 2019. This is in a range close to the average of 701 for Hispanic consumers. . Blacks, however, recorded an average credit score of just 677.
The Asian population enjoys the highest credit scores, with an average of 745. This is slightly higher than the average for white Americans, which stood at 734 in 2019.
Despite these differences, the averages for all racial groups were in the good range, except for the Asian population average, which was rated as very good.
Credit scores measure a number of financial factors, but don’t take into account age, race, salary, or where they live. Yet the disparities can be due to differences in take-home pay, the amount of a consumer’s other debts, whether or not they’ve ever had a credit card, and whether they’re a homeowner.
|Average FICO Score by Breed|
|Race||Average score 2019||Classification|
Shift Credit Card Processing’s data report on credit scores comes from a number of sources, with its racial credit score data ultimately coming from the Federal Reserve. The Fed regularly tracks and reports US consumer debt and credit metrics.
Understanding Credit Score
Credit scores can be confusing because there are several different scoring models, as well as three major credit reporting agencies. The FICO score, however, is the most commonly used system, generating a score of 300 to 850.
The two biggest impacts on your credit score are how often you pay your debts on time, which accounts for 35% of your score, and how much available credit you have tapped, which accounts for 30% of the calculation. total. . In other words, these two factors together account for nearly two-thirds of your score.
The length of your credit history (longer is better), how many times you’ve applied for new credit in the last 12 months (less is better), and whether or not you have a mix of credit types (variety is good).
What constitutes “good” credit
Credit bureau Experian defines credit quality according to five levels, starting with Poor and culminating in Exceptional. Anything below 580 is considered mediocre, and it takes a score of 670 to pass into the correct range. A fair score is between the two. Very Good starts at 740, and those with a score of 800 or more are awarded the Exceptional label.
Access to credit is an important component of credit scores, as each score measures a person’s credit management history. For those who haven’t had the opportunity to open a credit card account, building a positive credit history can be difficult. Likewise, having a low income can make it difficult to cover expenses and easier to miss a credit card payment.
Likewise, other types of debt can get in the way. For example, black Americans often have more student loan debt than white Americans, which can interfere with their ability to make timely payments on other debts, which hurts their credit history.
Additionally, credit scoring models tend to favor homeownership, tracking payments on mortgages, but generally not on rent or utilities. Because renters represent a higher percentage of black and Hispanic households compared to white and Asian households, fewer black and Hispanic consumers may benefit from mortgage-related down payments on their score, while a payment history blank rent may have no impact.