Credit bureau Experian examined how credit scores have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

While the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the national economy and individual families' finances, it may come as a surprise that it has not had a negative impact on millions of Americans' credit scores. The credit bureau Experian compared VantageScores by each state and ranked them by their average score as of the second quarter in 2020. "While the pandemic has created serious financial challenges for many, we're seeing promising signs in terms of how consumers are managing their credit histories," Rod Griffin, senior director of consumer education and advocacy for Experian, told HuffPost.

woman extracting one dollar bills from black wallet
Credit: Anon Krudsumlit / EyeEm / Getty Images

The five states with the highest credit scores were Minnesota, South Dakota, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin, with an average credit score of 711 or higher. Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, and Texas ranked as the five states with the lowest scores, where averages fell below 666.

New England and the tri-state area including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut teetered between 698-712. Going down the East Coast, North and South Carolina ranked at 679 and 667, respectively, and Georgia residents' average credit score was 665. States in the Midwest consistently ranked above 700 (Minnesota had the highest credit score at 720).

To boost or maintain a high credit score, experts advise paying your bills on time each month, keeping your credit card balance low, and paying outstanding debt. "Late payments are the most damaging items in your credit history and will drag down your credit scores and slow your recovery," Griffin said.

In addition to Americans' individual credit utilization, other factors that can impact your credit score include education levels, job markets, and cultural approaches to using credit. "While it's hard to know what the financial picture will look like, educating people about the information included in their credit report, how to maintain that information and ways they can improve their credit histories is key to protecting financial health in 2021 and beyond," said Griffin.


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