News & Resources

Americans' credit scores slightly down

Jan 03, 2012 Philip Burgess

The average consumer credit score was 661 in November, according to Credit Karma. This is down slightly from 667 on January 1 and 676 in February of 2009. Ken Lin, chief executive officer for Credit Karma, explains that while credit scores are lagging slightly due to increased unemployment and foreclosures, credit card debt and outstanding revolving consumer credit are both moving in the right direction. According to data from the U.S. Federal Reserve, outstanding revolving consumer credit - which primarily consists of credit card debt - fell by $176 billion to $792 billion during the past three years, as of October. However, the decline was balanced out by non-revolving outstanding credit - consisting of mostly auto and student loan debt - which rose $8 billion from August to September, according to The Big Picture. Bloomberg Businessweek notes that the average credit score ranges from 300 to 850. Credit bureaus Equifax, Experian and TransUnion gather consumer information to calculate these scores, which affect people's ability to get mortgages, credit cards and insurance products. Users of iPhones will now be able to access their Experian scores more easily with an app from credit reporting company Credit Sesame. The app lets users access their scores on the go, manage credit and make smarter credit decisions, according to its website.