Is Your Credit Score What It Should Be?


When was the last time you checked your credit score? Do you even remember? There are a lot of numbers in life that we’re forced to memorize – social security numbers, license plates, phone numbers – but one of the most important is your credit score.

Unfortunately, just knowing what it is at a given moment isn’t enough; credit scores are always changing, which is why it makes sense to check it regularly. I’ll show you in a moment where you can go to get a free credit report.

In the meantime, have you ever wondered how your credit score stacks up to the rest of America? Or just your native state?

If so, Native Merchant Services has something that might interest you. Their new infographic gives a look at average credit scores across the country and finishes things up with some fascinating correlational data that might be of interest to you if you’ve ever used email (and I’m sure you have).

The Nation at a Glance

So that’s the current state of credit scores in America. Can you see any patterns?

I can’t say for certain what would account for it, but it’s pretty clear that the southern states generally have lower credit scores than their counterparts in the north. It’s not exactly a clear delineation, but the trend is there.

More interesting is where the country’s worst credit scores reside; the cities with the lowest credit scores are almost exclusively located in the south; only California breaks the trend. Scores in these cities range from 622 (Greenwood, Mississippi) to 641 (Laredo, Texas).

Where do the most credit-savvy Americans live? By and large, they live in more northern states. Rochester, Minnesota takes the crown for city with the best credit score; its average comes in at 716, while the number five spot is occupied by Green Bay, Wisconsin with a score of 713.

What Does Email Have to Do With It?

Probably the biggest surprise here is that certain trends have emerged among email users. While any sample is not necessarily representative of the country as a whole, this data is nevertheless an interesting way to look at correlations in credit score data.

So what can we learn? To begin with, it seems that Yahoo users tend to have lower credit scores as compared to other email providers. Yahoo users’ average credit score is 617, with Gmail serving as runner-up for worst credit score.

The top spot is occupied by Comcast, with an average score of 667. This still isn’t a stellar score, mind you, but it’s an interesting contrast with the rest of the email domains.

What might account for this? Your guess is as good as mine. I would say that Comcast email users tend to be older, and therefore have more financial history to draw on when it comes to determining their credit score.

What’s Your Credit Score?

Perhaps the only real lesson to be learned here is that it’s important to keep your credit score in mind at all times. You don’t need to check it weekly, but having some idea where you fall, particularly now that you know how each state has fared, is particularly important – especially if you’re thinking about financing a large purchase.

So what can you do? The good news is that there are a number of free services that can help you monitor your credit. Quizzle is a favorite of mine, and Mint’s recently announced free credit report looks like a great choice as well.

If you have checked your credit score lately and found that it’s lower than you’d like, you do have some options – just don’t expect them to fix things overnight. Suggestions include applying for credit cards (this assumes you only have one or two cards already) and negotiating a higher credit limit on the cards you do have.

Again, these suggestions aren’t going to change your life overnight, but they’ll definitely go a long way toward helping you remedy your financial situation.

Daniel Faris
Daniel Faris is a freelance writer from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. You can join his alter ego over at The Sound of Progress for discussions of progressivism in music, politics, and culture.