Chris Bridges, Founder and CEO, VITAL Card Inc.
Your credit score is one of the most important indicators of your financial health, providing a quick snapshot of your creditworthiness to lenders, landlords, and others. Your credit score is something that will stick with you for your entire life, and it will continue to change and grow over time with you.
So what is a good credit score to have at your age, and how can you maximize your score as you age? Here is a guide to help you navigate your credit through every age.
Credit Score and Time: The General Relationship
As you may already know, one factor that goes into your credit score is credit history. This means that, as long as you maintain other areas of your credit score, you may see your credit score rise over time.
There are a few other reasons that time is your friend when it comes to your credit score.
First, your credit score functions as a snapshot of your financial stability and creditworthiness. As you age, your income may increase, thereby increasing the amount of money you can spend. With more money, you may be able to pay more toward your credit card bills, which can improve your credit score.
Next, one of the most important factors in your credit score is your payment history. Every time you make an on-time payment to a credit account, it can count in your favor on your credit report. The more that time goes by, the more payments you’ll have made to your accounts.
Lastly, the sheer number of credit accounts you have plays a role in your credit score, so as you accrue more credit accounts over time, your score may improve. Plus, the more accounts you have, the larger your available credit will be.
This means that the same amount of spending may have a lower impact on your credit utilization. Together, these factors help you increase your credit over time naturally.
How Is Credit Score Calculated?
Your credit score is calculated by the major credit bureaus, which are organizations responsible for collecting and organizing your financial information and providing reports for lenders, governments, landlords, and others. The major credit bureaus are Equifax, Transunion, and Experian.
Each bureau has its own credit scoring model, but they each use the same information. You also have a FICO credit score and a VantageScore.
The elements of your financial history that are used to calculate your FICO score are:
- Payment History: 35% of your credit score
- Amounts Owed: 30% of your credit score
- Length of Credit History: 15% of your credit score
- New Credit Accounts: 10% of your credit score
- Types of Credit Available: 10% of your credit score
What Is a Good Credit Score Range for Your Age?
While it’s normal for your credit score to vary as you age, the way that credit bureaus interpret your credit does not. So, even though 690 may be above average for a 25-year-old, it’s still not considered “very good” or “exceptional” by reporting agencies.
The important thing to remember is that building credit takes time, and it’s possible to achieve an excellent credit score with a few decades of experience under your belt.
Here is a breakdown of what constitutes good credit for your age so you have some clear targets to reach for.
Good Credit for Ages 18 to 29
If you’re part of generation Z, you may be just starting on your journey of building credit. Maybe you have recently gotten your first credit card or taken out a car loan to pay for your first car. Perhaps you have student loan debt that you’re starting to pay off. All these things, if managed responsibly, can have a positive impact on your score in your twenties.
But, since you are just beginning to build your credit, your score might not be as high as you want. The national average credit score for someone in their twenties is around 679, which is considered a “good” credit score—not “very good” or “exceptional.”
Plus, it is just on the bottom edge of the “good” category, which is to be expected. Building credit history and proving your ability as a borrower takes time.
Good Credit for Ages 30 to 39
If you’re a millennial, you have likely continued to build your credit profile and opened more credit accounts.
You may have taken out a mortgage to buy your first house, or maybe you’ve taken out a business loan or auto loan. These personal finance decisions and your now decade-long credit history may have combined to boost your score.
The average FICO score for people in this age group jumps to 686, which is more firmly in the “good” range of FICO scores. But, not all people find that their credit scores increase in their thirties.
If you have taken on excess debt, fallen behind on payments, or maxed out your credit cards, your credit may have taken a dive. Make sure you are prioritizing paying your credit card balances in full and on time, and you may be able to turn your credit score around.
Good Credit for Ages 40 to 49
By the time you reach your forties, your credit score has had even more time to mature and develop. If you have continued to make your payments on time, you may have paid off your student loan debt or maybe even a car loan, which may have boosted your score. Your income may have increased as well, which may have allowed you to increase your available credit.
At this age, the average FICO credit score is 705, on the upper end of “good” and edging nearer to “very good” credit. This higher credit score can give you access to lower interest rates on loans, better credit cards that offer better rewards, and new lines of credit when you wish to take advantage of them.
Good Credit for Ages 50 and Beyond
When you’ve reached your fifties, you likely have a credit history that spans over half of your life or more. By this point in time, you may have opened and maintained many different credit accounts. If you’ve been able to keep them all in good standing, they are likely all helping your score continue to grow.
This age range has an average credit score of 740, which registers as “very good.” However, if you have done a thorough job of building your credit over your lifetime, you may be one of the lucky few with a credit score of about 800, which is an “excellent” credit score. (The highest credit score possible is 850.)
How Can You Improve Your Credit at Any Age?
Having good credit is important no matter what age you are. Good credit can help you get a lower interest rate on loans, help you qualify for a mortgage, and even help you get approved for an apartment lease.
Here are some tips to help you improve your credit score at any age.
Pay Your Bills on Time
One of the best things that you can do for your credit score is to make on-time payments on your credit card accounts. Late payments will appear on your credit report and can hurt your score significantly.
To avoid late payments, make sure that all of your credit card debt is paid in full and on time every month. If possible, set up automatic payments so that they are taken care of without any effort from you.
Check Your Credit Report
It’s important to check your credit report regularly so that you can make sure everything is accurate and up-to-date. You should also look for any errors or discrepancies that could be hurting your score. If there is something wrong with your report, contact the appropriate credit monitoring agency (your credit bureaus or lenders) to have it corrected.
You can usually get a free credit score through your credit card issuer or one of the three credit bureaus. However, make sure to avoid any hard inquiries. Hard inquiries occur whenever you submit a credit application, and although new credit applications are necessary for credit-building, hard inquiries can lower your credit score.
Keep Your Credit Utilization Ratio Low
Ideally, you should strive to have as little debt as possible. Using up your credit limit can not only hurt your credit score but can also cost more in interest over the long run.
However, it’s common to find yourself in over your head with credit card debt. If this is you, try to pay off any outstanding debts in your credit mix as soon as possible and limit how much new debt you take on going forward.
The length of your credit history can also affect your average credit score. The longer you have your consumer credit accounts open, the more established your credit score may become.
Improving your credit score can take time, so be patient. It may take several months or even years before you start seeing results, but it will be worth it when you need to finance a car or take out a mortgage and your terms are favorable.
Keep up with these tips and give yourself some grace if it takes longer than expected; no matter what, just don’t give up.
Your credit score can have a major impact on your finances throughout your life. Your score should go up naturally as you age since your payment history, credit accounts, and other information have time to grow and improve.
If you want to build your credit with a new credit card, consider VITAL Card. VITAL Card pays you to share and spend responsibly, which can increase your VITAL Score and give you bigger cash rewards every month.
Take a look at VITAL Card and see how we’re changing the world of cashback credit cards.
VITAL Card blog posts are intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered financial or any other type of advice.