With household debt on the rise, fueled by inflation and record-high interest rates, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on the States with the Highest and Lowest credit scores in 2023 to illustrate how people in different parts of the country are holding up financially. You can check out the key findings below, followed by some WalletHub commentary.
The average credit score in New Hampshire is 722, which ranks 2nd highest in the U.S.
|Highest Credit Scores||Lowest Credit Scores|
|1. Minnesota (725.3)||41. Kentucky (687.2)|
|2. New Hampshire (721.6)||42. South Carolina (687.1)|
|3. Vermont (720.7)||43. Nevada (686.2)|
|4. Massachusetts (717.8)||44. Georgia (681.8)|
|5. Wisconsin (717.5)||45. Arkansas (681.6)|
|6. North Dakota (717.4)||46. Oklahoma (681.5)|
|7. Washington (717.3)||47. Texas (679.8)|
|8. South Dakota (716.9)||48. Alabama (679.6)|
|9. Hawaii (715.4)||49. Louisiana (675.9)|
|10. Montana (715.3)||50. Mississippi (672.0)|
Tips for Improving Your Credit Score
- Check Your Credit Report: Every year, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each credit bureau. You can also utilize credit monitoring websites such as WalletHub, to stay on top of changes in your report throughout the year. If you identify a mistake on your credit report, you'll need to follow the process for disputing credit report errors, which is one of the easiest ways to improve your credit score and doesn't take much time.
- Be Cautious with New Credit Applications: Applying for a credit card or loan can lead to a slight dip in your credit score, especially when you apply repeatedly within a short period. These inquiries can give lenders the impression that you are desperate to borrow and may need more money to pay them if your application is approved. Research and compare your options to find the best terms with the highest approval odds for your financial situation and limit your applications to just the top offers.
- Get a Secured Credit Card: If you are struggling with getting approved for a "regular" credit card, open a secured credit card to help build your credit history. Secured credit cards are easier to get than most other credit cards since they require a refundable security deposit, the amount of which usually acts as your spending limit. Secured cards are treated just like any other credit card on your credit report, too.
- Maintain Low Account Balances: One factor that impacts your credit score is credit utilization, which is determined by comparing the balance listed on your monthly statement against your credit limit. A higher ratio hurts your credit score, indicating you are stretched thin financially. Try maintaining a credit utilization ratio below 30% on each credit card. And if you want to maximize your credit score, aim for less than 10%.
- Keep Unused Accounts Open: Your credit report will be used by many decision-makers, such as lenders, landlords, and employers, to determine whether you are trustworthy. They are more likely to trust an applicant with a more extended history of responsible money management, so keeping these accounts open will extend that positive history. You should not, however, keep an unused account open if you have to pay an annual fee for it. You should close accounts costing you money and use the savings to pay down other debts or build an emergency fund.
For the full report, visit https://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-highest-lowest-credit-scores/79466/