Not many Americans realize that a few different factors can affect their credit score. These range from debt ratio, credit utilization, new credit, and income to family size—but can your ZIP code harm or boost your credit rating as well?
Knowing what impacts your credit score is vital when you are searching for loans. Higher credit scores will qualify you for better terms and set more favorable mortgage interest rates and credit card deals. As a result, it’s essential to be aware of the ways your residential code correlates with your credit score.
Are Credit Scores Affected By ZIP Codes?
Average credit scores vary due to several factors, including location. Yet, this connection doesn’t mean your place of residence determines your credit score. Instead, location-related factors have a more significant impact on the average credit score by ZIP code.
Though many believe credit reporting agencies have black-listed areas, this is only a myth. Moving to any US place of your preference (New York, for example) will not have a direct impact on your report.
Specific ZIP codes have higher average scores, which do not depend on the location. More specifically, location factors do not concern you as an individual. Instead, they affect rates and terms in ZIP areas in general. The demographics, employment opportunities, and the general standard of living are all ways that could increase an area’s average credit score.
Finally, there’s no need to inform credit agencies about any address changes. Each bureau will get the data automatically once you update your credit accounts with the correct address.
What City Has the Highest Average Credit Score?
The average FICO® score for American residents stands at 716 in 2021, but some states and cities boast exceptionally high scorers, claims Experian. For example, Minnesota topped the list with an average of 739 in 2020 as per data that appear on the site linked above. Conversely, Mississippi (675) and Louisiana (684) were at the bottom.
The latest figures say that The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, sits on the top with an average FICO® score of 785. Two other Californian towns round out the top three cities with the highest-scoring credit histories.
1. The Villages, FL
The Villages is a predominantly older community with residents aged 55 and beyond. The fact that this city is home to a fast-growing population in the US is remarkable.
Average FICO® Score: 785
2. Los Altos, CA
Los Altos sprawls in Silicon Valley and is one of the wealthiest places in the country. This rural city is the dwelling place of affluent families with higher education.
Average FICO® Score: 783
3. Saratoga, CA
Saratoga residents enjoy the benefits of being in Silicon Valley, as well. As a result, they can get decent jobs and indulge in various cultural amenities. This community has a population of about 30,000 residents who lean liberal, and education facilities have high ratings.
Average FICO® Score: 779
5 Highest Average Credit Scores By ZIP Code
|Zip Code||Average FICO Score (Experian data)|
Los Altos, CA
Laguna Woods, CA
Cities With the Lowest Average Credit Scores
When we compared only the average consumer credit scores, the city of East St. Louis hit the very bottom. However, other cities made the top of the list for lowest average credit scores based on ZIP codes.
1. Detroit, MI (three ZIP codes rank in the top five for lowest scores)
Experian databases show that Detroit’s average FICO score of 608 is the lowest for large cities. It was also found that Detroit has ranked near the bottom for several years in a row.
Average FICO® Scores: 586, 592, and 593
2. Philadelphia, PA
Due to the lack of higher-paying jobs, Philadelphia has become one of the poorest cities in the US. In addition, gun violence and opioid epidemics are further squishing the credit score down.
Average FICO® Score: 593
3. Macon, GA
The concentrated poverty rate in Macon has been continually rising in the last few years. Minority populations are particularly prone to unemployment and a low standard of living.
Average FICO® Score: 595
5 Lowest Average Credit Scores By ZIP Code
|Zip Code||Average FICO Score (Experian data)|
Detroit (Winter Halter)
Philadelphia (North Philadelphia)
California Residents Boast Highest Average Credit Score by ZIP Codes
Unlike some other states struggling to raise their average credit scores for several points, California enjoys a high living standard. Many Californian cities with an almost excellent credit rating are near San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The Bay Area is also desirable for high-paying jobs and a booming economy.
Area numbers with the best credit scores are usually wealthy suburbs of larger cities. Due to their exceptional money management, these overachievers can qualify for the best credit cards and lines on the market. On the other hand, homes have exorbitant prices and mortgages, but residents can afford them due to exceptional financial health.
For example, Cupertino (average FICO score 772) is a city with the lowest debt-to-income ratio of only 1.68%. Moreover, Laguna Woods (average FICO score 776) takes pride in the lowest average percentage of credit used, being only 20%.
How Else Can ZIP Codes Affect Your Life?
Generally, areas with bad credit scores don’t get many convenient credit card and loan offers. In short, banks and loan companies tend to offer the best deals to consumers with high credit scores. Plus, they earn their money by charging more fees and higher interest rates to cardholders with poor or bad credit.
Moreover, if you have a low credit score, you’ll pay higher rates and fees. Conversely, if your credit score is in the excellent range, you can get affordable lines of credit, insurance, and cell phone plans.
Also, moving houses can make you appear less stable to lenders and service providers. Frequent location changes might discourage an issuer from giving you a credit card at decent rates.
Are ZIP Codes Used To Assign Credit Scores by Credit Bureaus?
It’s vital to maintain reviewed and accurate information on your credit report due to several reasons. First, each credit bureau will use your address to verify your data and identity. Second, the agencies match all available information on you with your profile.
As for the law, regulations don’t consider discrimination by location to be illegal. Federal law forbids lenders to segregate borrowers based on race, religion, gender, age, marital status, and origin.
So, credit bureaus don’t assign you a credit score depending on where your ZIP code is. They define your rating by considering other rating factors compliant with the law.
What Is a Credit Score and Why Does It Matter?
Your credit score is, in a way, your financial reputation represented as a three-digit number. A person’s credit score affects many essential aspects of one’s life. A good credit score comes with better loan terms, higher mortgage approval rates, and sometimes it’s even essential for getting housing or a job. There are various factors that can negatively or positively affect your credit history. Luckily, even if your credit is in the fair range, there are many ways to get your credit score above 800.
The number of addresses you’ve changed displayed on your file doesn’t determine your rating. However, this figure can affect the details that appear on your credit report.
Instead of focusing on your ZIP code, you should be paying more attention to your payment history. Other factors that impact your credit score adversely include credit history length, credit utilization, and new loan applications.