Sunday, March 22, 2009

U.S. Credit Scores Improving?

Initially, I was surprised to hear on the radio that credit scores in the US are improving. In a recession, how is this possible? Simply put, the Personal Savings Rate in the US has been increasing as US consumers reduce spending and pay down debt. Unfortunately, many people who would typically have good credit are going to see their scores drop because of unemployment.

Consumer Credit Scores Rise in All Geographies and Age Groups During February

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, Mar 18, 2009 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) ----Credit Karma (, a pro-consumer credit score tracking and management service, today released its U.S. Credit Score Climate Report with trend data for February 2009. During the November 2008 to February 2009 time period, Credit Karma saw an increase in credit scores across all geographies and age groups. 39% of consumer credit scores have gone up, 29% have gone down, and 32% remained the same. Of the scores that increased, the average credit score rose 14 points during the time period. Of the scores that decreased, the average credit score dropped 14 points.

The Credit Karma U.S. Consumer Credit Score Climate Report provides a monthly barometer on consumer credit trends, a particularly important economic indicator in today's market. Each month, the Report offers unique and insightful statistics on the health of consumer credit scores nationwide. Trend data in the report is based on a comparison of Credit Karma users' February credit score with their previous credit score at least 30 days prior and no more than 90 days out. Here are some additional findings:

-- Average credit score with no change is 695 whereas 675 and 663 are the respective credit score averages for those with an increase and decrease. This would suggest that people with higher credit scores maintain more stable credit scores while those with marginal credit scores tend to be in flux.

-- Compared with January, more consumers' credit scores are going up. In January 2009, 37% of consumer credit scores went up compared to 39% in February. That average up credit score in January was 674 compared to 675 in February. Fewer consumers' credit scores have also gone down. 31% of credit scores dropped in January compared to 29% in February. The down credit score in January was 662 compared to 663 in February. The percentage of credit scores with no change remains the same.

-- The Midwest had the highest increase with 41% of consumers seeing their credit scores go up in February. The average up credit score in the Midwest is 676. In January 2009, 37% of Midwest consumers saw their credit scores rise and the average up score was 670. Amongst states, Ohio saw the most credit scores go up in February. 42% of Ohio consumers had their credit scores rise and the average up score is 660.

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