The US cities with the highest credit scores revealed, and why this matters to borrowers

The US cities with the highest credit scores revealed, and why this matters to borrowers
(Image credit: Getty)

The American cities whose citizens lay claim to the highest credit scores - and the lowest - have been revealed. Following a pandemic-affected year during which borrowers increasingly paid down debt to the general benefit of their credit scores, it is the residents of The Villages, Florida, who can boast the highest median credit score of 807. As a result, they’re better placed than anyone else in the US to access the best personal loans, mortgages and credit cards around right now.

Credit scores overall have widely improved during the health crisis due to consumers cutting back on their spending, putting their stimulus checks to good use either to keep on top of debt or pay back what they already owe, and by taking advantage of the various debt relief concessions that have been introduced to help people manage their finances. 

The cities with the highest credit scores

Published by WalletHub, the report takes in almost 2,600 US cities, of which some 267 have a median credit score of at least 750 - the mark beyond which borrowers are accredited as having Excellent credit, and so should be able to take advantage of the lowest home loan rates from the best mortgage lenders, and the most favorable credit terms generally. 

After The Villages, the next-best credit scores are found in Sun City West, Arizona and Sun City Center, Florida, which both have an average of 789, while Green Valley, Arizona isn’t far behind with 788. The two California cities of Los Altos and Saratoga come next with 784, followed by Lexington and Needham, both Massachusetts, and Laguna Woods, California, at 781. Pittsford, New York and Mequon, Wisconsin complete the top 10 with a median score of 780. 

The US cities with the highest credit scores are revealed: Image shows a woman with curly dark hair sitting on the floor, checking a printed version of her credit score

(Image credit: Getty)

The cities with the lowest credit scores

On the other side of the coin, it is the residents of Chester, Pennsylvania, East St Louis, Illinois, and Camden, New Jersey, who report the lowest credit scores right now, of just 552. With any score below 579 rated as Very Poor, those with such a low rating might expect to pay additional fees when applying for credit cards, and be offered far less favorable rates and terms on other forms of credit, if they qualify to borrow at all. 

Detroit, Michigan is only slightly better at 560, while Gary and East Chicago, both Indiana, are next worst at 561 and 564 respectively. Those living in West Memphis, Arizona, and Harvey, Illinois, are not much further ahead at 566, with the low credit scores of all those mentioned, and millions more Americans, likely to present a real challenge.

How to improve your credit score

With the credit score required to secure a mortgage at a 20-year high, and many people still needing to borrow simply to help make ends meet, taking the time to improve your credit score can really pay off. This means regularly examining your credit report, and looking for discrepancies that might be holding your rating back, and is particularly important given the surge in credit reporting errors that was noted last year. 

An image showing three credit cards and a $50 bill

(Image credit: pixabay)

Some may wish to hand responsibility for increasing their score over to the best credit repair services, while others will prefer to do it themselves. Whichever path is taken, Jamie Wagner, Assistant Professor, Director, Center for Economic Education, Department of Economics – University of Nebraska at Omaha, says the difficult thing with improving credit scores is that there isn’t usually a quick fix. 

“If you are working to improve your score it is going to take several months or years to increase a credit score depending on how low your score starts. My biggest tip regardless of trying to improve your score or not is to pay your credit cards or loan repayments every month. Pay your bills every month - payment history is a large part of your credit score. Additionally, I would recommend stop opening accounts or close accounts that you do not use.”

Tim Leonard

With over 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry, Tim has spent most of his career working for a financial data firm, where he was Online Editor of the consumer-facing Moneyfacts site, and regularly penned articles for the financial advice publication Investment Life and Pensions Moneyfacts. As a result, he has an excellent knowledge of almost areas of personal finance and, in particular, the retirement, investment, protection, mortgage and savings sectors.