Here is the 2022 average FICO credit score

After surging at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, FICO credit ratings stabilized in 2022. This breaks a nearly decade-long streak of upward momentum as missed payments and the Overall consumer debt has started to rise again.

In April 2022, the average American FICO score – which ranges from 300 (poor) to 850 (excellent) – was 716, the same score that was recorded in October 2021 and again in April 2021, according to a report released Tuesday by the credit monitoring company.

“What we’re seeing here is the fact that there’s been kind of a return to pre-pandemic norms,” ​​says FICO’s Ethan Dornhelm, vice president of scores and predictive analytics.

The stalled scores come as Americans’ credit card balances are on the rise and late and missed payments are up slightly from historic lows, all while inflation remains a major stumbling block for many US budgets.

The current economic environment is contributing to the suppression of credit ratings, Dornhelm says, but adds that it also reflects changing consumer habits. At the start of the pandemic, more Americans were working from home and simply had less to spend.

Many people have also received government incentives of some kind over the past couple of years, ranging from enhanced unemployment benefits to stimulus checks to payment accommodations on everything from student loans and government-backed mortgages. government to credit card payments and rent.

“All of these things have allowed consumers to save like never before, pay off debt like never before, and catch up on the extent that they fall behind on their payments,” Dornhelm says. “All of these things have facilitated this incredible and truly unprecedented — FICO score increase in the first year of the pandemic.”

Today, most public and private stimulus programs have ended, with the exception of the federal student loan payment pause which has been extended until the end of 2022. Inflation continues to soar and many Americans have returned to pre-pandemic routines. As a result, debt levels are starting to rise.

FICO reports that the number of missed payments recorded on Americans’ credit records rose about 1% year over year, most often among bank cards and car loans. And in April, just over 15% of the population had been overdue with payments of 30 days or more in the past year. These trends have an effect on credit scores since 35% of a FICO score is based on payment history.

Total US household debt rose 2% to $16.15 trillion in the second quarter of 2022, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. That brings balances to about $2 trillion more than they were at the end of 2019, before the pandemic began.

The overall increase in debt means that credit utilization rates, which make up about a third of a FICO score’s calculation, are starting to climb again. The average credit card usage rate rose to just over 31% in April from 29.6% a year ago. But this remains lower than the 33% recorded in April 2020, before the effects of the pandemic took hold.

Debt levels aren’t at a point where they actively drive down the FICO score overall, Dornhelm says, noting that credit scores tend to be “lagging” indicators of economic trends. But the stabilization certainly raises the question of whether this is just a temporary pause in a long upward trend in scores or is the US eyeing a significant inflection point?

“I have a sense of optimism that we’re not going to see some kind of drastic downward shift in the FICO score, in part because of this belief that consumers are more aware than they ever were. been, more empowered than they’ve ever been. been to really take charge of their credit,” says Dornhelm.

Sign up for the Makeshift Features mailing list so you don’t miss our biggest features, exclusive interviews and surveys.