Cities With Best Credit Scores? Getting the best credit score isn’t easy, and it can be a lot of hard work, but residents living in the city of Wausau, Wisconsin have the highest average, according to a national analysis by credit bureau Experian.
Several other Midwestern cities are among the metro areas with the best credit scores, Experian said. Compared with the rest of the nation, they tend to have lower unemployment rates and less debt.
Las Vegas and Bakersfield, Calif., which are among the metro areas with the 10 lowest credit scores, have been hard hit by the boom and bust of the housing market with the highest foreclosure rates.
Harlingen, which is the only city with an average credit score below 700, has an unemployment rate of nearly 13%.
“Right now, those are the biggest issues,” says Michele Raneri, Experian vice president of analytics.
The second annual State of Credit list of cities uses the VantageScore credit ranking system. The scores range from 501 to 990.
This is the first time that Wausau was included, because its population has reached the study’s required threshold. “It’s significant to have a new city come onto the list and be at the top,” Raneri says. “It really shows that people are moving into the area.”
The national average of 749 is in the C-range. It has fallen from a score of 754 in 2007 before the recession. “We can definitely improve,” Raneri says. “In good times some cities might edge up to a B.”
There have been changes in the right direction. The national score is up one point over 2010. And five out of the 10 lowest cities were able to raise their scores and decrease their debt in the past year. As consumers learn about the credit score of their city, Experian hopes they will also want to improve their own score.
Consumers with a good credit score pay lower interest rates and can be more selective when choosing a lender. In addition, “it makes it easier to get credit when you really need it,” Detweiler says. “But for many people, it’s tough to focus on building their credit when they don’t have a job or have just lost their house.”