For the second consecutive year, consumers in the upper Midwest lead the nation with the highest credit scores.
According to data on 143 cities released from credit bureau Experian, borrowers in Wisconsin had average scores ranging from 777 to 789. Of the top 10 states with the highest credit scores, four cities in Wisconsin made the list: Wausau, Madison, Green Bay and La Crosse.
At the other end of the spectrum, the average credit scores for the bottom 10 metropolitan areas ranged from 686 to 710. Four cities in Texas – El Paso, Tyler, Corpus Christi and Harlingen – were ranked the lowest, Experian found.
While Experian focused on the scores in 2010, this year, additional information provided a bigger picture on how the company makes its calculations.
First, on the whole, a lower credit balance may lead to better credit scores. On average, the 10 metropolitan areas with the lowest scores had an average credit balance of $24,888, almost $1,200 more than the average credit balance of $23,693 in the10 metropolitan areas with the highest scores.
Second, late payments may lead to lower scores. On average, the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest credit scores, were late with payments roughly half as many times (0.29) as the 10 with the lowest credit scores (0.58).
Finally, leaving more room on available credit lines may lead to higher credit scores, the data suggests. On average, borrowers in the 10 metropolitan areas with the highest credit scores used roughly 25% of their available credit lines, leaving roughly 75% available. However, borrowers in the 10 metropolitan areas with the lowest credit scores used roughly 31.5% of their available credit lines, leaving nearly 68.5% available.