Chicagoans and their credit scores: We're middling

Credit scores are king today. Mortgage lenders and banks rely on them to determine to whom they pass out loans and at what interest rates.

How are Chicagoans doing when it comes to credit scores? Not great, but OK, as it turns out.

National credit bureau Experian — the scummy folks behind all those advertisements for free credit reports that aren’t really free — recently released its State of Credit report, taking a look at the average credit scores of cities across the United States.

The report is a bit misleading because it uses the Vantage credit score instead of the more popular FICO score. (Vantage scores tend to be higher than FICO scores.) But it still gives an interesting portrait of how credit scores rise and fall across the nation.

According to the numbers, Chicago residents have an average Vantage credit score of 759.

That doesn’t rank Chicago in the top 10 of cities across the country. And it puts Chicago behind top-finisher Minneapolis and its citizens’ average credit score of 787. But on the bright side it’s a lot better than the average score in the Texas city of Harlingen, where the average score of 684 brought up the very bottom of the list.

The Experian report also contained this little nugget of information: Chicago households had an average debt of $24,884. And the typical Chicago consumer with credit cards had about 1.95 of them open at any one time.


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