With a good credit score being essential for getting approved for loans and lines of credit, as well as securing low interest rates and high credit limits, a new report on the Cities with the Highest & Lowest Credit Scores in 2024, offers insight.

WalletHub’s report aimed to find out where Americans demonstrate the most responsible behavior, and it ranked the cities using WalletHub’s proprietary data on residents’ credit scores.

Cities With Highest Credit ScoresCities With Lowest Credit Scores
1. South Burlington, VT (736)171. San Bernardino, CA (633)
T-2. San Francisco, CA (722)172. Mobile, AL (632)
T-2. Huntington Beach, CA (722)T-173. Newport News, VA (630)
T-2. Scottsdale, AZ (722)T-173. Memphis, TN (630)
5. Fremont, CA (721)175. Montgomery, AL (629)
6. Seattle, WA (720)176. Fayetteville, NC (628)
7. Boston, MA (717)177. Bridgeport, CT (626)
T-8. Honolulu, HI (715)T-178. Lewiston, ME (624)
T-8. Irvine, CA (715)T-178. Newark, NJ (624)
T-10. Santa Clarita, CA (714)T-178. Jackson, MI (624)
T-10. Overland Park, KS (714)181. Shreveport, LA (621)
T-10. Burlington, VT (714)182. Detroit, MI (611)

Tips to Increase Credit Score Quickly

“It is a step-by-step process that, for many young adults, begins with student loan repayment performance. It is also important to identify the financial services products that build credit. For example, debit cards do not, and credit cards do. And for those who may not be able to qualify for a credit card, there is the ‘secured credit card’ route where the cardholder places on deposit with the card company a set dollar value, which then becomes the credit limit. As long as the cardholder makes the payments, in full or in part, the deposited funds remain untouched and the cardholder’s credit profile is then ‘built.’ If not, the deposit is used to repay the outstanding debt and the personal credit profile suffers,” said Mitchell D. Weiss, course author and lecturer, at Rutgers University.

“Prioritize to pay off your debt that has the highest level of interest, most likely credit cards, and if possible, consolidate your debt into a loan that you can solely focus on repaying. Try to avoid the ‘new buy now pay later’ offers for purchases. These programs are just another form of debt. As the debt gets paid off, the credit score should go up,” said Tom Arnold, Ph.D., CFA, CIPM, chair in business, at the University of Richmond.

Best Way for a Young Person to Build Credit

“Setting up auto-pay is always the priority. Building credit is a long journey. That is the reason why prioritizing and budgeting is essential. Consumers should know the ‘non-discretionary’ expenses, such as mortgage, utilities, groceries, etc. Creating a budget also helps and improves consumer’s ability and responsibility to use credit cards. The more detailed the budget has been completed, the better picture that consumers can have. Consumers can precisely track their historical usage to notice if they spend too much money on something unimportant, such as auto-renew membership, etc. Checking and verifying each transaction regularly is also helpful. Avoid mental accounting: Some consumers may consider applying for new credit cards to cover their overspending behavior or overcoming tough times. Monitoring credit cards regularly and responsibly is extremely important for both young and older people. If young people maintain their budget behavior, having high and stable credit scores for a lifetime would be much easier,” said Di Qing, Ph.D., lecturer & CFP program coordinator, at Auburn University.

“Open a credit card account: Apply for a credit card, preferably one designed for individuals with limited credit history or a secured credit card. Use it responsibly by making small purchases and paying off the balance in full each month to avoid interest charges…Pay bills on time: Timely payment of bills, such as rent, utilities, and student loans, can also contribute to building a positive credit history. While these payments may not initially appear on your credit report, some credit scoring models consider alternative data, like rent payments, in their calculations. Keep credit utilization low: Try to keep your credit card balances low relative to your credit limit. Ideally, aim to use no more than 30% of your available credit at any given time. Monitor your credit report: Regularly review your credit report to ensure that all information is accurate,” said Andrew Burnstine, Ph.D., associate professor, at Lynn University.

Strategies for People Facing Financial Difficulties to Protect Credit Scores

“Do not accrue more debt, consolidate your existing debt at a reasonable rate of interest, and pay down that debt. Generally, this is a matter of controlling spending rather than a lack of desire to pay down debt. If you control your spending and even better, reduce your spending, paying down debt and savings are the by-products of these actions,” Arnold added.

For the full report and to see where your city ranks, please visit here.

Source: WalletHub