According to data from FICO, the leading credit scoring authority, the average credit score for U.S. consumers is now 706.

In September 10th blog post, FICO Vice President of Scores, Ethan Dornhelm said greater consumer awareness regarding FICO scores and negative credit data being removed from consumers’ files are driving scores. Credit missteps such as missed payments that occurred during the Great Recession have largely fallen off consumers’ credit reports, he noted.

Another factor contributing to the higher FICO scores is the removal of certain negative items.  Prior to a 2015 settlement the three major credit reporting agencies in the U.S. (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion)  with 31 state attorneys general, overdue traffic tickets. unpaid doctors’ bills, civil judgments, and tax liens impacted a credit score.  As part of the settlement, the three bureaus implemented the National Consumer Assistance Plan (NCAP). The plan helps reduce the credit reporting errors that have prevented consumers from getting credit cards, loans, and even employment. Starting in 2017, the three major credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union started removing negatives from consumer credit reports.

Other changes from the FICO Data:

  • The number of Consumers with lower scores has dropped, number with higher scores has risen
  • Since 2009, the percentage of U.S. consumers will credit scores below 550 has dropped from16 percent to 11.1 percent.  During the same time frame, consumers with scores 800 plus have risen from 18.2 percent to 22.3 percent.
  • Credit card delinquencies of 90 days or more have dropped 62 %
  • Credit card utilization is down by 28 percent
  • Credit-seeking activity decreased by 14 percent.