"The Median FICO Score in the U.S. is 723." - Fair Isaac
Let's have a little fun. The day this page was first written is February 2, 2007, Groundhog Day. Here are a few of our friends saying what they think the average score is:
Check in here from time-to-time and use those search engine links to see if the nuts change their ways.
This is like your mother telling you that you only need Ds to get into college, your father telling you that eight yards is a first down, or your science teacher telling you that water boils at 100 degrees Fahrenheit. They tell you the average credit score is 678 when it is 723.
Fair Isaac, the score creator, says that the median is 723. So, which is it: 678 or 723? Somebody is lying. Pop-media commentators don't help (search for the word lousy).
Here, the FICO score national distribution is illustrated by a graph that shows how many people have what score. Think of your score as a ranking, not a rating. Your FICO lies somewhere on a line between 300 and 850. When you increase your score, you actually move up in the order. At 499 or lower, you rank in the lowest 2% on the scale. At 600, only 15% of the population have a lower score than yours. 723 is the median FICO score. That is the middle of the distribution, where half of the population is lower and half is higher (that is the only average statistic that Fair Isaac has released to the public). If you have a score of 800 or above, you're in with 13% of the population.
Behind the scenes: Credit scores in mortgage lending
Mortgage loans are bought and sold in the "secondary market" as "mortgage-backed securities" in blocks of millions of dollars. Here are some examples of descriptions of those pools:
The bottom line
Talk to a few people in lending and they'll tell you that a 723 FICO credit score is good enough. But, they're salesmen. They won't tell you that 723 is only the exact median (the middle score) of everybody who has a score. So, if that's only average, you might consider shooting a little higher. 13% of the scored U.S. population have an 800 or higher.