FICO Publishes National Distribution Changes

In October, I discussed FICO’s report on the national distribution of FICO® 8 Scores comparing before, during and after the recession from 2005 to 2011.  FICO is the creator of the ubiquitous FICO credit scoring system, the most commonly used credit score. Pre-recession score distributions had movement to the lower and higher scores, while during the recession more scored in 550 to 649 range.  A majority paid their bills well so that the overall distribution didn’t change drastically, but the individual scores did change more.  FICO issued additional information on how individual scores changed in two points in time –  during the recession (2008 to 2009) and post recession (2010 to 2011).

Decrease in scores

From 2008 to 2009, 50 million consumers’ scores decreased by 20 points or more.  Over 40 percent (21 million) of this group had score drops of 50 points or more.

From 2010 to 2010, 40 million consumers’ scores decreased by 20 points or more. Approximately 37.5 percent of this group (15 million) had score drops of 50 points or more.  This was a 29 percent reduction from 2008 and 2009.

Increase in scores or small change

From 2008 to 2009, 44 million consumers’ scores increased by 20 or more points. From 2010 to 2011, 49 million had an increase of 20 or more points.  This was an increase of 20 percent. This may be due to consumers paying down bills, charging less or borrowing less.

From 2008 to 2011, about one third of consumers (65 million) kept their score within 10 points year to year. There are approximately 200 million consumers with credit scores. This was particularly the case for score ranges “800 to 850” and “300 to 499”.  Sixty percent with scores under 500 in 2010 were in this same group one year later.  Eighty percent with scores over 800 in 2010 had a score of 800 or higher one year later.

The numbers show that scores are improving and declining less.  You are probably more concerned about your individual score than the overall population and you should be.  Your score impacts whether you qualify for a card or loan and the interest rate you are charged.  Depending about the score required to qualify, a point or two difference in score can cause you to pay a lot more in interest.

Credit Expert, John Ulzheimer, is the President of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com, the credit blogger for Mint.com, and a Contributor for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.  He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. Formerly of FICO, Equifax and Credit.com, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry.  Follow him on Twitter here.

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