Right now, people in the U.S. have some of the worst credit scores ever. 25% of U.S. consumers (a quarter of us) now have a credit score below 599, which is considered incredibly low. Just two years ago, that number was only 15%. Credit scores describe our trustworthiness with money—and it looks like many of us aren’t so trustworthy.
The Lows Are Low, But the Highs Are Also High
But, you can’t blame everything on the recession: The number of consumers with the awesome score of 800 or above has also increased. Historically, only about 13% of consumers had this excellent score, but now that figure is up to about 18%.
Here’s what all of this means for you:
1. Don’t Use the Economy as an Excuse
A poor economy doesn’t excuse poor credit. Although conditions are tough, more and more consumers are using the economy as a reason to use credit cards less and reduce their bad debt. After all, when things are tough, why make them tougher by getting further behind? We’re all in the same less-than-seaworthy boat; you do have the power to choose between drowning and swimming to shore.
2. Break Free From the Cycle
If you’re in credit card debt, now is the perfect time to get out of it. In addition to keeping up on the minimums of all bill payments, go the extra mile by cutting back on your spending. After all, everyone is feeling the squeeze and thrifty is the new stylish—talk to your friends and tell them that you’re trying to be more frugal. Now, use the extra cash to ditch your debt as fast as possible.
3. Be Score Savvy
From knowing your credit limit to hanging on to your oldest credit card, there are lots of ways to increase your credit score quickly. Read our article on how to raise your credit score immediately for more tips.