Study: Most Millennials Don’t Have a Qualifying Credit Score

August 24, 2018

Millennials could stand to make some improvements to their credit files. Only 39 percent of millennials without a mortgage have a prime or better score, and the majority are facing higher delinquency rates on personal loans, shows a newly released study from Experian, an information services company.

Person cutting up credit card

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Eighty-six percent of millennials recently surveyed say they believe that buying a house is a good financial investment, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ data. However, Experian’s research shows that only 15 percent have a mortgage today. Further, 61 percent of millennials are near prime or worse and may need to improve their personal loan and bankcard usage habits in order to obtain lower rates for when they are ready to take out a mortgage.

“This data presents good news for younger, thin file millennials interested in buying a home,” says Michele Raneri, vice president of analytics and business development at Experian. “We’re seeing that small changes in financial behaviors such as building a history of on-time payments and improved credit practices can help lenders shift from viewing millennials as high-risk to low-risk relatively quickly. Knowing where you stand from a credit perspective is critical to improving your financial well-being.”

Experian evaluated personal loan trends, credit scores, bankcard behaviors, and mortgage trends of about 60 million millennial consumers.

The average consumer VantageScore is 677 in the U.S., and the study found that credit scores usually get closer toward prime level (661-780) as people age. Younger millennials (ages 22 to 28) have an average near prime score of 652, and older millennials (29 to 35) have a prime score of 665.

“Often, young people start their credit journey with a couple of mistakes first, but in the end, these mistakes create opportunities to learn how to use and build credit responsibly,” says Rod Griffin, director of consumer education and awareness at Experian.

Millennial home buyers are, on average, 31 years old with an income of $64,000, Experian’s data shows. The average mortgage balance for a younger millennial (22 to 28) is $167,000 and $210,000 for an older millennial (29 to 35). Millennial home buyers are most prevalent in the South and West regions, according to the study.