If you are wondering how the pandemic is doing financially compared to your neighbors or other Americans in general, your credit score can be a good yardstick.
In September, the personal finance website WalletHub compared the median value of TransUnion credit scores for residents in 2,572 US cities to provide a list of top and bottom performers in terms of creditworthiness.
Generally, new research shows that the Americans as a whole are doing well despite the economic devastation that Covid-19 did. Largely thanks to federal relief efforts such as stimulus checks, breaks in repayment of federal student loans and mortgages and extended unemployment insurance, consumers both save more money and pay off debts.
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In fact, WalletHub says that debt repayments are at record levels. As a result, credit scores are improving across the country. In July, for example, the average national credit score rose to a full-time high of 711, according to FICO, the developer of one of the most widely used credits by lenders.
According to WalletHub, the top five cities with the highest median scores were:
- The Villages, Florida (807)
- Sun City West, Arizona (789)
- Sun City Center, Florida (789)
- Green Valley, Arizona (788)
- Los Altos, California (784)
However, the bottom five cities are:
- Camden, New Jersey (552)
- East St. Louis, Illinois (552)
- Chester, Pennsylvania (552)
- Detroit (560)
- Gary, Indiana (561)
For all the good news, experts say that the full effect of the pandemic on credit scores may not be known until government support ceases.
“Serious crime rates remain close to record levels,” Matt Komos, vice president of research and consultant at TransUnion, recently told CNBC. “However, the execution of the accounts that are still in residence helps to shape the real consumer credit picture.”
Complete results from the WalletHub study are available here.