Navigating the world of credit scores can sometimes feel like reading a map in the dark. But worry not, because in this article, we're shedding light on a crucial aspect of financial life in Canada: how average credit scores change as people age.
Your credit score is like a financial report card, and it follows you throughout your life, from the first time you apply for a credit card to your golden years. So, let's embark on a straightforward journey through the land of credit scores as we explore how these numbers ebb and flow with time.
We'll break down the average credit scores at different stages of life, from young adults just starting their financial journey to those who have been around the block a few times. It's a bit like looking at how our favourite characters age in a long-running TV show, but we're examining credit history and financial habits instead of wrinkles and graying hair.
So, whether you're new to the world of credit or you've been at it for a while, join us on this journey to demystify the fascinating relationship between age and credit scores in Canada.
What is the average credit score in Canada by age?
- 18 to 25: 692
- 26 to 35: 697
- 36 to 45: 710
- 46 to 55: 718
- 56 to 65: 737
According to Equifax's 2018 generational survey, credit scores tend to evolve as individuals progress through various stages of life. Lets go more in-depth on why particular credit scores are different depending on your age.
- 18 to 25: On average, individuals in this age group held a credit score of 692. This demographic typically includes young adults who may be just starting their financial journeys, often with limited credit history.
- 26 to 35: The average credit score for those aged between 26 and 35 was 697. This age bracket often sees individuals establishing credit profiles through credit cards or small loans.
- 36 to 45: In the age range of 36 to 45, the average credit score increased to 710. Many in this group will likely have accumulated more substantial credit histories through mortgages, car loans, and credit cards.
- 46 to 55: Individuals between 46 and 55 boasted an average credit score of 718. This age group tends to be financially stable, often with more established credit histories.
- 56 to 65: Credit scores continued to rise for those aged between 56 and 65, with an average score of 737. These individuals typically enjoy the benefits of long-term financial stability.
- 65 and over: The highest average credit score was found among those aged 65 and over, with an impressive 750. This group often has extensive financial experience and a well-established credit history.
These figures highlight how credit scores evolve with age, reflecting individuals' financial experiences and habits over time.
It's important to remember that these averages indicate that individual credit scores can vary based on multiple factors, including personal financial choices and economic circumstances.
Credit scores 101
A credit score is a three-digit number that reflects an individual's financial health and creditworthiness, ranging from 300 to 900 in Canada. It's like a grade for your financial responsibility.
Lenders, landlords, and employers often use this score to assess the risk of lending to or doing business with an individual. A higher credit score typically suggests responsible financial behavior, making qualifying for loans easier, getting favourable interest rates, and securing rental agreements or job opportunities.
How credit scores are calculated
Credit scores are not conjured up by magic; they are meticulously calculated using a formula that considers various factors. These factors include your payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, types of credit, and any new credit you've obtained.
These elements combine to create a credit score that lenders scrutinize to assess your risk as a borrower.
The guardians of credit scores in Canada
In Canada, two prominent entities oversee the credit score arena: Equifax and TransUnion.
These credit bureaus meticulously maintain the financial records of Canadian consumers and generate credit scores based on this wealth of information.
Defining the ideal: what's a good credit score?
Ah, the golden question! In the Canadian financial landscape, lenders often offer their best terms and lowest interest rates to individuals with high credit scores. So, what constitutes a good credit score in the land of maple syrup and hockey?
Generally, a score of 660 or higher is deemed acceptable, but aiming for 700 and beyond opens doors to more favourable financial opportunities.
Unveiling the average credit score in Canada
Now, let's get to the heart of the matter: What's the average credit score in Canada? According to Borrowell, a company providing free credit scores and reports to Canadians, the average Canadian credit score stood at 672 in 2022.
This marks a positive trend, reflecting an improvement from the 667 average in 2021 and the 649 average in 2020. Canadians are taking their financial health more seriously.
A provincial perspective
Credit scores aren't uniform across Canada; they exhibit regional variations. Here's a glimpse of the average credit scores by province and city:
Markham – 720
Toronto – 696
Mississauga – 695
Ottawa – 688
Kitchener – 679
Brampton – 675
Hamilton – 660
Vancouver – 705
Victoria – 694
Surrey – 675
Calgary – 667
Edmonton – 649
Montreal – 687
Quebec City – 683
Laval – 679
Gatineau – 663
Winnipeg – 661
Halifax – 664
Fredericton – 658
Moncton – 640
Regina – 659
Saskatoon – 656
Navigating the path to credit score improvement
So, what if your credit score isn't quite where you'd like it to be? Worry not; there are strategies to improve your credit score. Begin by paying your bills on time, reducing credit card balances, and refraining from opening too many new credit accounts quickly.
These steps will enhance your credit profile, paving the way to access credit products at better terms and lower interest rates.
The role of different types of credit
Let's not forget to explore the role of different types of credit in shaping your credit score. Credit scores consider various forms of credit, including credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, and personal loans. Each type of credit has its unique impact on your credit score.
Credit cards can be a double-edged sword. When managed responsibly, they can boost your credit score by demonstrating your ability to handle revolving credit. However, maxing out your credit cards or making late payments can harm your credit score.
In the day of virtual credit cards, it becomes very easy to forget how much you're spending and where you're spending it as well. So, that's something to consider.
A mortgage is a significant financial commitment that can influence your credit score positively. Paying your mortgage on time and in full demonstrates your ability to handle a substantial debt responsibly.
Auto loans, like mortgages, are installment loans that can positively impact your credit score when paid as agreed. They diversify your credit mix, which can be viewed favourably by credit scoring models.
Personal loans are another form of installment credit. They can be used for various purposes, such as debt consolidation or home improvements. Managing personal loans responsibly can contribute to a positive credit history.
The significance of credit mix
Maintaining a diverse mix of credit types can benefit your credit score. It shows that you can handle different types of credit responsibly. However, it's essential to manage each type of credit diligently to avoid negative impacts on your credit score.
The intricacies of credit utilization
Credit utilization is a critical factor that influences your credit score. It refers to the ratio of your credit card balances to your credit card limits. Lenders pay close attention to this ratio because it indicates how much of your available credit you're using.
For example, if you have a credit card with a $5,000 limit and a balance of $1,000, your credit utilization rate is 20%. Generally, it's recommended to keep your credit utilization below 30% to maintain a healthy credit score.
High credit utilization can suggest financial stress and may negatively impact your creditworthiness.
The importance of payment history
Your payment history is arguably the most critical factor influencing your credit score. Lenders want to know if you're a reliable borrower who pays their bills on time. Late payments, collections, and charge-offs can significantly harm your credit score.
To maintain a positive payment history, paying all your bills promptly is crucial. This includes credit card payments, loan payments, and even utility bills. Setting up reminders or automatic payments can help ensure you never miss a due date.
The impact of missing payments
Missing payments on your credit obligations can severely affect your credit score. When you miss a payment, it can be reported to the credit bureaus and appear on your credit report as late or missed.
Even a single late payment can lower your credit score, and the more recent and frequent the late payments, the more significant the negative impact.
If you struggle to make a payment, it's essential to communicate with your lender as soon as possible. Some lenders may offer hardship programs or alternative payment arrangements to help you avoid late payments.
The role of financial habits
Your financial habits play a significant role in your credit score. Responsible financial behaviours, such as budgeting, saving, and avoiding unnecessary debt, can contribute to a positive credit history.
Creating and sticking to a budget can help you manage your finances effectively and avoid overspending. Building an emergency fund can provide a financial safety net, reducing the risk of relying on credit during unexpected expenses.
The impact of high-interest rates
High interest rates can be a stumbling block on your path to financial success. When your credit score is less than stellar, lenders may offer you loans or credit cards with higher interest rates to compensate for the perceived risk.
This can result in higher borrowing costs and make it more challenging to manage your debt effectively.
To avoid the burden of high interest rates, improving your credit score is crucial. As your credit score increases, you become more eligible for loans and credit cards with lower interest rates, saving you substantial money in interest payments over time.
The grand finale
Each individual contributes a unique story to the grand tapestry of Canadian credit scores.
Whether you are a Generation Z newcomer or a seasoned Baby Boomer, your credit score mirrors your financial journey. Remember that a good credit score is your ticket to lower interest rates and superior financial opportunities.
Manage your credit wisely, and you'll find yourself on the path to financial success in the Great White North. In the realm of credit, knowledge is power. You can transform that three-digit number into your most trusted financial ally with a modicum of effort and financial discipline.