After years of trailing behind men, women have finally evened the score. Their credit score, that is.
According to the latest data collected by Experian, the average credit score for women reached a record high. At 705, us girls have reached parity with male credit users. Better yet, this average is what FICO, the most used credit scoring metric in the world, calls “very good” credit.
Unfortunately, the nature of averages means Experian had to crunch a lot of data to figure out this number. While some women have even higher scores than 705, others fall well below it and enter subprime credit.
Subprime credit can complicate many things in life, including borrowing money. While you can find personal loans online with bad credit in emergencies, you’ll want to follow these tips to boost this number in the meantime.
Why Credit Scores Were Another Glass Ceiling
Although no credit scoring model today factors your sex when generating your score, there has been a marked difference between the scores of men and women for decades.
Why does this disparity exist? There’s likely no one reason, but several factors:
Gender Roles Interfere with Jobs
Women are usually saddled with traditional domestic roles like childcare, which could interfere with how much they can work. Women were more likely to quit their jobs during the pandemic to ensure their children were looked after when schools and daycares closed.
Gender Pay Gap
Women earning less is not a thing of the past. The median salary for women is about 19% lower than the median for men. Financial planner Bobbi Rebell thinks this could cause women to rely on credit cards more often than men as a result. More to her point, women tend to have more credit cards than men.
Lingering Student Debt
More women carry student loan debt from their time at college. While a student loan may not impact your credit, provided you keep it in good standing, it can leave you strapped for cash. If you miss payments, you may damage your score.
How to Improve Your Credit Score
If you’re one of the many women who have a less-than-perfect score, keep reading. Here are some tips to help you bring up your score before you borrow.
Follow a Budget. Achieving any financial goal is challenging without a budget. This spending plan gives you an idea of what money you have on hand, so you can understand your full potential. It’s also a great tool for sniffing out bad spending habits that interfere with paying bills or savings.
Build an Emergency Fund. Squirreling away some cash every month improves the chances you won’t have to borrow until you improve your score. Of course, there are short term personal loans available with bad credit, but you may have to pay more in rates and fees for these options.
Pay Bills on Time. One of the biggest factors affecting your score is payment history. You’ll keep bad marks off your file if you hit every due date, so make sure you prioritize bills in your budget — whether it’s your utility bill, installment loan payment, or credit card statement. Set up reminders so you don’t forget.
Pay Off Balances. Do you max out your credit card often? If you don’t pay off this balance, you’ll raise your utilization ratio. As the second biggest factor of your credit, this ratio should be lower than 30%. So, if you have a $1,000 limit, the balance you carry over shouldn’t be more than $300.
Credit scores aren’t permanent. Just like the average woman has raised her score, so can you. Follow these tips to find inspiration.