How can the city you live in affect your credit score? And if you’re looking to move, which U.S. cities are best for boosting your credit score?
Here’s what you need to know.
The benefits of a good credit score
Having a good credit score opens a lot of doors, one of which is the ability to qualify for a mortgage loan. A credit score that puts you in the optimal category for a home mortgage is 720 and up. Lower scores typically require a larger down payment and a higher interest rate.
Here are a few other benefits to having a credit score of 720 or better:
- Greater appeal to employers who check your credit history
- Better odds of approval for a rental application until you find a home you want to buy
- Lower interest rates on car loans
- Better insurance coverage
- Better credit card offers
- Lower interest rates on debt consolidation loans, making it easier to pay off debt
Some metro areas in the U.S. make it easier to improve credit scores in a number of ways:
- Higher minimum wage
- Low unemployment rate
- Lower than average cost of living
- Higher per capita income
Paying off debt and fixing a bad credit score can be difficult enough without living in an area that makes it more challenging.
That’s why it’s good to know the best (and worst) cities in which to live, work, spend your money, and pay down debt—boosting your credit score along the way.
The Upgraded Points study
The study went deep on 60 of the largest U.S. cities, ranking from best to worst for their credit score boosting ability, based on eight key factors:
- Cost of living index
- Interest rates
- Number of financial advisors per capita
- Average credit card debt
- Mean credit score
- Unemployment rate
- Minimum wage
- Per capita personal income
The study assigned a scored weight to each of these factors based on their impact on credit scores.
Data for each factor was converted into a score of 0 (worst) to 5 (best). Those scores were then multiplied by each factor’s weight and added together—with 50 being the highest possible score.
The best cities for boosting your credit score
Three of the top ten best cities for boosting credit scores are in New York, but New York City was not one of them. Here’s the complete list:
- Boston, MA
- San Jose, CA
- Rochester, NY
- Albany, NY
- San Francisco, CA
- Minneapolis, MN
- Salt Lake City, UT
- Syracuse, NY
- Madison, WI
- San Diego, CA
While the cost of living in Boston is higher than average, its high minimum wage ($14.25/hour), high mean credit score (720), low unemployment rate, and high number of financial advisors per capita put it at the number one spot.
The worst U.S. cities for boosting your credit score
Half of the top ten worst cities for boosting your credit score are in Texas, with Houston, El Paso and Dallas in the top three spots. Texas has one of the lowest minimum wages in the U.S. ($7.25), along with extremely high unemployment rates.
Also, while these cities have a lower than average cost of living, the average credit score is 674—40 points below the national average.
The 10 worst cities for boosting your credit score are:
- Houston, TX
- El Paso, TX
- Dallas, TX
- New Orleans, LA
- San Antonio, TX
- Memphis, TN
- Austin, TX
- Atlanta, GA
- Oklahoma City, OK
- Nashville, TN
What can you do as an agent?
If you’re serving clients considering moving to your area and you’re in one of the top ten cities for boosting credit scores, keep this data on hand to share with them.
You can even go a step further and share this information to educate and encourage your local community and your followers on social media. Use this study to give prospective clients in less credit-friendly metros a reason to shop for homes in your area.