How Much Debt Do Millennials Have?
A group of young millennials eating at a restaurant

The average millennial has $27,251 in non-mortgage consumer debt—here’s how they compare to other generations.

Millennials are the generation with the fastest growing debt. Here’s a look at what the average millennial is borrowing.

Millennials are the generation with the fastest growing debt load, which isn’t surprising when you consider this cohort is increasingly having children, buying homes and continuing to pay off their student loans. According to the Experian 2020 State of Credit report, the average millennial consumer has about $27,251 in non-mortgage debt, and millennial homeowners have an average mortgage balance of $232,372.

Experian reports that the $27,251 in non-mortgage consumer debt includes any revolving credit or installment loans, including credit cardsstudent loans, car loans and/or personal loans.

While Millennials’ average credit card balance is $4,651, most have their payment plans under control. Just 2.7% of millennials have fallen behind on their payments for 30 to 59 days, and even fewer (1.5%) are 60 to 89 days behind. The delinquency rate for 90- to 180-days-past-due accounts is 4.4%.

Millennial Debt - The average millennial has $27,251 in non-mortgage debt.
Happy young couple unpacking boxes from their move

How millennials can improve their credit scores

The average millennial’s VantageScore® is 658. While positive credit history is one factor in determining your credit score, it’s not the only one, so millennials can’t exactly blame their mediocre scores on their youth.

Read: How to Rebuild Your Credit After a Missed Credit Card Payment

With a score of 658, millennials sit right on the cusp of having a prime credit score, which can help improve their chances of getting approved for the best financial products and interest rates. The difference between having a 658 credit score and one higher than 660 is significant and well worth working toward.

The first step to improving your score is to know where you stand. It’s easy to pull your free credit report and sign up for a free credit monitoring service.

Be sure to check for errors on your credit reports while you’re at it: 26% of participants in an FTC study found at least one error on their reports that could make them appear riskier to lenders.

Once you know where you stand, there are five easy steps you can take to improve and/or maintain your score.

Read: Why Mortgage Credit Scores Are Little Known and Often Low

1. Make on-time payments

Paying your bills on time is the most important thing you can do to help raise your score. Both FICO and VantageScore, which are two of the main credit card scoring models, view payment history as the most influential factor. Even if you can’t pay the full balance, always pay the minimum at least.

2. Set up autopay

If you struggle to remember to pay your bills on time each month, link your credit card to your checking account and approve a monthly autodraft to pay your bills. After a few months of regular on-time payments, you’ll be surprised at how much autopay boosts and then protects your score.

3. Limit new accounts

FICO and VantageScore look at the number of credit inquiries you have. Every time you apply for a new credit card or loan, or even ask for a credit limit increase, you could add another inquiry to your report. If you want a new card, but you’re not sure you’ll qualify, you can submit a pre-qualification form online, which shouldn’t impact your score.

4. Keep an eye on your credit utilization rate

Your credit utilization rate (CUR) is the total amount of credit you are using compared to your available limit. Experts recommend you try to keep this under 10% — so if you have a $10,000 credit limit, avoid carrying more than $1,000 balance at any one time. Lowering your CUR should lead to a boost in your score.

5. Get credit for paying other bills

Get credit on your credit report for paying your utility bills, streaming subscriptions, and cell phone payments on time by signing up for Experian Boost™. The way Experian Boost works is simple: Just connect your bank account(s) to your Experian Boost account. It will identify your utility, telecom, and streaming service payment history — that includes Netflix®, HBO Max™ and others. Verify the data and confirm you want it added to your Experian credit file, then you’ll get an updated FICO score delivered to you in real-time. (This service will only help you improve your FICO score.)

Article courtesy of CNBC.com

Written by Diane Nelson

May 3, 2021

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