Americans' credit scores jumping in these cities

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As the U.S. economy strengthens – about a decade into an economic expansion – some Americans are seeing one very important three-digit number climb higher: their credit scores.

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The average FICO credit score reached 704 last year, according to a report released by the scoring company in September, notching an all-time high. A credit score between 670 and 739 is generally considered “good.”

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A credit score is an important metric used by lenders to determine whether a borrower is trustworthy, which can impact their ability to obtain things like a mortgage.

While the average person does not have an “exceptional” credit score (between 800 and 850), residents in some major metro areas are meaningfully boosting their scores – which could potentially lift them into a new category.

As previously reported by FOX Business, there are a number of common patterns among people who can claim their credit is exceptional, including paying bills on time and having a long credit history.

Here’s a look at which cities have seen their residents’ credit scores rise the fastest (between the first quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019), according to online lending marketplace LendingTree:

1. Provo, Utah

More than half of residents in Provo, Utah – 55 percent – raised their credit scores during the past year. The highest proportion of residents, at 33 percent, raised their score by at least 25 points. More than two percent saw their scores climb by at least 100 points.

On the other hand, another Utah city – Ogden – ranked 88 out of 100 for credit score increases.

2. El Paso, Texas

In El Paso, Texas, about 53.5 percent of residents improved their credit score between the first quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. More than 16 percent saw their scores rise by at least 50 points, while about 30 percent experienced a 25 point increase.

3. Spokane, Washington

More than 3 percent of borrowers in Spokane raised their credit by 100 points or more over the past year. More than 16 percent saw at least a 50 point increase.

In total, 53 percent of people now have higher scores.

4. Boise, Idaho

About 52.2 percent of borrowers in Boise, Idaho, now have higher credit scores than they did one year ago.

Around 2.4 percent saw an increase of at least 100 points, while 14.5 percent saw scores climb by 50 points or more.

5. Omaha, Nebraska

Slightly less than 52 percent of Omaha, Nebraska, residents saw an increase in their credit scores. That included 6.6 percent whose ratings jumped by at least 75 points.

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Rounding out the top 10 were: Akron, Ohio; Oxnard, California; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Charlotte, North Carolina and Worcester, Massachusetts.

As previously noted by FOX Business, there is some concern credit scores in the current climate may not accurately reflect the full picture of a borrower’s financial situation – with some experts alleging a variety of external economic factors that impact a borrower’s ability to make payments aren’t being taken into account.