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Millennials and Gen Z have lowest credit scores of any generation


Millennials and Generation Z have tied for having the nation's lowest credit scores. (Getty Images)

Millennials can’t catch a break.

They’ve been blamed for everything from killing casual dining chains to napkins, and now, they’re being shamed for their embarrassingly low credit scores.

The generation has “one of the lowest average credit scores of any generation,” consumer credit reporting company Experian states this week.

“Weighed down by student loan debt and maturing on the heels of the 2008 economic crisis, millennials — people between ages 23 and 38 — have had a tough time getting ahead financially,” the report by Experian Consumer Services reads. “Held back by their credit scores, some millennials have struggled to obtain new credit and, as a result, may be finding it hard to reach certain financial milestones.”

Millennials had an average FICO Score of 665 in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared with a national average of 701, according to Experian data.

They tied for lowest average score with Generation Z, which includes people between the ages 18 and 22 and is the youngest group eligible for a credit card. Those in their 70s and older had the highest average FICO Score, 756, while baby boomers ranked next best with an average score of 732.

Millennials are also worse off than they were the year before, financially. They have an average total debt of $80,666, up 11% from 2017, an average of $34,770 in student loan debt, up 8%, and an average credit card balance of $5,231, up 7%.

Experian provided some tips for millennials and Gen Z — or anyone — looking to improve their credit scores. They include periodically monitoring your credit score for opportunities to improve it, and not missing any payments.

“Payment history is the most important factor in calculating your credit score,” Experian states. “Even one late or missed payment can have a lasting negative impact on your score, so it’s important to make sure never to miss a payment.”