These Are the U.S.'s Credit Champions

Hint: They do not live in Nevada.

San Diego Chargers v Green Bay Packers

Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Photographer: Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images

In the credit-score battle of the sexes, women have the upper hand. Women in Green Bay, Wisc., to be precise.

The average credit scores of women edge out those of men, by a score of 675 to 6701, according to a new survey of 750,000 consumers by credit-reporting company Experian. A quarter of the U.S. population falls in the 600-to-699 score range, and "lenders typically view consumers in this category as higher risk," according to Experian.

The gender gap may stem from the higher debt men take on with the cars and homes they buy, said Michele Raneri, vice president of analytics and new business development for the company. Here are some highlights from the report.

Women have more cards—but less debt

The average woman has 23.5 percent more open credit cards, Experian found. That equates to an average of 3.7 open cards for women and 3 for men. Women have both more bank cards and store retail cards (which come with those tempting2 discounts for opening them) than men, but the gap between the sexes is greater in the number of store cards.

While women may have more credit cards, they carry, on average, 3.7 percent less debt than men3. That adds up to a still-significant $26,610, to men's $27,627. 

Men have bigger mortgage loans and higher delinquencies

The average mortgage origination amount for men is $231,089; for women, it's $212,912. That lower balance could make it easier for women to meet their payments. Just 0.79 percent of women have a mortgage payment 60 days delinquent, compared to 0.86 percent of men. This might seem a small difference at first glance, but the gap between delinquency rates is more than 8 percent. 

Across states, men and women in Montana have the fewest instances of late mortgage payments. The opposite holds for men in New Jersey and women in Rhode Island. 

Minnesotans win the state credit-score derby

The highest average credit scores for both sexes are found in Minnesota, where men score 703 and women score 710, out of Experian's Vantage range of 300 to 850. And drilling into U.S. metro area figures reveals that Minneapolis is home to the men with the highest average scores, at 705. Women in Green Bay, Wisc., do even better, with an average score of 709.

Nevada has the dubious distinction of having the lowest average credit score for men, at 645. For women, the lowest scores hail from Mississippi, with an average of 640. The biggest gap between the sexes in credit scores was in Oregon, where the average for men is 677 vs. 689 for women. 

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  1. 1 The report's results differ from those of a recent analysis by Credit Sesame, a credit-card website. When that firm scanned its universe of consumers, it found men's credit scores slightly higher than women's, at 630 for men and 621 for women.
  2. 2 Opening too many card accounts can hurt your credit score, so that discount may come with a hidden price. 
  3. 3 Average debt includes all credit cards, auto loans, and personal/student loans.