• The average credit score fell one point to 717 in the fourth quarter of 2023, declining for the first time in a decade.
  • High interest rates and prices are squeezing household budgets: People are carrying more debt and struggling to pay it off.
  • The average U.S. credit score was on an upward trend for nearly 10 years before last quarter.

High interest rates and prices are straining household budgets and making consumers less creditworthy.

The average FICO credit score fell to 717 in October from 718 in April, the first time since 2013 that the score has fallen, FICO said Wednesday.1 People are carrying more debt and missing more payments, which is pushing the average score down.

“High interest rates and persistent inflation may be starting to weigh on consumers, especially those already struggling to manage their finances,” Can Arkali, senior director of analytic science for FICO, said in a blog post.

The downtick in the average credit score is the latest of multiple indications that some households—especially more financially vulnerable ones—are struggling under the pressures of the cost of living increases and high interest rates on all kinds of loans.

Inflation that flared up in late 2021 has fallen considerably, but that just means price increases have slowed. Overall prices for the goods and services people buy were 19% higher in January than in February 2020, according to the Consumer Price Index.