Cities With the Best Credit Scores 2012

CNBC

If you live in the Midwest, then you live in the U.S. region where residents are the most responsible with their money. So says Experian, an agency that collects financial information about people, businesses, cars and insurance. They’ve analyzed the credit and debt habits of the American people and determined which cities have the people with the highest credit scores.

The findings come from its second-annual “State of Credit” report. Those results are based on the average VantageScore by designated market area from January through June 2011.

The VantageScore has a range of 501 to 900, from worst to best. Among other things, the analysis revealed that the average credit score in the U.S. is 749, the average debt is $24,542 and the average percentage of available credit in American households is 71.17 percent.

Using data from Experian, CNBC.com presents 2012 edition of the cities with the best credit scores.

1. Wausau, Wis.

View gallery

.

Henryk Sadura/Getty Images

City averages:
Credit Score: 789
Debt: $22,439
Number of Late Payments: 0.27
% Credit Available: 77.52
Number of Open Credit Cards: 1.71

The highest-ranking city is Wausau, Wis., a remarkable development considering that in the previous year, it didn’t even make the list. Interestingly, of all 10 cities on this list, four including Wausau, are in Wisconsin. When it comes to managing personal credit and debt, the people of Wisconsin must be doing something right.

2. Minneapolis, Minn.

View gallery

.

Greg Benz/Flickr/Getty Images

City averages:
Credit Score: 787
Debt: $24,994
Number of Late Payments: 0.26
% Credit Available: 73.45
Number of Open Credit Cards: 2.08

In the previous year, Minneapolis, Minn., proudly topped the “State of Credit” list. However, times change, and during the most recent survey period, it fell one spot. Still, its average credit score of 787 is impressive, and the city owes it in part to a low unemployment rate of 6.9 percent, and a median family income of $82,700. On the negative side, it had 786 foreclosures.

3. Madison, Wis.

View gallery

.

Original photography by Neos Design - Cory Eastman/Flickr/Getty Images

City averages:
Credit Score: 785
Debt: $23,533
Number of Late Payments: 0.27
% Credit Available: 75.90
Number of Open Credit Cards: 1.79

Madison, Wis., has fallen one spot to number 3, but like Cedar Rapids, the city is still in good standing despite the slippage. It has a lower-than-average unemployment rate at 6 percent, a higher-than-average median family income of $81,800 and a high percentage of available credit.

4. Cedar Rapids, Iowa

View gallery

.

J Wynia/Flickr

City averages:
Credit Score: 781
Debt: $23,628
Number of Late Payments: 0.32
% Credit Available: 76.57
Number of Open Credit Cards: 1.82

Like most of the cities on this list, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has fallen one spot since the previous year. Still, number 4 isn’t a bad place to be. Its high placement is due in part to a high percentage of available credit and a low unemployment rate of 6 percent.

5. San Francisco

View gallery

.

Travelpix Ltd/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

City averages:
Credit Score: 781
Debt: $23,973
Number of Late Payments: 0.30
% Credit Available: 72.83
Number of Open Credit Cards: 2.02

At number 5, San Francisco is the only city on this list to retain its ranking from the previous year. Its residents have a relatively high number of open credit cards and a relatively low percentage of available credit. At the time of the survey, the city had a 10 percent unemployment rate, higher than the national average of 9.2 percent. But at $101,600, San Francisco is the only city on this list with a six-figure median family income, which helps it to retain its foothold.

Click here for the full list of Cities With the Best Credit Scores.

More from CNBC:

Rates

View Comments (302)