Men and women may not have achieved equality on all fronts, but when it comes to credit scores the playing field is fairly even. Experian analyzed reports from their consumer credit database in December 2012 to produce a study and an infographic on the differences between men and women when it comes to credit.
Some similarities, some differences
Credit scores were nearly the same, with an average score of 675 for women and 674 for men. Men carried more revolving debt—an average of 4.3% more. Women’s average debt was $25,095, while men carried an average balance of $26,227.
Men also had a slightly higher credit utilization rate of 31% compared with women’s 30% utilization. But the biggest difference between genders was seen in mortgages.
Bigger mortgages, harder time paying
When it came to getting a mortgage, men were more likely to be given bigger loans. The average mortgage for men was 4.9% higher than mortgages taken out by women. They also had a slightly higher rate of late mortgage payments; about 7% higher according to Experian.
Part of the reason that men are given bigger mortgages might be that they still have higher earning power than women. Among full-time workers, men earn approximately 23% more than women the study said.
More on mortgages
Most of the U.S. mortgages are jointly held. Seventy-two percent of consumers have joint mortgages, usually held by a man and a woman. More independent mortgages are held by men than women, except in our nation’s capital. In Washington, D.C., women take out 33% more mortgages than men do.
On a state-by-state basis, Connecticut had the largest gender gap in mortgage amounts. The average mortgage for a man was $229,510, compared with $175,276 for women. And in Florida, which has a high foreclosure rate and where both sexes struggle to make mortgage payments on time, women do a markedly better job managing their debt. In Miami, women have 6.9% less debt than men, and in West Palm Beach, men have a 17.5% higher incidence of late mortgage payments.
Paying on time, using less credit key to good scores
The authors of the Experian study say that whether you are a man or a woman, the most important thing to remember is that late payments, missed payments, and high credit utilization are the fastest ways to sink a credit score.