- West Virginia, New Mexico, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Indiana have the biggest room for improvement of their credit score
- Only 52 out of 100,000 residents of West Virginia complain about errors in their credit reports
- Two thirds of complaints are related to reports containing information belonging to someone else
- In Oklahoma, reports are often used improperly, but most cases are resolved following a formal complaint
- Minnesota has the best credit score, while Georgia complains the most about fixing their credit reports
Of all US states with below average credit scores, West Virginia residents file the least complaints about their credit reports, a new study has revealed. This is despite the Federal Trade Commission estimating that around one in four credit reports contain errors. Other states missing out on improving their credit scores include New Mexico, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Indiana.
A study from consumer protection attorneys FCRA by Fair Credit analyzed data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Experian from September 2021 to 2022 and found that two in three problems that all US residents complain about are related to their report containing information that does not belong to them.
18 US states have credit scores below the national average of 714. Of them, the ones that complain the least about errors in their credit reports are West Virginia, New Mexico, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Indiana. Residents of these five states have the biggest potential to improve their credit scores and catch up with the US average.
Top 5 States With The Biggest Room For Improvement
West Virginia has an average credit score of 700 - 14 points below the national average. Only 52 people in 100,000 here take formal action to have their credit reports corrected.
In New Mexico, this number stands at 68, with the state averaging to a credit score of 699. Kentucky only has 73 complaints filed for every 100,000 residents, leading to the state’s average score to stagnate at 702 over the past two years.
Oklahoma is the fifth worst state for average credit scores, estimated at 693, yet only 92 people out of 100,000 try to fix the likely errors in their credit reports. Lastly, Indiana, which is 2 points short of the national credit score average, still only sees 102 residents per 100,000 file complaints to address the problems in their reports.
Issues People Most Complain About
The prevailing issue people complain about in relation to their credit scores in West Virginia, New Mexico and Kentucky is about someone else’s data being misattributed to the account holder. This is the case for 66.7% of US states, where 131,989 complaints out of the total of 197,709 between September 2021 and 2022 concern specifically information that belongs to someone else.
In Oklahoma, however, there is a pattern of reports being used improperly. The majority of the cases are resolved following a formal complaint.
Meanwhile, Indiana residents are facing three main issues. Besides dealing with incorrect information on their reports and their improper use, the investigations of credit reporting companies into existing problems largely end up unresolved.
A spokesperson for FCRA.com commented on the findings: “When discovering they have a low credit score, many people assume they need to make drastic changes to their financial habits. However, in every fourth case, at least, it is entirely not their fault and is simply a matter of correcting one’s credit report.
“We were very surprised to learn that very few people are aware, firstly, that there is a 25% chance that a low credit score is not their fault and, secondly, that this can be easily fixed by taking legal action.
Errors in your credit report, background check or tenant screening can lead to unfair interest rates, higher rent and even cost you your job or your dream home. Checking your credit score is currently free via the official website – annualcreditreport.com – and can save you a great deal of grief when you need that three-digit number to be in top shape.”
Overall, Minnesota prides itself on having the best credit score in the country (742), while Georgia is the state that files the most complaints to have their credit reports corrected (499 people in 100,000).
The study was commissioned by FCRA by Fair Credit – a law firm that specializes in correcting errors in credit reports, background checks and tenant screenings.