Report ranks Baltimore last for credit management

Baltimore ranks last for money management, report says.

Baltimore came in dead last in a new report that evaluated how well residents of 25 metropolitan areas manage their credit.

The report, from CreditCards.com, compared the average credit scores in 25 cities against a prediction of what each city's credit score should be, based on income, age, education and unemployment.

Baltimore's average credit rating of 667 is middle of the road, compared to other cities' credit ratings. But it is almost 17 points lower than the 683.8 CreditCards.com predicted for the area, based on the area's strong high school graduation rates and average household income, which was the fourth-highest among surveyed cities.

"We went into this survey with the hypothesis that high income areas, high education areas would generally have higher credit scores," said Matt Schulz, CreditCards.com's senior industry analyst. "Baltimore is basically proof that's not always the case."

Baltimore had among the highest average daily credit card balance and utilization rate — a ratio of credit card balance to available credit — which may have contributed to the city's lower-than-expected credit rating, Schulz said.

Washington, D.C., came in second to last on the list, while Los Angeles and Minneapolis/St. Paul ranked as the best credit managers.

Credit scores range from 330 to 850, with scores below 629 generally considered bad credit and those between 630 and 689 considered poor credit.

sarah.gantz@baltsun.com

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