April 11, 2012 08:00 ET

Student Loan Debt Up 12% in the First Quarter of the Year, According to

Credit Scores Down Five Points Since March 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - Apr 11, 2012) -, the consumer's credit advocate, today released its U.S. Credit Score Climate Report with trend data for March and Q1 2012. Credit card debt fell 11 percent nationally since December to $5,871. States that saw the biggest quarterly decrease include:

  • Wyoming - decreased by 23%
  • Arkansas, Louisiana and North Dakota - decreased by 18%
  • Indiana - decreased by 17%

In March 2012, the average consumer with an account had:

  • $168,727 in home mortgage debt - down 1.4% quarter-over-quarter
  • $15,470 in auto loans - remained steady quarter-over-quarter
  • $29,523 in student loan debt - up 12.4% quarter-over-quarter

Nationally, the average credit score is 660. However, that number is still five points lower than the March 2011 average of 665.

"Consumers continue to pay down their credit card debt," said Ken Lin, CEO of "But as the economy improves it will be interesting to see if consumers can keep that commitment or if they revert back to their old habits."

Other key findings include:

  • Nebraska and Wyoming saw the biggest quarterly decrease in average credit score with each state's scores dropping five points to 657 and 650 respectively. On the other end of the spectrum, Delaware and Rhode Island both jumped eight points to 654 and 664 respectively.

  • Consumers in 37 states are carrying more student loan debt than they were a year ago. North Dakota (9%), New Hampshire (9%), Maine (7%), Utah (6%) and South Carolina (6%) saw the biggest increases.

  • Residents in South Dakota are now carrying about $20,000 more in mortgage debt than a year ago. That's a 16 percent increase, compared to a 1 percent decrease nationally. Conversely, mortgage debt in Mississippi and West Virginia decreased 5 percent.

  • Wisconsin ($12,886), Maine ($13,227), Rhode Island ($13,230), Oregon ($13,256) and Minnesota ($13,482) have the least amount of auto loan debt

Each month, the U.S. Consumer Credit Score Climate Report compares the current credit scores of its user base with previous scores pulled at least 30 days prior and no more than 90 days prior to the stated month. This month's report includes a comparison of more than 473,990 user scores.

About provides more than 5 million consumers with free credit scores and access to free credit monitoring to help them realize the everyday cost savings of having good credit by offering personalized savings recommendations for credit cards, student, auto, mortgage and home equity loans. It also provides financial education and access to free tools that empower consumers to take charge of their financial health including the Credit Report Card, Credit Score Simulator and Credit Card Statistics. To learn more, visit

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