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Korea’s Average Credit Score: 74.3/100

Posted May. 10, 2006 02:59,   


Nowadays, a person’s financial dealings are assessed and given “credit scores.” As information on these scores is shared among financial companies, your credit score will restrict which companies’ services you can use. It also determines a range of other factors, including the availability of loans, loan ceilings, loan rates, and the issuing of credit cards.

Through a national analysis on the credit scores and financial dealings of all people with experience in credit transactions, Dong-A Ilbo’s reporting team has created a “Credit Map of Korea” divided by age and region.

From a thorough study on the credit rating company National Information & Credit Evaluation Inc.’s credit information of 33,288,789 people, the team found that the average credit score of Koreans is 74.3 out of 100.

Women scored higher than men with 74.9 against 73.2 points. When sorted by age, people in their 40s ranked the lowest at 73.3, and those in their 70s scored the highest with 77.6 points.

Seventy percent of all the scores recorded between 70 and 90. One hundred eighteen people scored the full 100 points, and 98 people scored less than 10, rating respectively as a very high credit score group and a very low credit score group.

An analysis of the 12.85 million people with address details showed there was a large gap in credit scores between different regions.

Seoul ranked first and South Jeolla Province the lowest, while within Seoul itself, Seocho and Gangnam wards had the highest credit scores.

“We live in an age where we have to consider credit as part of our real assets, as it decides our loan rates and limits,” said Kang Yong-gu from the National Information and Credit Evaluation. “We have to manage our credit scores carefully to avoid possible disadvantages.”

Though easily downgraded, it is much more difficult to make one’s credit rating go back up.

For Manager Kim, in the case above, it will take at least one year to recover his credit rating of level three.

While records of cash advance on credit cards and bank savings accounts cannot be recalled after six months, credit delinquency records disappear only after maintaining one year of good credit after loan repayment. Until then, Kim has no choice but to suffer many disadvantages.

Suk-Min Hong Sang-Hoon Kim smhong@donga.com sanhkim@donga.com