In another sign of a steadily improving economy in the United States, personal credit scores are rising to the point where the national average credit score is 704.

Compare that to a bottoming out of credit scores about ten years ago at the start and during the recession when the number dipped to 686 nationally.

A score of 704 is considered solidly good; Consumers will be qualifying for most credit that they are hoping to get, said Ethan Dornhelm, VP of scores and analytics at FICO. A good score is generally above 700, and those over 760 are excellent.

Sources say that today, more people are aware of their credit, and how it works along with the effects on their day to day lives, and so they check into their credit more often and make sure to keep up with timely payments on their accounts.

I for one check my scores (in the past few months) almost daily. I took some big hits during Hurricane Harvey, missed a couple mortgage and credit card payments simply due to the flooding, mass confusion, and disruption taking place.

Both the lender and the credit card banks said not to worry, they made notes on my account when I called them, they knew about and were very understanding over the phone about the weather disaster. But alas my score ended up down in the mid 650s before December last year. I found that while your number can dip 40-60 points in a week or two, it can take months and months to work it back up.

Dornhelm added the rapidly improving economy has opened lenders to actual competition for new credit card volume and As we've gotten further from the Great Recession, lenders are increasingly competing for new card volume, and part of that is loosening their underwriting criteria in order to be more competitive.

Remember the easy four-step process to earn and maintain good credit, the number one unwritten rule, of course, is to budget and live within your means, use credit for special instances to even out your cash flow on certain purchases, not as a way of life to instantly have better shinier newer things.

Then - Pay all your credit cards on time, use the internet to schedule monthly payments a day or two ahead of the due date. Don't max out your cards, you actually get more credit, for credit that is unused, high credit utilization will knock down your overall score. Pay down debt, except for groceries and necessities, stop buying stuff. Pay down your overall debt. And finally check your credit reports regularly.

Like I say, as an empty nested widower, I never gave my credit two thoughts until after Hurricane Harvey when things got weird cash flow wise.

Overall this is all good news, means the USA is regaining power in more than one way and so, I think I'll go buy some new furniture.