We just released revealing new research on the habits
of US consumers with the highest credit scores, specifically those with FICO®
Scores greater than 785. These FICO Score “high achievers” account for roughly 25%
of scorable consumers, or more than 50 million individuals. Our research
highlights a common thread within their credit behavior. Overall, these high
achievers consistently make payments on time, keep low revolving balances
relative to their available credit and only apply for credit that they need.
It may come as a surprise that FICO® Score high
achievers are not debt-free. They have multiple credit cards with balances.
However, they typically manage their accounts responsibly even if they have had
mishaps along the way.
FICO® Score high achievers also have
well-established credit histories and seldom open new accounts. For this group,
the average credit account is 11 years old, the oldest credit account on file was
opened an average of 25 years prior, and the most recent credit account is an
average of 28 months old. Some 58% of high achievers did not open an account in
the prior year, and 26% opened only one new account.
Here are other key facts about this
- High achievers have an
average of seven credit cards, including both open and closed accounts.
- They have an average of
four credit cards or loans with balances.
- One-third of high
achievers have total balances of more than $8,500 on non-mortgage
accounts; the remaining two-thirds have total balances of less than $8,500.
- 96% show no missed
payments on their credit report; of those who do, it happened four years
prior, on average.
- Many people have high
scores without using credit cards at all. Those that do use credit cards often
keep balances low, only using an average of 7% of their available
Our research shows that
the path to a high FICO® Score is not a mystery. Those same credit
behaviors we've been recommending on this blog and elsewhere—paying bills on
time, keeping balances low and only applying for credit when needed—remain the
most effective plan of action.