Traits of People With High Credit Scores
October 19, 2012
To have a high credit score, individuals tend to keep revolving balances low to their available credit, not max out credit cards, and consistently make payments on time, according to the company behind the FICO credit score.
FICO recently released findings from a study about the habits and behaviors of those who have the highest credit scores — 785 or greater. These high-credit scorers tend to qualify for the best mortgage rates, saving thousands of dollars over the life of a loan.
Nationwide, 25 percent — or 50 million people — are considered “high achievers” with their credit scores.
“High achievers” tend to exhibit some of the following behaviors, according to FICO:
- 96 percent have no missed payments on their credit report. For any who have a missed payment, it occurred, on average, about four years ago. (Payment history makes up 35 percent of a person’s credit score.)
- They tend to have a well-established credit history and rarely open up new accounts. On average, the oldest credit account was opened 25 years ago. Overall, according to FICO, these “high achievers” tend to have credit accounts that are at least 11 years old.
- They’re not always debt-free: They average about seven credit cards, including both open and closed accounts, and have an average of four credit cards or loans with balances. One-third of “high achievers” have balances of more than $8,500 on non-mortgage accounts. The remaining two-thirds have total balances of less than $8,500.
- About 1 in 100 have a collection listed on their credit report. What’s more, 1 in 9,000 has experienced tax liens or even a bankruptcy.
"While people with a high FICO Score are not perfect, their consistently responsible financial behavior usually pays off over time," says Anthony Sprauve, credit score advisor for myFICO. "In a challenging economic period, the fact that we all have a chance to be high achievers is very good news. The lesson from these high achievers is that it's never too late to rebuild and score high."
Updated: June 21, 2018