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 group:
- 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 revolving credit.
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.
Want to know more? Check out the full infographic that illustrates the key habits of FICO High Achievers.
This guest post originally appeared in the FICO Banking Analytics Blog.