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People with great credit scores share similar credit habits. Interestingly, many people with a great credit score weren’t necessarily free of consumer debt. In fact, some of these individuals had an average of four credit cards, and non-mortgage debt higher than $8,500. However, it’s the way these individuals manage their debt that contributes to their high credit score.
Most people with a credit card in their name are familiar with FICO scores. This is a three-digit number — ranging from 300 to 850 — which plays a pivotal role in loan and credit approvals. The higher your FICO or credit score, the better your chances of getting approved.
You can order your FICO score anytime from website such as myFico.com. In fact, many experts recommend checking your own credit and credit score before applying for loans. But if a review of your credit score reveals a less-than-perfect rating, you might question the secrets to a high score. Despite the number of people who file bankruptcy or lose their homes to foreclosure each year, more than 50 million people have a credit score 785 or higher, according to a recent report by myFico.com. If you want to know the secret to good credit, take a lesson from some of the nation’s top achievers.
- High achievers demonstrate a pattern of timeliness with very few missed or late payments on their credit file. Approximately 96% of high achievers have no missed payments or delinquencies on their credit reports. If a late or skipped payment did appear on a credit report, the incident occurred four or more years ago. Less than 1% have a past due account.
- Some high achievers experienced credit problems in the past, but worked to improve their credit rating. For example, 1 in 100 high achievers had a collection account on their credit report. Additionally, 1 in 9,000 had a tax lien or bankruptcy in their past.
- Numerous credit inquiries can lower a consumer’s credit score. According to the myFico.com report, high achievers rarely open new accounts.
As a whole, an individual with great credit score typically keeps a low balance on their credit cards. She either pay off their balances in full each month or keep balances low in comparison to their available credit. What’s more, she routinely pay their bills on time. Keeping balances low and timeliness are key factors to boosting your credit score. In fact, these two factors account for 30% and 35% of your credit score, respectively.
The fact that some high achievers experienced serious credit mishaps in the past is good news to those with a low credit score. Bad credit is not permanent and you can take steps to rebuild your score. Understand how credit scoring systems work and then make moves to boost your score. Pay your bills on time, don’t max out your credit cards, limit credit inquiries and diversify your credit (maintain a mixture of credit cards and loans).