What people with 800+ credit scores have in common

Only about 1 in 6 American consumers has a FICO credit score of 800 or higher. A FICO score in the mid-700s is generally considered good enough for the best rates and terms from lenders, but those with 800+ scores do have some things in common.

Obviously, they don’t miss payments. LendingTree said everyone in the 800-club pays their bills on time every month, which aligns with the fact that payment history is the most important factor of a credit score, weighed as 35% of the score.

They also use only a small portion of their credit limits each month. Credit utilization is the second-most important factor in determining credit scores, and those with scores of 800 or higher come no where near their maximum available credit lime. LendingTree said the average credit utilization for those with the highest scores is less than 6%.

But, since those people are more likely to have considerably higher credit limits, 6% can go a long way in terms of how much actual money accessed that is.

“It really does give a bit of an advantage to higher-income folks who are more likely to have a higher credit limit, which gives them a larger margin for error than a lot of folks have,” said Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst at LendingTree.

The 800 club also tends to have some long-established accounts. Those with scores of 800 or higher have had at least one open account for an average of more than 27 years.

Banks and credit unions are more likely to give better rates to those with the highest scores.

“They are more likely to give you a loan with better terms. They are more likely to give you higher credit limits. They are more likely to give you better rates. It is all about doing a good job over a long period of time,” Schulz said.

LendingTree’s full report on what it takes to earn an 800 credit score is online.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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