People with great credit are sometimes described as the credit elite, but it may not be as difficult to join that group as you might think. Roughly 20% of consumers with credit reports at at least one of the major credit reporting agencies fall into the top tier of credit scores — scores that are generally higher than 780, on a scale of 300 to 850.
There are about 62 million American consumers with great credit (aka excellent or super prime credit), according to 2015 data from credit bureau TransUnion. That’s based on the VantageScore 3.0 model, which is one of many credit scoring models out there. Because of the variety of scoring models in use, the TransUnion data isn’t a definitive assessment on the breakdown of Americans’ credit health, but you get the idea: A lot of people have great credit. It’s a goal that can be achieved.
Even the next tier down (aka good or prime credit) includes a lot of people: 17%, or about 51 million, or consumers with credit reports have good credit. That’s a score between 661 and 780 on the VantageScore 3.0 scale. Having good or great credit means you have a better chance of getting approved for a loan or credit card, as well as qualifying products with low interest rates and minimal fees. (You can find out more about credit cards options for people with good credit here.)
So, how do you get to that top 20%?
Everyone’s credit situation is different, and if you have a history of negative items on your credit report, the journey toward great credit will likely have more obstacles than someone’s who’s starting from scratch. You can start by requesting your free annual credit reports to see if there are any issues you need to fix. (You can go here to learn how to dispute any errors you may find on your credit report.)
No matter what’s in your credit past, focusing on good behaviors going forward can help you improve your credit. As you work on making payments on time and keeping your credit card balances low relative to their limits (some of the most important factors in credit scoring), you can see how your score changes by getting two free credit scores every 30 days on Credit.com.
More on Credit Reports & Credit Scores:
- The Credit.com Credit Reports Learning Center
- What’s a Good Credit Score?
- How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Report