Many Americans are now obsessing over their credit scores. The elusive “850”, which credit analysts call the perfect credit score, gives many consumers a sense of personal achievement. According to the Fair Isaac Corp., about 1.4 percent of the U.S. population has 850 credit scores. The FICO scoring model has is the most popular predictor of a consumer’s ability to repay debt.
FICO estimates that close to 200 million Americans have a FICO score. However, many consumers now consider their “FICO” scores much more than just a number. With the information era making it easier for Americans to obtain their scores, consumers now look at their scores as a symbol of financial failure or success.
Consumers who have credit cards know that most credit models issue scores between 300 and 850. They also know this number can determine their entire financial lives. Therefore, many Americans now strive for the peak credit score of 850 and try to use their “perfect credit” to gain financial leverage.
Statistics show that the average FICO score this year is roughly 700. The number is about the same as it what in 2006, just before the housing market crashed that led to the Great Recession. Since then, many consumers now look at building the perfect credit score as their financial mission. Known in the industry as “super-prime,” there are close to 41 million Americans with credit scores above 800, while the number of consumers with scores less than 600 continues to dwindle.
About two decades ago, credit scores were a mystery among consumers. About once a year consumers could see their scores, and they had to pay a fee. Today, the credit scoring industry is more transparent, and some consumers are so obsessed over their scores that they monitor it daily. To them, a good credit score is also a measure of their character, which is all the more reason why other Americans are starting to take their scores a little more seriously.