by Christy Bieber | March 12, 2020
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It takes a long time to earn a great credit score. But how old will you be when your score is at its highest?
Earning a good credit score takes time. You need to develop a long history of positive borrowing behavior to show creditors you are trustworthy. Because of this, your credit score may not reach its highest level until you've spent a number of years using credit responsibly.
A recent report from Experian showed just how long it can take until your credit score hits its peak, and it's a surprisingly advanced age.
According to Experian, the average age when Americans' credit scores peak is 78 years old. And this average is actually down quite a bit. From 2012 to 2016, the average age at which a person reached their highest FICO® Score was 89.
But the average person doesn't have to wait a long time just to earn a peak credit score -- they have to wait a while before earning a score classified as "good." That's because Experian's research shows Americans typically achieve a FICO® Score of 700 at the age of 54. This is also eight years earlier than the previous average of 62.
Looking at the average, it's clear you have to live a lot of years before your credit score hits its lifetime high. And there are a few key reasons for that.
For many people, becoming financially stable can take time. When you're raising kids and working to pay off a house, you have a lot of demands on your money. This can make it difficult to keep your credit card balances low.
Unfortunately, high balances hurt your credit. While it's best to keep your credit utilization below 30%, those with the highest credit scores generally have a much lower utilization rate than that. If you work on paying off your credit card debt over time, it may take until your 50s -- or your 70s -- to get your cards paid off so you can maintain a consistently low credit utilization ratio.
Your credit score is also affected by the length of your credit history and the types of credit you have. A long history and a mix of different kinds of loans are always preferable. By the time you get to the second half of your life, you've likely had credit card accounts open for a long time and have probably done different kinds of borrowing -- both of which help to improve your score.
Waiting until you're 54 to get good credit or until 78 to earn the highest possible credit score isn't ideal -- especially since having good credit will help you in lots of ways throughout your life.
The good news is that these are just average ages for those score milestones. Many people are able to earn good credit when they're much younger. You can become one of them by making sure you don't close old accounts or open too much new credit at once, by keeping your credit utilization ratio low, and by always paying your credit card bills on time.
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