Ever wondered who has the highest credit score in the country? Did you even know it’s actually a statistic that’s well-kept every year? Meet Tom Pavelka, the man with the highest credit score in the United States. The 56 year old man is a government employee, has eight credit cards and a mortgage. Here’s how he hit the top spot and his tips for those reaching for that glorious number one spot.
Highest Credit Score
The highest credit score you can have is 850 and Pavelka received a letter recently congratulating him for his score of 848 and that his score ranks higher than “100 percent of all American consumers”. Pavelka is an assistant district director for the Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation in Cleveland, Ohio. He owns two 1960s British sports cars a beautiful 1958 Corvette as well as four other vehicles. He and his missus drive sixteen miles to work each day, which means he doesn’t have to pay for parking nor does he double his miles by driving two vehicles each day. He says he and his wife eat out often, collect vintage wines and when they vacation, they choose spots here in the U.S.
Asked to sum it up in terms of how he does it, he told the press,
I like to spend money, I just do it wisely.
But there’s another fact, too: Pavelka is married, but has no children. And don’t make the mistake of calling him frugal; he doesn’t like it. He just goes about his day, minding his own business, paying his bills and preparing for retirement with his wife, whom he’s been married to for 25 years.
We’re guessing there’s not a bank or credit card company in the country that wouldn’t gladly lend him any amount of money he needed. So, what is his secret? How does he do it? Here is what he advised recently during a presser:
He says if you don’t already have a credit card, get one. Having and using a credit card will build your credit score faster than anything. Also, if you do have credit cards, don’t carry balances and certainly don’t carry a balance more than 30% of your available credit limit. In fact, he says, your best bet is to shoot for no more than 10%.
Paying your bills on time is absolutely crucial, Pavelka says. He has his set up on automatic withdrawals and he cautions consumers to be sure there’s always money in the bank to avoid overdraft fees. Using his eight credit cards wisely has also contributed to his superb credit rating. He knows carrying big balances can hurt your scores and it can also prevent you from getting access to something if you really need it.
Also, did you know that the ending balance that shows up on your monthly statements is typically what’s reported to the bureaus each month? Making sure your payments hit before your monthly statements are printed can help significantly with your utilization rate – and it will certainly improve your credit scores, too. That’s another reason why it’s so important to pay as much of your balance as you can each month if you can’t pay the entire balance in full.
Late payments should be avoided at all costs. This has a domino effect: first, you’re stuck paying the actual late fee, then you run the risk of having any kind of promo being discontinued (remember – it’s all spelled out in your terms and conditions). Also, charge offs and collections are the kiss of death for anyone’s credit report and it can affect your ability to get credit for years.
Request a copy of your credit report every year. Consider it your annual credit maintenance. It’s important to be sure you aren’t carrying any kind of reporting errors, which can affect your scores and the interest rates for any credit you’re offered. Find mistakes? Be sure to dispute them. It will take a few hours out of your day to get your information together and make the call or write the letter, but rest assured, it’s time well spent.
Not Quite Perfect
So why does he not have a perfect score? The three credit bureaus aren’t entirely sure because his history is perfect, but they spokespersons from the three credit bureaus say they have never seen more impressive credit scores.
I don’t know anybody who has a perfect credit score,
Experian director of public education Rod Griffin told reporters last week.
It’s almost impossible. If you use credit and you have debt, there’s always some risk you will not be able to repay it. You could become ill, you could be in an accident that’s not your fault. Because there’s always some risk from things beyond your control that you won’t be able to repay the debt, you won’t have a perfect credit score.
For now, Pavelka says he’s focusing on paying off the remaining four years left on his mortgage and he says he will likely continue to use his HELOC to “buy cars and then pay them off”.
Think you could ever hit the mark of credit perfection? What’s your biggest stumbling block? Share your story with us.
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