Super Bowl fever is taking over millions of football fans as Super Bowl Sunday quickly approaches. As part of the lead up to the game, there is a great deal of speculation and analysis (and non-stop media coverage!) on which team will take the title — the Carolina Panthers or the Denver Broncos.
Data elements being evaluated and discussed range from team performance during the season, comparison of team member experience and physical strengths/weaknesses, injuries, projected game-day weather conditions, etc., — all elements that would seem logical to aid in predicting which team will win. Other much less intuitive data points being bantered include the conference in which the team resides, distance travel to Super Bowl host city location, intensity of the fan base, team colors, team mascot … etc.,
At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the final score as that determines the winner.
The same can be said about your FICO® Scores in the Super Bowl of credit empowerment. Lenders use your FICO® Scores to help them determine if they’ll grant you credit, how much and at what interest rate. Having higher FICO® Scores provides people with access to more credit options and at more affordable rates.
So how do the credit habits of Bronco and Panther fans compare? For fun, we analyzed and compared several credit attributes for populations in the greater Charlotte and Denver metropolitan areas on a recent random sample of credit bureau data.
So what does this data show? On average:
- People in Denver are lower credit risks and have higher FICO® Scores (by almost 25 points on average) compared to folks in Charlotte.
- Charlotte residents are more likely to have missed payments. Payment history is very predictive and is one of the most important factors considered in a FICO® Score.
- While Denver folks have slightly higher total credit card balances, they also have lower credit utilization (32% versus 38%) on those cards implying that, on average, they have larger available credit limit. FICO® Scores consider not only the balances on accounts, but importantly the ratio of those balances to your available credit.
- The metropolitan areas are similar when evaluating credit seeking and length of credit history credit behaviors, with Denver being slightly more established.
In the unlikely event that the credit behaviors of a team’s hometown residents has any impact on the outcome of the game, one would be wise to bet on Denver winning. However, I wouldn’t bet the farm on that logic!
Several things you can bet on regardless of the team you are rooting for:
- Unlike the score at the end of the game, your current FICO® Scores are not final. FICO® Scores are dynamic and change as your credit behaviors change and are reflected in your underlying credit report data. So if you have a lower score, it’s not predetermined to stay low forever.
- Actions such as paying your bills on time, using your available credit responsibly and only applying for credit when needed can help you increase your FICO® Scores and secure your path to being a winner in the Super Bowl of credit empowerment.
May the better team win and the commercials be entertaining.
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