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Is Your Credit Score Higher Than Santa’s?

Editor's Pick: Originally Published Monday, Dec. 21.

Santa Claus doesn't do much shopping for Christmas. He does, after all, run a huge toy-making manufacturing site way up there near the North Pole.

That doesn't mean Old St. Nick doesn't have a good credit score -- he does.

FICO pegs Santa's credit score at an enviable 757, which would qualify him for favorable lending terms, thus saving him a sleigh load of money next time he refinances his home "toy factory" mortgage, the credit giant reports.

To calculate his credit score, FICO notes, among other factors, Santa owns his own home, regularly uses credit to buy toy-making materials and pays the debt back on time. To boot, he has financed a brand new sleigh, which he's currently paying off.

"Santa works hard to understand his credit health, especially during the holiday season," says Ethan Dornhelm, senior principal scientist at FICO. "Santa's FICO score represents a snapshot in time. It may be impacted by borrowing money to purchase materials to build millions of toys for kids around the world, and it considers things like whether he pays his bills on time, and the level of his revolving balances after the holidays are over."

That raises an interesting question -- whether you've been naughty or nice, can your credit score top Santa's?

Some financial consumers say so -- and they can explain why. "Not to brag, but I have a credit score of 805," says Chad Reid, director of communications at JotForm in Oakland. "The way mine has risen so high has really just been being financially literate and proactive. I check my expenditures every single day, pay off my credit cards every month and automate payments for everything else in my life so I never miss a payment."

Reid says his credit score actually went down recently from 815 because he took out graduate student loans, but he fully expects his score expect to be higher again in the near future.

"The real key is caring about your score and making consistent payments," he says. "I've also taken out several credit cards, which surprisingly helped my score bump up a little every time, as I have a much larger credit limit."

Other higher-than-Santa credit consumers say obtaining credit, but not using it, really is a key to great FICO scores. "My credit score last month stood at 806 without any installment loans, which are known to further increase credit score," says Carl Seidman, a financial advisor in Chicago. "With this high credit rating, I recently secured a 3.875% mortgage rate for a new condo. As a small business owner, I can use my lines of credit, which now total over $151,000, to fund my small business."

Seidman says he has amassed millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points through credit card promotions, brokerage accounts, airlines and hotel programs. "I use credit card promotions as opportunities to request significant lines of credit," Seidman adds. "Building and enhancing lines of credit without using them lowers the availability-to-debt ratio, which is one of the leading drivers of a high credit score."