What is the Highest Credit Score? The Benefits & How to Achieve It

ByG. Dautovic
December 29, 2021

A credit score is the figure representing the level of risk a person poses to a lender or financial organization if it decides to give them a loan. Credit scores are measured on a numerical scale from 300 to 850. The higher your credit score, the better.

Statistics suggest that 1.2% of Americans have a top credit score in the FICO credit score range. Transunion’s highest credit score is the same. Generally speaking, if you have a rating of over 670 with any credit reporting agency, you have a good credit score.

The Benefits of Having a Great Credit Score

If you are applying for a loan or credit card, or looking to buy a house, for example, lenders will analyze and evaluate your credit history based on the credit score chart before deciding whether to approve your application. In most cases, lenders will reserve the best offers and rates for customers with good credit scores.

If you have the highest credit score possible, you will be able to access the broadest range of financial products and take advantage of preferential rates when borrowing money.

If you have a low credit score, you may find it difficult to borrow money. If your rating is very low, you may not meet the lender's requirements, so your application could be rejected. On the other hand, if you do manage to get a credit card or loan, the interest rates will be higher.

What’s the Highest Credit Score Possible?

If you’re looking to improve your credit score, you may be asking questions like, ‘What’s the highest credit score you can have?’ or ‘How high can a credit score go?’ 

The most commonly used credit scoring ranges run from 300 to 850, meaning that 850 is the best credit score. This figure represents the highest Transunion credit score, the highest FICO score, and the highest credit score possible with Equifax.

Experian’s Credit Score

Experian, the third reporting agency, has a slightly different credit score range than FICO, Transunion, and Equifax. The highest credit score available with Experian is 999.

What Is a Very Good Credit Score?

As mentioned, just over 1% of Americans have the top scores with all three agencies. While you may not have the max credit score, a very good credit score will still grant you access to preferential rates and increase your chances of being able to borrow money or use premium financial products.

FICO credit scores are classified as follows:

  • Exceptional: 800-850
  • Very good: 740-799
  • Good: 670-739
  • Fair: 580-669
  • Poor: 300-579

According to the FICO credit score chart, the lowest and highest credit scores are 300 and 850. If you have a score of 740 or over, you have a very good credit rating.

How to Improve Your Credit Score

It may not be possible for everyone to achieve the highest credit score ever, but there are ways to improve your credit score. Steps include:

Making Payments on Time

Keeping up with repayment is essential to achieve the highest possible credit score. According to FICO, payment history accounts for 35% of the overall credit score, and never missing a payment means safely improving your score. If you are more than 30 days late with a payment, creditors will likely contact the credit bureaus, and your credit score will decrease. Late payments can stay on your record for up to seven years. During this time, you may find it challenging to borrow money.

Keep a Close Eye on Your Credit

The second most important factor for credit bureaus is the amount of credit you have compared to the amount you use. This is known as your credit utilization ratio, and it accounts for the next 30% of your credit score. If you want to reach the excellent credit score range, it’s vital to reduce the amount of credit you use and keep it below 30%. The closer the figure is to 0%, the better your credit score.

Don’t Make Too Many Credit Applications

When you apply for a credit card or loan, the lender will check your credit history through a hard credit inquiry, which will appear on your personal report. FICO suggests that you can lose up to 5 points on the credit chart for every inquiry. Try to limit the number of applications you submit to improve your score.

Check for Errors

Errors on credit reports can affect credit scores. If you have a low score, or your rating is not as high as you anticipated, review the report for mistakes. During the pandemic, customers could check their credit reports for free every week; ordinarily, you get one free report from the agencies per year.

Build up Your Credit History

Your credit history accounts for 15% of your credit score. The further back your ability to borrow money and pay it back goes, the higher your score will be.

Avoid Canceling Cards

If you don’t use your cards frequently, resist the temptation to cancel them. Keeping cards active will help you build up your credit history, which will work in your favor.

Who Has the Highest Credit Score?

Data from VantageScore suggests that the average credit score in the US was 697 in July 2021. According to FICO, the average credit score reached 716 in 2021. Nearly 63% of Americans have a credit score of 700-850, and 8.4% of people have a score below 550.

As mentioned, less than 2% of Americans have the highest credit score limit of 850 with FICO, Transunion, and Equifax.

People who are most likely to have the best credit scores have these factors in common:

  • Perfect payment record
  • Few new credit inquiries
  • Low credit utilization ratio
  • Long history of using and paying back credit

The Importance of a Top Credit Score

There are several key benefits of having a high credit score. If you are working towards the highest credit score, here are some of the reasons why it’s important to keep going:

  • Lower interest rates and fees for loans and mortgages: If you want to borrow money, you will have access to lower interest rates if you have an excellent credit score.
  • More options: With a very good or exceptional credit score, a wider range of lenders and products will be available to you.
  • Access to deals and incentives: Some incentives offered by credit card companies, for example, cash back on purchases or 0% offers, are only available to customers with top credit scores.

Lower premiums: In some cases, a good credit score can help you save money on premiums, for example, auto insurance.

Summary

With most credit bureaus, the highest credit score possible is 850; the only exception is Experian, whose top credit score is 999. Very few people have the perfect credit score, but it is possible to improve your rating and move into the ‘exceptional’ or ‘very good’ ranges. Meeting deadlines, a long credit history, and low credit utilization rate are the main factors to keep an eye on.

FAQ

Does anyone have an 850 credit score?

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Yes. According to FICO, around 1.2% of the US population has a credit score of 850.


What is a 740 credit score considered?

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A credit score of 740 is considered a very good score on the FICO, TransUnion, and Equifax credit charts.

Can I buy a house with a 780 credit score?

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“Is 780 a good credit score for buying a house,” you ask? A score of 780 is an above-average rating, which means you should benefit from preferential mortgage offers and rates. Try to increase your score as much as possible before starting your search for a new home.

How do I get my credit score to 800?

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To increase your score to exceptional (i.e., at least 800), you should ensure that you don’t miss any payments, minimize applications for new credit, and try to keep your credit utilization ratio low.

What percentage of the population has a credit score over 825?

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FICO data suggests that 23.3% of US adults have a credit score of 800-850.

What is the average credit score in America?

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Statistics from FICO suggest that the average credit score for America in 2021 is 716.

About author

I have always thought of myself as a writer, but I began my career as a data operator with a large fintech firm. This position proved invaluable for learning how banks and other financial institutions operate. Daily correspondence with banking experts gave me insight into the systems and policies that power the economy. When I got the chance to translate my experience into words, I gladly joined the smart, enthusiastic Fortunly team.

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