What is the Highest Credit Score? The Benefits & How to Achieve It
A high credit score provides various benefits to borrowers, and getting a loan with favorable terms from lenders is one of them. Yet, having the highest possible credit score may not be necessary to get the best mortgage or other loan conditions.
What Is the Highest Credit Score?
The highest credit score according to the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) standard is 850. The score is usually calculated on the basis of credit reports from three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, and it falls into one of the following ranges:
- Exceptional: 800-850
- Very good: 740-799
- Good: 670-739
- Fair: 580-669
- Poor: 300-579
Note that FICO doesn’t figure out a person’s credit score; it barely provides advice based on statistics. Based on certain metrics, borrowers with the maximum credit score of 850 are way less risky than those on the other side of the FICO range.
If you are among the latter, there are many measures you can take to improve your credit score, like increasing your credit limit and taking a credit-builder loan.
Factors Affecting the Credit Score
FICO and other credit-scoring companies refer to the credit report to calculate the score. They typically have different scoring models that may prioritize the same factors differently. Depending on the model the bureau uses, you’ll know how likely you are to get the top credit score.
FICO weighs the following elements in declining order:
Payment history is evidence of how you handled your past payments for the duration of your credit. Since this factor shows your repayment habits, FICO weighs it above all others, making your payment history 35% of your total score. If you’ve overall maintained good credit habits and paid your loans on time in the past, you shouldn’t worry about a few occasional late payments.
Credit Utilization Rate
Also called the credit utilization ratio, this rate indicates how much credit you use compared to your available credit. Let’s say that your available credit is $20,000 and your balance is $5,000. That makes your utilization rate 25%.
You should keep your credit utilization rate low; the closer to zero, the better. If you're wondering why your credit score dropped, the high utilization ratio may be the main culprit. It accounts for about 30% of your total credit score.
Credit History Length
In short, it makes a big difference whether you pay off credit for a year or 20 years. The longer you have credit, the more likely you are to get the highest credit score. And if you haven’t defaulted or made other big mistakes during that time, it should lead lenders to the conclusion that you’ll be an exemplary borrower in the future, too.
New Credit Inquiries
Even though each new credit inquiry usually only takes five points off your credit score, applying for credit is often a sign of risk. According to statistics, people who have over six inquiries on their credit report are eight times more likely to go bankrupt than those who have none.
If you have managed different credit accounts in the past and did it well, creditors and lenders will be more likely to give you a credit card or loan. Your credit mix accounts for around 10% of your total credit score.
How To Obtain the Best Possible Credit Score
While it is great to strive towards building the highest possible credit score, you should remember that most people never succeed in doing so. Only 1.6% of consumers have ever been able to get an 850 score, according to reports from Experian.
Still, there are some habits that most customers who boast the highest FICO credit scores share.
Here are some of them:
Don’t Miss Your Payments
Paying bills on time indicates that you keep your expenses under control at all times. Getting an excellent credit score would be difficult if you missed payments. According to statistics, 96% of clients with high credit scores never missed a payment.
You should be fine even if you are a little late because creditors typically report late payments to the three credit reporting agencies only when you’re over 30 days late. If you have a history of forgetting to pay your bills on time, consider enrolling in autopay or using a bill management app to prevent this from happening.
Keep the Utilization Ratio at the Minimum
Getting the best credit score possible is easier if your credit utilization rate is low. It would help to keep the ratio between 0% and 7%, but if that is difficult to manage, try to keep your credit rate below 30%.
Avoid Multiple Hard Credit Checks in a Short Time
Applying for a loan too often is likely to hurt your credit score. Even though hard credit checks remain on your credit report for two years at most, many overlapping hard checks are sure to prevent you from getting the highest credit score available.
Don’t Close Old Accounts
Keeping your accounts open is also a good practice, because clients with outstanding FICO scores typically have their accounts open for around 11 years. Remember to maintain some activity on your old accounts because inactive ones may get closed by default after a while.
Review Your Credit Reports Regularly
Review credit reports from the three principal credit bureaus at least once a year. Mistakes tend to happen, and they can hurt your credit score, so it’s best to be aware of potential mishaps. Generally, you can view each credit report for free once a year.
High Credit Score Benefits
Many consumers who achieve a stellar credit score never become aware of the feat they accomplished. This fact may not come as a surprise considering that 20% of Americans aged between 20 and 29 don’t even know their scores.
Even if you get an 850, you are unlikely to get better terms than clients with an 800 because most lenders treat these consumers equally because their scores are in the same range.
So, you will enjoy the following benefits if your score is anywhere near the highest credit score limit:
- Lower interest rates: Borrowers with excellent credit scores get the lowest interest rates, which may save them thousands of dollars over the life of a loan. Moreover, they are more likely to get approved for personal loans, mortgages, auto loans, and other types of loans than applicants with poor credit scores.
- Higher amounts: Clients with the maximum possible FICO score can get larger loans. Plus, even though clients with low credit scores can get credit cards, those with exemplary scores enjoy higher credit card limits.
- More favorable insurance premiums: Companies selling insurance may charge you less if you have an excellent score.
- Finding a job tends to be easier: Some companies run a comprehensive background check on job applicants, which includes their credit reports. Thus, a perfect credit score may help you get the job you desire.
- Lower security deposits: People with high credit scores who are buying a new apartment are likely to pay a lower deposit than those with lower scores.
Now that you know what the highest credit score you can get is, you’ve likely learned that you don’t need to pursue an 850 FICO score to get the most favorable terms from lenders and credit card issuers.
An excellent score, which falls in the range between 800 and 850, proves that you’re an exemplary borrower, so any lender will likely give you a loan. According to some accounts, it shouldn’t matter even if your score is somewhat lower, down to 780. People with perfect FICO scores usually get the same offers and rates as all of those consumers with credit scores that fall in the excellent range.
However, if your score is lower than that, a dedicated app for credit boosting may help you build your score up.
How high can your credit score go?
Depending on the FICO scoring model, your score can go as high as 900. Still, it won’t make much of a difference since you’re considered a low-risk client as soon as you reach an excellent credit score range.
Is it possible to get an 850 credit score?
Yes, it is. However, getting the highest credit score is difficult, and even those who get the 850 score don’t maintain it for long. According to Experian’s research, only 1.6% of clients ever get the highest credit score.
How many people have an 800 credit score?
According to FICO’s research, around 23% of the creditworthy population has a credit score of at least 800.
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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