What Is The Highest Credit Score?
An outstanding credit score opens many doors. Aside from unlocking the best borrowing conditions, it is favorable for other spheres of life. Banks, recruiters, insurance companies, and landlords look at the indicator to assess applicants. Use our guide to achieve a result that will impress them. The figure you view as the highest credit score may not be the right target.
In the US, the most common evaluation systems are FICO and VantageScore. Both rely on a similar scale. Climbing to the very top is not only challenging — it is largely unnecessary, as lenders price their best products for a specific range. Our guide will provide you with the most reasonable credit boosting strategy.
A tiny fraction of the population achieves the max credit rating, and you can still get the best deals with less. What really matters is your ability to raise and maintain a particular total. Here is everything you need to know, from the numbers to the methods.
What is the Highest Credit Score Possible?
Both scoring methodologies rely on a scale from 300 to 850. Different versions exist, and the latest ones are FICO 10 and VantageScore 4.0. Additionally, there are specific assessments for industries. For instance, FICO for auto loans has a different range, where the 900 credit score is the ceiling.
The best results require good and consistent financial habits. Be patient, as they take time. 850, the highest FICO score in most cases, is difficult to reach. In comparison with 800, the benefits are also questionable. Find out more below.
According to FICO, just over 1% of all consumers ever get to 850. With VantageScore, the official figures are even lower. Generally, anything over 720 is viewed by lenders as excellent. Scoring at least 800 gives you the best conditions and interest rates. This is why further growth may not be necessary. While 850 is the highest score, anything over 800 already unlocks the best terms.
Another point to remember is that scores are fluid. They fluctuate all the time along with your credit profile. Therefore, if you manage to reach the top credit score, do not expect it to remain static whatever you do.
Benefits of High Credit Score
On average, just 1 in 100 Americans achieves the highest credit score possible. You may be surprised, but the benefits of growing from 800 to 850 are negligible. The reason is simple.
Lending institutions do not price their products for this tiny category of people. This means that climbing from 800 to 850 may not save you any money. And why else would you strive for the biggest number at all?
As you can see, many Americans may be considered as consumers with a perfect record. Every fifth borrower (20.7%) evaluated by FICO had at least 800 in April 2017. VantageScore estimated that 17% of their scores were that high.
How to Get a Perfect Credit Score?
So, what sets consumers with the best credit score apart from the rest? There is nothing extraordinary about their actions. Their strengths include a lengthy history spanning several decades, light use of limits, and rare opening of new accounts. Top factors to achieve 800 and above include:
- age of history (around 25 years);
- total credit card balance of under $3,500.
- the credit utilization ratio of 7% (share of limits used).
- no late payments over the past 7 years.
From here, you may derive strategies for an excellent credit score. While you need over two decades of borrowing records, it does not have to be perfect. Most negative entries are deleted from the record automatically in seven years. Thus, the last late or missed payment should be over 7 years old. Bankruptcy is an exception, as it may linger for 10 years depending on the chapter filed.
Strategies for Raising a Low Score
Aside from waiting for derogatories to disappear, take these measures to get to the max credit score. You may need to reconsider your expenses and financial habits. For the strongest effects, engage as many methods as possible.
1. Timely Payments
35% of the FICO score and 40% of VantageScore depends on timely repayments. If you happen to miss the due date, contact the lender immediately. You should make at least the minimum payment before the start of the next billing cycle and persuade the institution not to report it.
Every lender shares their data with bureaus — usually, a delinquent payment is reported when it is 30 days past due. If you miss your payment by just a few days, they may agree not to report your slip up.
2. Lowering Credit Utilization
This is the proportion between your total balances and total limits, which only applies to revolving credit — i.e., credit cards. The more of your available limit is in use — the higher the rate. Generally, it should be kept under 10%.
3. Diversifying the Credit Mix
The highest scores require experience with different borrowing methods. These are credit cards and installment systems, such as mortgages. However, do not rush to apply for a new loan — you should only do it when you need to. Every time a lender checks your reports, a hard inquiry is left. Multiple inquiries within a short period of time pull the total down.
4. Adding Older Records
If your history is brief, you may request to become an authorized user. This is an additional holder on someone else’s account. Choose an old credit card with an impeccable payment history and minimal utilization rate.
Check and Repair Your Score
One in five Americans has incorrect credit reports. Information accumulated by Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion is the basis of calculation. Mistakes range from misspellings to false derogatories like bankruptcies and delinquent payments. As negative items affect the score for years, removing such errors is imperative.
Repair has two dimensions: professional and DIY. Every US citizen may dispute reporting errors on their own. This requires collecting and checking the information, communicating with lenders, and opening formal disputes with the reporting agencies. The process may take six months or even a year for the most complicated cases. If there are just a couple of mistakes, you could have them removed in over a month. This is because every bureau has 30 days to investigate every claim.
Collecting your own reports is easy. Until April 20, 2022, you can get them once a week from www.annualcreditreport.com. Download the records from all three sources at once and analyze them carefully. Any inaccuracies may be removed if you gather sufficient evidence.
The most efficient way to handle correction is to delegate. Credit repair is a big industry. Companies like Lexington Law offer different service packages for basic, intermediate, and aggressive repair. On average, customers pay a monthly rate of $79-$129.95. Depending on the tier, the provider challenges a certain number of inaccuracies — for example, 15 per billing cycle. Look at the money-back policy, too. For example, Sky Blue will give you a refund if you cancel within the first 90 days, regardless of the reason.
As you can see, 850 is the best score, but you can access the best conditions with less. Lenders view scores of 800 and higher as one category, so consumers with 800, 820 and 850 usually get the same offers. Do not obsess over every single point. It is possible to regard 800 as the perfect credit score as you enter the top-tier group. To reach the threshold, you need good financial habits like paying bills on time and using as little of your limits as possible.
Check the score and collect your reports regularly to be sure the assessment is fair. If it is not, hire a repair company or dispute the errors on your own. Remember that even one missed payment will tarnish your history for seven years. Follow our tips to work on all fronts and get a credit score above 800 as soon as possible. Remember that results are changeable, so your borrowing behavior must be consistent.