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FICO and The 800 Credit Score: What it's Worth?

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It’s the holy grail of FICO credit scores: the seemingly bullet-proof credit score of 800 and above. For an over-achiever it’s a badge. For the credit-proud, a testament of hard work. But…is it worth pursuing? 

First up: What does an 800 credit score mean?

An 800 credit score with FICO (the Fair Isaac Cooperation) is practically the credit score dream. A credit score of 800 will get you into the “exceptional” category of credit scores as it’s near the top of the credit score range (which goes from 300 to 850). And having an excellent credit score can come with some pretty great perks (which we dive into below). But first, let’s talk about what you can do to build that good credit.

Wondering how to get a credit score of 800+?

To see what goes into the credit scoring process for a high credit score like an 800+ score, we combed through sources like FICO’s blog.

  • Paying on time matters: FICO says people with high credit scores have a history of making monthly payments on time (so late payments are a no-go if you want a high credit score). Plus, payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO score. It’s kind of a big deal. 
  • Debt vs credit matters: The ratio of your debt compared to the amount of credit that’s available accounts for up 30% of your FICO score. When credit utilization becomes lopsided (as in using up a lot of your available credit), you can weaken your score. Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, found that people with excellent credit scores (i.e. 800-plus) use on average less than 10% of their available credit total and on each individual credit card. 
  • How long you’ve had credit matters: Your credit history is a track record, and FICO says higher credit scores tend to be linked to longer histories. It’s why closing an older credit card account could have negative consequences; it essentially shortens your credit history. 

On this last point, the credit bureau TransUnion has mentioned that in order to begin building credit earlier, you can be added as an authorized user on a parent’s credit card. Just keep in mind that there could be risks associated with being an authorized user, like if the account holder has a poor credit history.

Learn more: What You Need to Know About Being An Authorized User On a Credit Card.

How do you keep an 800 credit score?

Credit scores change because of things you can control, like applying for a new credit card, which could impact your credit portfolio, just as closing credit card accounts can, too. 

But credit scores can also be affected by things you don’t have control over, like fraud. A good way to watch out for fraud or keep errors off of your credit reports is through credit monitoring:

You’re entitled to receive a free credit report from each of the credit bureaus - Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian - once every 12 months. Credit monitoring is also a good personal finance habit to do no matter what.

What life is like with an 800 credit score

In addition to bragging rights, having and maintaining an 800+ credit score could come with some additional benefits: you’re considered to have an excellent credit score. As such, lenders are more likely to approve a loan or credit account, as well as offer you lower interest rates.

It’s possible that you also could receive a higher credit limit as a result of your excellent credit score, and qualify for top rewards credit cards that let you earn cash back and/or miles on your purchases. And with more credit card options, you’ll also have more options when it comes to cards’ annual fees (or no annual fee).

 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.