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What Is the Highest Credit Score?

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What we’ll cover:

  • 850 is the highest credit score, but you may still qualify for the best interest rates with a 760+ score
  • Approximately 1% of FICO scores and less than 1% of VantageScore scores hit 850
  • With a higher credit score, you may get better credit approval and lower loan interest rates

For the major credit scoring models – FICO and VantageScore – 850 is the highest credit score you can achieve.

But is it actually possible to earn a perfect 850? Or is this score the stuff of legends?

The verdict: It is possible, though rare, to achieve a perfect credit score. (FYI, income doesn’t play a role in determining your credit score.)

Outside of the "perfect" credit score, though, FICO considers any score 800 and above to be "exceptional."

While aspirational goals are fine, the good news is that practically speaking, you do not need a perfect credit score. 

If you’re a member of the 800 club, first of all... well done. You should also know that generally speaking, lenders don’t distinguish scores within this range.

So whether you have an 801 or 850 doesn’t typically make a difference to lenders.

What are the credit score ranges?

The ranges for FICO scores and VantageScores differ slightly, so we’ll cover both!

For FICO scores, an “exceptional” score is defined as any score from 800-850, with “very good” scores being 740-799.

“Good” FICO scores are 670-739, “fair” scores are 580-669, and at the bottom, we’ve got “very poor” scores which are 300-579.

For VantageScore ranges, their tippy-top scores are called “excellent” and include scores of 781-850. Next up are “good” scores from 661-780 and “fair” scores are 601-660.

A “poor” VantageScore is anywhere from 500-600, and “very poor” scores are 300-499.

You can still qualify for things like credit cards and competitive deals on loans with a good-to-excellent score.

Do you need a perfect credit score?

While aspirational goals are fine, the good news is that, practically speaking, you do not need a perfect credit score. 

You can still qualify for things like credit cards and competitive deals on loans with a good-to-excellent score. And you may still be able to qualify for the best interest rates with a very good-to-excellent credit score.

Here are some other potential benefits of having a high credit score:

  • Higher chance of getting approved for new lines of credit – like mortgages and auto loans.
  • Lower interest rates on loans, which could save you thousands of dollars over a loan’s lifetime.
  • Lower premiums for auto insurance.
  • Potentially higher credit limit.
  • Qualifying for the best rewards credit cards (like those that earn cash back).

Tips for building the highest credit score you can have

Rather than fixating on 850 as the destination, think of building good habits to increase your credit score over time. There are certain things you can do to improve your score, as well as things to avoid because they might ding your rating.

Here are some guidelines to consider:

The Dos:

  • Payment history: Pay every bill on time (that means no late payments) – set up autopay or monthly reminders so you remember to make the payments.
  • Credit utilization: Keep credit card balances low – a credit utilization rate under 30 percent, but preferably lower, is generally recommended.
  • Monitor your credit score and check your report regularly to help spot and dispute any errors. You can access your credit report for free every 12 months at AnnualCreditReport.com.

The Do Nots:

  • Avoid applying for new lines of credit frequently, as hard inquiries dent your score.
  • Avoid closing old credit accounts unless they have annual fees – old accounts lengthen your credit history, which is a positive.
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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.