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. Approximately 1% of FICO scores and fewer than 1% of VantageScore scores hit 850. (FYI, income doesn’t play a role in determining your credit score.) 

So how exactly did these people achieve an 850?

There’s no single way of knowing, but individuals with a perfect score tend to share a few characteristics. According to Experian, people with FICO scores of 850 have an average of 6.4 credit cards and carry an average debt of $3,025. 

There’s also about 22 percent of Americans who aren’t perfect, but are pretty close – those in the 800 club, who are considered “exceptional” on the FICO range.

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.

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 score above 760.

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.

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:

  • Pay every bill on time – set up autopay or monthly reminders so you remember to make the payments.
  • Keep balances low on your credit cards – under 30 percent, but preferably lower – and pay them off each month.
  • Monitor your score closely over time using a personal finance app like Clarity Money.

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.
  • Don’t forget to check your credit report regularly; this will help you spot and dispute errors and identity theft. You can get yours for free at AnnualCreditReport.com each year.

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Marcus by Goldman Sachs® and Clarity Money® are both brands of Goldman Sachs Bank USA.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.

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