My credit score was something that never interested me much when I was young.
I guess maybe it was because I knew I had a good credit score already, since I had been using credit cards very early on.
But I always wondered what the highest credit score possible was!
Well, in short, if we are looking at FICO credit scores, the highest credit score you can get is 850.
If you don’t know much about credit scores, keep reading! Because 850 is probably just a random number to you, and you’ll want to learn more about credit scores and what they mean.
The first thing you need to know is this: There are many types of credit scores. The two most popular credit scores are Vantage Score and FICO score.
I’ll break down both of them for you, but know that roughly 90% of lenders use FICO as their source of credit scores. So essentially, when people talk about credit scores, they usually are referring to FICO by default.
FICO Credit Scoring
Here is the credit score range for FICO
With FICO, the highest credit score you can have is 850.
Vantage scores are a little trickier to understand, because they have 3 versions of it. The most recent are Vantage Score 2.0 and Vantage Score 3.0 (which is the latest edition).
The big difference between 2.0 and 3.0 is that Vantage Score 2.0 had a credit score range from 501 – 990. They have since changed their credit score scaled to match up with FICO in their Vantage 3.0 model, and now their scale is 300-850 (for Vantage 3.0). That’s nice, because it’s closer to FICO scoring and can be more easily compared with less confusion.
Below is a chart that shows the relative conversion of Vantage 2.0 credit scores and Vantage 3.0 credit scores, courtesy of vantagescore.com
So really, since both FICO and Vantage are the two most popular credit scoring agencies, and they both use 850 as their highest credit score achievable, I think we can safely say that 850 is the highest credit score you can have.
To fall in to the “good” credit score range, which is roughly 660-719, it doesn’t take too much work (assuming your credit isn’t broken!)
You’ll want to have a few different types of credit and continually use them and pay them off regularly. Along with keeping your amount of monies borrowed low, you will quickly build up a great credit score. With consistent good credit habits, you’ll fall into the excellent range. From there, it will be a slower climb to the top – the ever elusive perfect credit score of 850.
When you’re young and starting out, the best way to build a high credit score fast is to start with credit cards. Use these credit cards every month and pay off the full amount every month on time.
I like paying my credit cards with online banking. It’s really easy and I can always pay earlier if I get paranoid about missing a payment. Paying your credit card bill earlier doesn’t hurt you in any way so if you’re paranoid like me, then do it up!
Along with a few credit cards, consider taking out a loan for school or a vehicle. Having a variety of credit will help get you a high credit score today and in the long run.
There are people who strategically take out loans in order to increase their credit score. You may or may not want to get aggressive about building great credit while you’re young, but a strong credit score sooner than later will always be beneficial to you.
Of course, you want to make sure the loans you take out needs to be paid back fully and on schedule. The biggest thing that will hurt your credit score is late payments. Avoid being late at all costs!
To get a credit score of 850 is …. well, nearly impossible. Only about 1% of Americans have a credit score of 850. It’s actually really impressive.
The biggest reason why it’s hard to get an 850 credit score is because of the time it takes to get there. A lot of people have excellent credit habits and deserve a 850 score. But to actually get there, you need to show the credit reporting bureaus a LONG HISTORY of excellent credit behaviour. I’m talking decades of history.
It’s very rare to see a youngish person with a perfect credit score.
But anyways, I found a pretty cool Youtube video of a dude explaining what it takes to get a perfect credit score of 850.
Basically, to summarize the video, you need to have many types of credit (mortgage, credit cards, student loans, car loans, lines of credit, etc), basically never be late at paying any of them off, have a very low balance on the revolving credit available to you, and you need to have some types of credit for at least 20-30 years.
So yikes! …. it’s going to take a few long decades to reach the elusive perfect credit score.
One thing Dave in the video noted was that if your credit score was 760 or better, it doesn’t really make a difference in terms of getting cheaper interest rates when you apply for loans for a car or mortgage. So really, a credit score of 760 is basically the same as a credit score of 820, in the eyes of a lender.
He did note that you could receive cheaper insurance rates if you had a higher credit score. So if you’re super thrifty and frugal, getting the highest credit score you can may be something you’ll want to pursue regardless of how high your credit score is right now.
I find it fascinating that a lot of people don’t know what their credit score is! I can see why some people don’t regularly check it, but to not have a clue what it is is mind blowing to me!
I guess maybe it’s because they don’t feel they need to use credit often and don’t bother with it, or they don’t know how important credit is to making so many things in life cheaper.
If you want to check your credit score, you’ll have to pay for it. Unfortunately, nobody truly gives you a free credit score (not that I know of at least).
If I was to recommend a place to check your credit score, I would say myfico.com would be a good place. They are, after all, the ones who created the FICO Scoring system.
If you’re serious about achieving the best credit score possible, no matter where your credit is at now, you should sign up for a credit report/credit score service that will continually give you reports of your progress.
Whether you’re looking to rebuild your credit or just get a high credit score, you need real data to track your progress. There are a bunch of services that can do this for you, but again, I think myfico.com is a great place to get this info.
Anyways, what’s your credit score like and are you actively trying to get the best credit score possible? Let me know in the comments below!