What Is the Highest Achievable FICO Score?
Your highest credit score is 850 on the most used scales. For the general version of FICO and VantageScore, the scale ranges from 300 to 850, and lenders generally consider the best credit above 720.
Even if you manage to get the highest credit score possible, you are unlikely to maintain it month after month. Scores fluctuate because they are a snapshot of your credit profile, which changes over time.
The widely used FICO 8 scoring model and VantageScore 3.0 are both 300-850 scales. Credit scoring company FICO says about 1% of its scores reach 850. VantageScore spokesman Jeff Richardson says less than 1% of its credit scores are accurate.
The way people get the best scores is to follow good credit habits consistently and for a long time. As you might expect, older users are more likely to score higher than younger ones.
But scores fluctuate because they are a snapshot of your credit profile. Even if you manage to get the highest credit score, you are unlikely to maintain it month after month.
What are the benefits of having a high credit score?
Thankfully, you don’t need a perfect score to qualify for some of the best rates on loans and mortgages. Scores in the 700s can qualify you for great interest rates from lenders. Get your score anywhere above 760 and you will probably be offered the best rates in the market.
Why like this? This is because banks and credit card companies pay less attention to the specific numbers on your credit reports and are more concerned about the wide range of credit scores where your scores fall.
For example, FICO score bands look like this.
- Poor: 300-579
- Fair: 580-669
- Good: 670-739
- Very good: 740-79
Improving your scores from 740 to 790 will have little effect on your interest rate offers as both scores fall in the “very good” range. But raising your score from 650 to 700 could mean offering a lower interest rate.
If you want to improve your scores and get as close to 850 as possible, you need to understand why your score is going up or down.
Key Factors Affecting Your Scores: FICO vs. VantageScore
While there are differences between the VantageScore and FICO scoring models, both make it clear that some factors are more effective than others.
For both models, the payment history is the most important factor, followed by the total amount of credit owed to you (also referred to as a percentage of the credit limit used and the total balance/loan).
FICO uses percentages to indicate the importance of each factor in your credit score.
|Length of credit history||15%|
VantageScore doesn’t assign a specific percentage of factors but indicates that some factors are more effective than others. This is how your VantageScore breaks down.
|Payment history||Extremely influential|
|Age and type of credit||Highly influential|
|Percent of credit limit used||Highly influential|
|Total balances/debt||Moderately influential|
|Recent credit behavior and inquiries||Less influential|
|Available credit||Less influential|