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What Is the Highest Credit Score Possible? [Plus How To Score 850!]

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Jessica Merritt
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Jessica Merritt

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A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little ca...
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Chris Dong

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Chris is a freelance writer and editor with a focus on timely travel trends, points and miles, hot new hotels, and all things that go (he’s a proud aviation geek and transit nerd). Formerly full time ...
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If you’re seeking the perfect credit score, you’ll have to aim high. While about a quarter of Americans have excellent credit, few achieve the ultimate highest score for credit.

Let’s look at the highest credit rating score possible, how you can get there, and what happens when you hit the high score.

What’s a Perfect Credit Score Number?

The perfect credit score number is 850. The highest FICO credit score you can have is 850, and the highest possible VantageScore is 850, too. That said, anything over 800 is basically perfect. But if you’re going for the ultimate high score in the game of credit, your target is 850.

Shooting for perfect credit — or something close to it — is a worthy goal, as it shows lenders you’re financially responsible. A high credit score can help you access great terms on the best credit products, such as credit cards with excellent rewards and benefits. It can also help you save a lot of money on interest, as you should qualify for the lowest rates when you have excellent credit.

Credit Score Ranges
FICO credit scores range from 300 to 850. Image Credit: Upgraded Points

Can You Have a 900 Credit Score?

A 900 credit score sounds like a new high score — but it’s not real. An 850 is the highest achievable credit score on both FICO or VantageScore credit scoring models commonly used for lending decisions today. 

Hot Tip: There are auto and bank card industry FICO score versions that range from 250 to 900, but these aren’t the scores lenders look at for credit cards.

How To Get an 850 Credit Score

For most people, it’s a long and boring road to an 850 credit score. It basically boils down to using credit responsibly. That means paying off your bills each month on time without using too much of your available credit. You’ll have to keep it up for roughly a few decades — no small feat.

These are a few of the things you can do to get a perfect credit score:

  • Avoid any negatives. Consumers with an 850 credit score typically have no missed payments, collection accounts, or derogatory information on their credit reports. Be sure to make all of your payments on time and regularly check your credit report for errors, particularly derogatory accounts.
  • Maintain a low credit utilization. According to FICO, 4.1% is the average revolving credit utilization for consumers with 850 scores. The average credit balance is about $13,000, not including mortgage balances.
  • Keep old accounts open. High credit scorers have a 30-year-old average age of their oldest account.
  • Open new credit accounts cautiously. FICO reports about 10% of high scorers had 1 or more inquiries within the past year and about 25% had opened new credit accounts in the same time span.

Hot Tip: It doesn’t always take decades to get a perfect credit score. If you are added as an authorized user on an old credit card in good standing, your credit rating should reflect the credit history of that account.

How Many People Have a Perfect Credit Score?

A perfect 850 credit score is possible, but a feat not many people have achieved. About 1.6% of the U.S. scorable population has an 850 credit score.

Percent of Americans in each Credit Score Range
Nearly a quarter of Americans have excellent credit scores of 800 or higher. Image Credit: Upgraded Points

While few people have an absolutely perfect credit score of 850, 23.3% — nearly a quarter — of Americans have a credit score higher than 800. Reaching an 800 score requires great credit habits, but it’s far more achievable than a bulletproof 850.

What Can You Do With an 850 Credit Score?

So you hit the high score of 850, what happens? Don’t expect the credits to roll and get keys to the bank as if you’re playing a video game! But you can access great credit products

The benefits of an 850 score aren’t that different from the benefits of excellent credit. Sure, you do pick up a new bragging right once you roll from 849 to 850, but ultimately, you can access most credit products with excellent credit — no perfect 850 score needed.

The benefits of an 850 credit score include approvals for most credit products and access to the best terms, such as the lowest interest rates available to the best customers. That translates to:

  • Approvals for the best credit cards, such as those that offer the highest rates of rewards and the most valuable benefits
  • Lower interest rates on credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, and more, which can offer huge savings any time you need to access credit
  • Lower insurance premiums if you live in a state with credit-based insurance rates
  • Waived or lowered security deposits for apartments, utilities, and cell phones

However, you don’t necessarily have to go all the way to 850 for these benefits — just getting to an excellent credit score is likely to grant you access to the best credit opportunities.

Excellent credit — a FICO score of 800 or higher — means you have a credit score that’s far above the average score for other U.S. consumers. Lenders can see that you’re a trustworthy borrower and you have a good chance of approval for most credit products.

Final Thoughts

It’s a fun but wholly unnecessary goal to achieve the highest credit score of 850. Getting it is likely to take years of practicing responsible credit, which can be good for your financial life. But once you achieve excellent credit, you’ll already have access to basically all of the benefits of a perfect credit score.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the highest credit score in the U.S.?

The highest credit score you can achieve in the U.S. is 850.

Do you start with a perfect credit score?

You don’t start with a perfect credit score. You’ll start out with a fairly low credit score and can work up from there.

Is there such a thing as a 900 credit score?

There’s not a 900 credit score, at least not in traditional credit scoring. There are FICO auto and bank card scores with a range from 250 to 900, but generally, the credit score consumers are concerned with only goes to 850.

Which credit score band has the highest percentage of people?

The excellent credit score range — 800 to 850 — has the highest percentage of consumers at 23.3%. It’s followed closely by very good credit — 750 to 799 — which has 23.1% of people.

How can I build a high credit score?

You can build a high credit score by practicing responsible credit habits over time, such as paying your bills on time, avoiding derogatory marks, and maintaining low balances.

What is the perfect credit score to buy a house?

Most mortgage lenders will want you to have at least a 620 FICO credit score to qualify for a conventional mortgage, but an excellent credit score of 800 or higher will help to get you the best rates and terms.

Jessica Merritt's image

About Jessica Merritt

A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little cash as possible.

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