What Is the Highest Credit Score?

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A high credit score is a great thing to have. But what is the highest credit score, and is reaching it a realistic goal? 

More importantly, is it a goal worth achieving? 

What Is the Highest Credit Score Possible? 

FICO and VantageScore, the two best-known credit rating products, both use scales ranging from 300 to 850. The highest credit score possible is 850.

FICO says that only 1.7% of Americans had earned that elusive 850 score as of April 2023.

The good news, though, is you don’t have to have a perfect credit score or even have a score above 800 to be eligible for the best interest rates and credit card benefits.

The Benefits of Having a High Credit Score

There are quite a few advantages to having a good credit score — though a perfect score won’t get you much more than a high score will (more on that later).

But if you have a good score, here’s what it earns you:

Lower Rates on Mortgages, Car Loans, Insurance

A high credit score will save you money on mortgages, insurance and loans.

The most common term for a fixed-rate mortgage is 30 years, but even shorter mortgages typically last at least a decade. That’s a long time to be paying interest. Having a higher credit score will help you get a lower interest rate. And over the life of your mortgage, that could save you tens of thousands of dollars.

Although on a smaller scale, the same can be said for car loans. As of October 2023 and with an Atlanta-area zip code, Myautoloan.com, an online car loan marketplace, estimates that you could earn an interest rate of 4.68% for a $20,000 loan with an “excellent” credit score. However, if your score is “poor,” your interest rate could jump to over 20%.  


Credit scores can also influence how much you pay for homeowners insurance and your vehicle insurance.

Better Credit Cards

Along with your income and employment history, a high credit rating makes it much more likely that you’ll be approved for the credit card you want. For most people, that means a card with a large credit line, a good interest rate and other benefits.

Those benefits sometimes come in the form of “rewards” such as cash back or points you can use toward travel. According to Experian, it takes a credit score of 670 or better to qualify for the typical rewards card. And as you might imagine, the higher your score, the more valuable the rewards for which you’ll qualify.

Better Rates on Refinancing

One of the most popular reasons to refinance a loan is to get a lower interest rate. If your credit score has improved by 50-100 or more points since you got the loan, your new score could make you eligible for a lower rate and help determine whether refinancing the loan makes sense.

A higher credit score can get you a lower rate on refinancing a car loan, too.

Factors To Consider When Aiming for the Highest Credit Score

So how do you raise your credit score? There are lots of ways to improve your credit score because there are several factors used to calculate it.

Payment History
(how often you pay your creditors on time)
Amounts Owed
(total amount you owe all your creditors)
Length of Credit History
(how long your credit has been established)
Credit Mix
(how many different types of credit you have)
New Credit
(any credit lines you opened within the last two years)
From MyFico.com

Here’s what you can do to improve your scores in each of the areas above.

Payment History: Make Your Payments on Time

Payment history is the biggest determining factor when it comes to credit scores. That means simply paying your bills on time every month. 

Amounts Owed: Keep It Low

Credit utilization (or amounts owed) is the percentage of credit you’re using for all the credit you have available. For example, if you own one credit card with a credit line of $5,000 and you have a balance of $1,000, your credit utilization rate is 20%

Clark strongly recommends keeping your credit utilization under 30%. Better yet, keep it under 10%.


“Thirty [percent] is the target, but also I’d say that’s the ceiling,” Clark says. “It’s very common that someone will have a utilization around 50%, and you’ll think ‘Oh, I’m fine. I’m only using half of the credit that’s been made available to me.’

“But you’re past the comfort zone based on historical averages of when you’re likely to ‘wheeze’ on that credit and maybe get to a point where you can’t make a payment on time.”

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your credit cards. If you have a credit utilization rate higher than 30%, but pay off the entire bill, your number will rebound.

And one way to avoid your credit score “yo-yoing” during months in which you’ve used credit card a lot is by making multiple payments. Even making two monthly payments instead of one can prevent the credit utilization rate from rising above 30%.

Requesting a higher credit line to lower the denominator in the formula can also help.

Length of Credit History: Build Over Time

This factor in your credit score may be the simplest: the age of your credit accounts. If you’ve had your credit cards and mortgages for 15 years and always pay on time, your credit score will be higher than someone with the same accounts and payment history but accounts that are just five years old.

So all you’ll need for this factor is time. And it’s why you should keep old credit card accounts open.

Credit Mix: Add Different Kinds of Credit

Your credit mix refers to different types of credit. Generally, someone who has credit cards, a mortgage and a car loan will do better here than someone who has only credit cards.

To improve your credit mix, you could get a car loan at a low interest rate as Beverly Harzog, a credit card expert for U.S. News & World Report, suggests. You could also take out a small personal loan and pay it back on time. Opening new credit won’t help immediately, but after about six months of paying the loan on time, your score should go up.

New Credit: Limit Your Applications

While your mix of credit is important, you need to remember: Applying for a new credit card or loan will lower your credit score temporarily for a couple of reasons.

First, applying for new credit leads to what’s known as a “hard inquiry.” That’s when a lender or company conducts a check into your credit to determine whether you’re a suitable risk. A hard inquiry usually lowers your score by a few points.

The second reason is that opening a new account shortens the average length of all your credit accounts and thus reduces your credit history score.  


Once you start using a new credit card, if you make all your payments on time and keep your credit utilization low, your score will rebound.

But choose your applications wisely. You will hurt your score with multiple hard inquiries by applying for too many cards too quickly.

When it comes to a mortgage or car loan, you get a little bit of leeway so you can shop for rates without the hard inquiries damaging your credit. Multiple inquiries for a new auto loan or mortgage count as just one hard inquiry if they are conducted in the same time period. FICO and VantageScore both define that period as two weeks.

Why You Shouldn’t Stress Over Reaching the Highest Credit Score Possible

Changing your money habits to achieve a good credit score is important. But reaching 850 is not achievable for everyone — or even necessary.

Clark recommends aiming for 760. That’s the point at which you will begin seeing a lot of the same benefits as someone who has a score of 800 or higher.

Credit card expert Beverly Harzog agrees: “If you can get up to around a 760, you’re going to get the same benefits, the same offers, that someone who has an 840 score is going to get,” she said.

Final Thoughts

Even though 850 is the highest credit score possible, you don’t need it to reap the benefits of a high credit score.

To improve your score, pay your bills on time, keep your credit utilization low, work on building your credit history but be judicious when applying for new credit. And know that even getting to 760 can earn you the best benefits available.