What is the Highest Credit Score Possible?
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The highest credit score for any given credit scoring model is typically somewhere around 850, and if you have ever hit this mark, even for a moment, count yourself a rare financial creature.1 Is it even possible to hit this level of perfection in the realm of credit worthiness? Yes, some people have done it.2 Is attaining the highest credit score a worthwhile goal? Probably not.
What is having the highest credit score good for?
There is no prize, no special deal and not even any lasting bragging right to attaining the highest credit score.
That’s because credit scores are a snapshot in time, and can change with regular financial behaviors such as opening new credit lines or loans, paying off loans, taking on debt, and making on-time payments (or missing them) as time goes on. Those who have a high credit score will probably see their credit score change slightly if they apply for new credit, for example, when an issuer makes a hard inquiry on their credit report to check their creditworthiness. But take heart – when you have a high credit score, you’re more likely to be approved for that application anyway.
Also, bear in mind that there is more than one credit scoring system. It’s highly unlikely you would have a perfect score from more than one of these algorithms at the same time.
What does it take to get the best credit score?
A credit score measures how likely you are to repay money you’ve borrowed. This can only be demonstrated over time. How long does it take to hit the highest credit score? Since credit payment histories can go back seven years — and 10 in the case of bankruptcy — you may need a seven-year time period.3 Plus, any accounts in your name are included in your credit report for as long as they stay open and active, so these continuously contribute to your score.4
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During this time, some of the most important positive behaviors include maintaining a good credit utilization rate and making on-time payments to your accounts every month. In the case of credit utilization, that can mean using roughly less than one-third of your available credit at any given time, since a credit utilization rate is considered in the scoring calculation. Using a lot more than that could signal trouble and lower your score.4 You should also make every payment on time each month — not missing a single payment because of an address change or a misfiled statement. Of course, you should be doing all of these things as a matter of course in maintaining and improving a good credit score.
Does having a perfect credit score matter?
Nobody is really expecting perfection, so the quest for the highest credit score possible isn’t really necessary to be creditworthy to lenders.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t aim high. If you’re thinking about reaching a certain number, you’re either looking to improve your credit behaviors (which is a good thing) or already maintaining a high credit score (which is also a good thing).