On most credit scoring models, the highest credit score possible is 850. To maintain good credit, it’s important to understand how these scoring models work. Your payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score, credit utilization 30%, length of credit history 15%, credit mix 10% and new credit 10%.
But how is it possible to achieve the highest credit score? Only 1.2% of credit-holders in the U.S. can boast of an 850 credit score, according to a 2019 Experian study. Nevertheless, we’ll now delve into how you can be one of them.
Reaching for that Ultimate Credit Score Goal
If you often wonder how to get an 850 credit score, here’s what individuals with high scores have in common:
- High Credit Limit: Your total credit limit is the amount of credit you have across all credit card accounts. The average credit available among U.S. borrowers is $22,751. But more important is how you use your credit; being responsible means not racking up high balances on each card.
- Keep Balances Low: Being in the 850 club doesn’t mean you don’t have debt. Credit affords flexibility, but you shouldn’t spend more than you normally would. Maintaining good spending habits can help increase your credit score and achieve that ultimate goal.
- Track Credit Utilization: Most experts say a utilization rate below 30% is good. To aim for the highest credit score, you’ll want to go lower than that, preferable in single-digit percentages. Utilization, per card and in total, should be about 5% or lower.
- Establish a Mix of Credit: Instead of only credit cards, also having a car loan, mortgage, or other types of credit help. Lenders look upon this favorably. It shows you can manage different types of debts.
- Build a Long Credit History: The length of your credit history is weighed upon strongly by the FICO model, including your oldest account and the average age of your accounts. Don’t close unused/paid-off accounts; it will reduce the average age of your credit history. Ideally, your oldest account will be about 25 to 30 years old. Aim for at least an 11-year average age of your accounts.
- Don’t Apply for New Credit Too Often: A hard inquiry is when a credit card issuer or lender gets your credit report from Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion (the main credit bureaus). The timing here matters. Hard inquiries stay on file for 12 months; sometimes, an inquiry will have no effect, but too many in a short time can have negative consequences.
- No Missed Payments: Failing to make payments on time can cause a significant drop in your credit score. And the missed payment can stay on your credit report for up to seven years. If you have a long history of paying on time, you have a better shot at reaching that 850 milestone.
What Are the Benefits of a Perfect Credit Score?
In theory, the higher your credit score, the easier it is to qualify for the best credit cards and interest rates. But realistically you don’t need an 850 credit score to take advantage. While it’s cool to brag about having a perfect credit score, there won’t be much of a difference whether you’re at 850 or 760.
Importance of Checking Your Credit Report
Fortunately, there are many tools and resources for tracking your credit report. Doing so can let you spot issues such as errors, unauthorized hard inquiries, or information that should no longer be included, such as missed payments that occurred over seven years ago. It’s also important to know how to handle a mistake or negative information on your credit report. The dispute letter process isn’t always the most effective.
American Credit Can Help Boost Your Credit Score
Schedule a free credit consultation to learn how we can help improve your credit score. At American Credit, we use a pre-litigation process and threaten the creditor with legal action if they don’t comply with consumer protection laws. We’re therefore able to achieve a high success rate. If you have more questions on how to get an 850 credit score or need help analyzing your situation and creating a strategy, contact us online or call 855-732-7276.