Are you trying to improve your credit score? If so, do you know how high your credit score actually can go?
While achieving perfect credit is difficult, it’s not impossible. We’ll cover a little bit more about attaining the “perfect” credit score and what it usually takes to get there. We’ll also go over how each credit reporting bureau reports your score.
Finally, we’ll offer a few tips you can use to improve your credit score — and come a little closer to perfect.
So, What is the Highest Credit Score?
FICO and VantageScore are the two major credit scoring models, and the highest your credit score can go is up to 850 points on both the FICO and VantageScore scoring models. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the lowest credit score that you can have is 300 for both models.
Each scoring model varies slightly, which means your score may change a bit, depending on who provides it.
Your credit scores come from the major credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Experian and TransUnion use the VantageScore model of scoring, and Equifax uses the FICO Score 8 model.
The average FICO score is 704, according to FICO, and the table below can give you an idea of where the majority of people fall on the spectrum, as well as how that score has changed over time.
Who Determines My Credit Score?
Equifax, Experian and TransUnion help formulate your credit score. Each credit bureau does basically the same thing — it collects information from your lenders and creditors and creates a summary of your credit history, called a credit report.
Lenders and creditors use your credit report to decide whether to extend you credit — and what the terms of that credit will be.
Your credit report may also be used by other companies, such as rental or insurance companies, to help them make risk decisions. For these reasons, it’s important to check your credit reports regularly to ensure that the information is correct.
The items on your credit report make up your credit score from each bureau. Negative credit actions (like missing a credit card payment or declaring bankruptcy) lower your score. Positive credit actions (like paying off a loan or keeping your credit usage low) raise your credit score. Some of the factors that affect your credit score include:
Payment history: Do you pay your bills on time, every time? Or are you guilty of more than one missed payment? Your payment history makes up a significant portion of both your FICO and VantageScore credit scores.
Credit utilization: Credit utilization refers to how much money you put on your credit cards and other credit lines every month relative to the available limit. You have a high credit utilization if you put a lot of money on your credit cards and get closer to the maximum. On the other hand, you have a low credit utilization if you only use a little bit of your available credit. Using too much credit lowers your score because it makes you look like a riskier borrower.
Length (or age) of accounts: Do you have a lot of experience managing and using credit? If so, keep your accounts open. Your credit score will rise over time if you continue to act responsibly with your accounts and wait for them to age.
Credit mix: The strongest credit accounts have multiple types of credit on them. This shows banks and lenders that you’re experienced at managing different credit types. Using a few different types of credit and loans can help you raise your score.
Recent inquiries: Every time you make an inquiry to open a card or loan, your credit takes a small hit. It’s a good idea to avoid opening more cards if you plan to apply for a big loan soon.
Your credit score might vary between bureaus — even if the bureaus use the same scoring model. This is because not every creditor or lender reports to all three agencies. So, for example, let’s say you pay off a student loan. If your bank reports to all three bureaus, all three of your scores will go up. However, if your loan provider only reports to TransUnion, you’ll only see your TransUnion score rise.
Score ranges vary a bit between each bureau. Let’s take a look at what’s considered an exceptional score at each credit reporting agency.
Experian is a credit reporting agency that issues credit reports and scores. Your Experian score comes from the FICO Score 8 credit-scoring model. The ranges for Experian credit scores are:
- Poor: Less than 580 points
- Fair: 580-669 points
- Good: 670-739 points
- Very good: 740-799 points
- Exceptional: 800-850 points
TransUnion also uses the VantageScore credit scoring model. However, TransUnion issues you a grade for your score instead of a description. Credit score grades range from F (the worst) to A (the best). Here are the TransUnion score ranges:
- F: Between 300 and 600
- D: Between 601 and 657
- C: Between 658 and 719
- B: Between 720 and 780
- A: Between 781 and 850
Equifax uses the VantageScore scoring model like TransUnion. However, ranges for these scores vary slightly. Equifax scoring ranges are as follows:
- Poor: Below 560
- Fair: 560-659
- Good: 660-724
- Very good: 725-759
- Excellent: 760-850
What’s Considered a Good Credit Score?
Any credit score above 700 is generally considered a good score, according to Experian. Watching your credit score is about more than checking it just before you buy a home or car. A good credit score can unlock even more opportunities.
Banks and credit card companies like to work with people who have good credit scores because there’s less of a risk that they’ll skip a payment or default on debt.
A good score can give you access to lower interest rates and you also won’t have to spend as much time searching for loan providers. It might even help you find a great apartment or get the job you want.
An increasing number of landlords and employers look at credit reports when they decide whom to rent to or work with.
Tips to Increase Your Credit Score
Does your score need a bit of a boost? Use these tips and you’ll be on the path to better credit in no time at all.
Get a Credit Builder Loan
Take advantage of MoneyLion’s 5.99% APR Credit Builder loan, part of the Credit Builder Plus program. There’s no credit check and money will be deposited into your account within seconds.
MoneyLion’s credit builder loan reports your good repayment history to the three credit bureaus. MoneyLion members consistently see members’ credit scores rise when they get a Credit Builder loan.
Pay your bills on time, every time
Between 35% and 40% of your credit score comes from your payment history. This makes on-time payments one of the most important factors when you’d like to raise your credit score.
The best way to raise your credit score is to make sure that you pay all your bills on time every month. Sit down with all of your credit card statements and loan paperwork and figure out how much you need to pay on each account every month. Mark your calendar or set an alarm the day each payment is due — this will help you avoid accidentally missing a due date.
Open a secured credit card
Is your score too low to open a credit card? A secured credit card might be right for you. Secured credit cards are a type of card that requires you to put down money as collateral.
For example, you may need to put down $500 to open a secured card with a $500 line of credit. The credit card provider keeps your deposit if you don’t make your minimum payments.
Credit card companies report on-time payments made on a secured card, which means that it’s a great way to raise your score. Consider opening a secured card and pay the balance off in full every month.
Check your credit report for mistakes
Did you know that one in every five Americans has a mistake on one of his or her credit reports? It’s true — and you might be one of them. Mistakes can hurt your score, so it’s a good idea to take a look at each of your credit reports and hunt for errors. You can get a free copy of each of your reports once every 12 months. If you do find an error, report it online to the bureau immediately.
You can get a free copy of each of your reports once every 12 months. If you do find an error, report it online to the bureau immediately.
Monitoring Your Credit with MoneyLion
Do you know your credit score? For more help boosting and monitoring your score, consider opening a MoneyLion membership. Your free account offers several perks and tools that you can use to monitor your score and create a plan of action for improvement.
You’ll have access to 24/7 fraud protection and credit score access and our credit simulator tools help you learn how your score would change if you made certain credit changes. Best of all, credit monitoring from MoneyLion is absolutely free.
Improving Your Credit Score with Credit Monitoring
Very few people have the best credit score possible, but that maximum high score potential can unlock many benefits through MoneyLion.
Do you need help getting your credit score back on track? MoneyLion is here for you! Get started on the path to less stressful finances today by downloading the MoneyLion app from the Google Play or Apple App store.