You’ll never guess how many Americans have a perfect 850.
A FICO® score, or a score according to the formula created by the Fair Isaac Corporation, is one of the most widely used credit scores by lenders. The rating scale ranges from 300 to 850, with 850 considered a perfect score.
However, most people don’t have a perfect FICO® score. In fact, according to a recent report by Experian, only 1.2% of Americans have a perfect score of 850. This is a large increase over the number of people who have achieved a perfect score in the past. In fact, the number of consumers with a score of 850 has actually increased by 63% over the past decade.
Yet that’s a very small number of Americans. The good news is that you don’t really have to have a perfect FICO® score, even if you want the most favorable loan terms.
Do you need a perfect FICO® score?
While a perfect FICO® score can give you bragging rights, you don’t really need it to get the best rates, access the best rewards credit cards, or maximize your chances of loan approval. A score of 800 or more is considered exceptional, while a score of 740-799 is considered very good.
In 2019, 45% of all U.S. consumers had scores rated as very good or exceptional, while an additional 21% of consumers had scores rated as good. This means that a majority of Americans shouldn’t have a hard time borrowing at good rates, even if they aren’t among the few elites with a score of 850.
How to get a perfect FICO® score if you want one
Even though technically you don’t need a perfect FICO® score, you can still want one. If you do, there are a few key actions you can take to try and get the highest possible score:
- Always pay your bills on time. A single late payment will make a perfect score almost impossible to achieve.
- Keep your credit use rate as low as possible. This is the amount of available credit used versus the amount available. While keeping it below 30% avoids hurting your score, those with higher FICO® scores have an even lower usage rate.
- Avoid getting too many requests on your credit report. When you apply for credit, you receive a new serious request that stays on your report for two years. Recent difficult surveys or too many make it difficult to get a perfect score.
- Keep old credit cards open. The older the average age of your accounts, the higher your score should be.
While doing these things doesn’t necessarily mean you get a perfect score, they are essential prerequisites if you want one. Ultimately, it will take time and a lot of responsible borrowing behavior to get a score of 850.
A good credit score is essential for financial success
While you don’t necessarily need a FICO® score of 850, you do need at least good credit for many aspects of your financial life. The good news is that most Americans have achieved this goal – and you can become one of them if you follow the tips above for increasing your score.