The highest credit score possible depends on the credit scoring system being used. There are many different scoring systems available, and the range, or scale, can vary from one system to another. For example, some credit scoring systems may have a scale that goes up to 850, while others might go up to 900 or 950.
I’m not sure what you are doing that results in your score. Perhaps it’s because you haven’t had credit with the same companies for long enough? My score is 819. I don’t have a car loan or a mortgage either, and have never paid late. I also don’t have a student loan. Perhaps it was credit related to your divorce? By the way, my credit score was 794 for a long time because I got a new credit card. Now that all my credit cards are at least 6 years old, and one is over 20 years old, they raised my score.
Balances on credit card debt, mortgages, and auto loans are all below average in this state, and in several other midwestern areas. Debt delinquencies are also low, giving many people a credit score boost across the state.
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The marginal benefit of moving from a good credit score to an excellent one is important for getting the best interest rates on the largest and highest-quality loans. My advice is to make the personal finance choices that earn you an excellent score. Beyond that, what drives the decision? Ego? Vanity? Bragging rights? Who’s to say what is rational, if you believe the benefit outweighs the cost.
The average credit score in America falls just shy of the “Good” credit cutoff. According to FICO, the average score as of April 2015 is 695. This represents a high point for the past 10 years, and the scores have been climbing for the past two years.
Most people who have scores of 600 or lower, though, have a history of making late payments or failing to pay at all, according to Jeff Richardson, spokesman for VantageScore, one of the two main credit scoring agencies. “Most often those with very low scores have had a number of delinquencies, which leads to a default, combined with a high utilization” of their available credit, he says.
If you follow all the advice and information as outlined in this article, you will have a solid foundation of knowledge to build from when it comes to obtaining and maintaining a good credit score and securing a healthy financial future.
Although there are many different credit scores, your main FICO (Fair Isaac) score is the gold standard that financial institutions use in deciding whether to lend money or issue credit to consumers. Your FICO score isn’t actually a single score. You have one from each of the three credit reporting agencies – Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Each FICO score is based exclusively on the report from that credit bureau. The score that FICO reports to lenders could be from any one of its 50 different scoring models, but your main score is the middle score from the three credit bureaus. If you have scores of 720, 750 and 770, you have a FICO score of 750. (And you need to take a hard look at your credit reports because those three numbers are considered wildly different.)
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.
Some of these have different credit score ranges, so while VantageScore 3.0 and FICO scores run from 300 – 850, there are others that may run from 501-990 or 360–840, for example. You can generally find out what score’s in use by looking at the sheet or site on which the score is being supplied.
If you reviewed your credit information and discovered that your credit scores aren’t quite where you thought they’d be, you’re not alone. Since your credit scores use information drawn from your credit report, your credit activity provides a continually-updated basis of data about how responsible you are with the credit you’re currently using. At Experian, we provide information that can help you see your credit in new ways and take control of your financial future. You can learn more about:
No need to obsess about hitting that 850 mark. But if you want to try and reach it: Pay all your bills on time, eliminate nearly all of your debt (excluding a mortgage) and use, on average, no more than 7% of your available credit from all your accounts.
Lenders may choose to use non-FICO credit scores to gain additional insight on consumers, especially those with limited traditional credit history who might be difficult to score. These scores may be added to the FICO score if they provide unique insights or used instead of the FICO score if they provide similar predictiveness. Most of these scores are based significantly on data not available through the national credit bureaus, such as rental, utility, and telecom payment data or public record information such as property deeds and mortgages, liens, personal property titles, tax records, and licensing data.
hawkne, you are incorrect. One of the biggest impacts on a credit score is the length of credit history, which for young people, is usually very low. In order to get the best score, you need to have at 7 years of credit history. Another factor is number of accounts, also low for young people. And credit utilization, which is directly impacted by your credit limit, which is almost always orders of magnitude lower for people with little credit history. The other factor – number of inquiries in the last two years – is also high (lower score) for people just starting to utilize credit, since they have just started opening their accounts. Basically, a person who is just starting to build his/her credit history has a terrible score. I can tell you this from personal experience, as a person who has a relatively new credit history, with no late payments, and has been monitoring it like a hawk.
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Personally, I think having a great credit score is important in early mid-life, before the first mortgage, but if you’re older, say, and you’re able to buy cars, or even property, outright, from savings, then you’ve won the game!
* They eat out frequently at nice restaurants and take pride in their collection of vintage red wine, but their frequent vacation spots are Columbus, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Niagara Falls (Pittsburgh’s “very eclectic Mattress Factory Art Museum is must-do,” he said.)
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By increasing your credit score, you will have access to better financial opportunities, such as lower interest rates and better credit card offers. To see what credit card offers are available to you, check out our CardMatch tool or review or list of fair credit cards and cards for those with no credit history.
If you find that you have a pretty lengthy history of late and missed payments, then your scores on each scoring model will be negatively impacted by your inability to make payments. When determining your score, each scoring model will take a closer look at how recently you have missed a payment or were late, how many accounts were late, and how many total payments on each account were missing or late.
I have friends who believe that having everything paid for in cash and no credit cards or loans is the way to live, and yes, that would be ideal, but what happens when you suddenly need a line of credit to buy a home, a large purchase (appliances) or need to pay medical bills. You suddenly need a loan and lenders cannot know whether they can trust you to payback a loan without a history, and you may not be granted the loan.
Be careful when opening or closing accounts. When you close an unused account, it can affect your credit utilization ratio by reducing your overall credit limit. In general, it’s a good idea to keep credit card accounts open, unless you’ll be tempted to use the card and increase your debt. Alternatively, applying for new credit can also impact your credit score. When you apply for credit, a hard inquiry is added to your account, which has a temporary negative impact on your credit score. (This is because too many applications for credit in a short period of time can represent risk to lenders.) The impact of hard inquiries fades over time, and they are totally removed from your credit report after two years.
Credit scores look at your reported credit history to gauge the likelihood that you will repay borrowed money; you can be deep in debt and still have great credit scores if you have paid all your bills on time.