Attaining a perfect credit score is not easy. But having a good score will save you money in terms of interest over time. For VantageScore and FICO, the highest credit score is 850. Their scale ranges from 300 to 850. If your rating is above 720, they will consider it a good score. However, it can be difficult to maintain a perfect credit score every month.
Even if you are consistently responsible with your credit habits, do not be surprised if you don’t get a perfect score. Your scores are bound to fluctuate as they represent your credit profile. The ratings are broken down into poor, fair, good, very good, and excellent. The only way you can achieve the perfect credit score is by using your credit lightly, paying on time, not opening a new account, and having extended credit history.
Generally, older people have higher scores than younger folks. Having a score of 850 is excellent, and you will have bragging rights. Still, a score of 800 and above is exceptional. With this score, you will have access to reasonable rates on auto loans, credit cards, and any other loan.
Pay On Time
Be careful with your payment history as it heavily influences your credit score. In fact, payment history is the most influential factor for VantageScore and FICO. To ensure you always remember your repayment obligations, set up a reminder. Alternatively, you can opt to enroll in an automatic repayment system.
Timely payment applies to all of your bills, including rent, utilities, and phone services. The question many people ask is: what if they made late payments some years back. In response, while missed or late payments stay on your report for up to seven years, their impact on your score will decrease over time.
After two years, very few negative items have an impact on your score. Just keep making your payments and, ultimately, you will achieve the perfect score.
Monitor Your Scores For Any Inaccuracies
Errors and identity theft may derail your progress in having a good credit score. It’s important to get your credit score often, monitor your credit, and buy credit education tools. There are several credit reporting agencies where you can get your report at least two times a year.
If you notice something inaccurate in the report, you should write a dispute letter to all the credit bureaus. There are three: Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. The increase in your score after a dispute depends on the impact of individual reports. If you had late payments earlier, disputing one inaccurate amount will do little to change your credit score. However, if you can prove that several accounts were opened falsely in your name, there will be a considerable change in your score.
Keep Credit Utilization Low
If you want to determine your utilization rate, you should add credit limits to all of your cards. When you are spending lower than your available credit, your credit utilization rate will also go down. You should strive to use less than 30% of your available credit.
Be Strategic When Taking New Debts
Credit scores consider all of your outstanding loans and your total credit card balances. Generally, it is a great idea to keep your debt load low as it improves your score. Applying for new credit every time will make lenders think you are not able to handle all the debt.
However, you should not avoid getting new loans if the purpose is right. After all, the main reason you build your credit score is to ensure that you get financing when necessary. As long as you prove you are responsible and never fail in your repayment obligations, your score will stay intact.
Finally, you need to think critically before closing an old account. Having an available balance will help you with your credit utilization ratio. Additionally, old accounts help your report and also boost your credit score.
Do Not Make It A Habit To Cancel Cards
You should have one or two credit cards that you always keep active. You should not cancel them as they will help you creating a long credit history. Additionally, it will help you have a low rate of credit utilization. Having many credit cards means you have more credit available. A high credit score is for those who have a lower credit utilization ratio and long credit histories.
Consider Your Credit Mix
The different types of loans in your history is worth considering. The scoring models look into how you responsibly manage the different types of loans, credit cards, financing, and mortgages. If you want to diversify your investment, you should consider taking low-interest loans.
Moreover, if you have avoided credit cards, you should open one to charge a small amount every month and pay it off immediately. If you have an attractive credit mix, you will be able to have a high credit score. Avoid taking any financing that you do not need.
Limit Your Hard Credit Inquiries
Every time you apply for new credit, it will generate a hard credit inquiry. When you apply for a new loan, it is interpreted that you are having financial troubles. The hard questions bring about a negative effect on your score. Only apply for new credit when it is vital and avoid hard credit inquiries.
Importance of Understanding the Credit Score
For most people in the U.S, the credit score falls below 620. In fact, 40% of individuals under 30 years old have a score of less than 620. 25% of people under 30 have a score of 630 to 680. Only 2% have a score of above 780. This clearly shows there is plenty of room for improvement to get a good score.
Understanding how the credit ranges work is vital in giving you the knowledge and motivation to improve your score. A good score will provide you with the financial ability to have better interest rates on loans, credit cards, and mortgages.
Is it Necessary to Have the Perfect Score?
You may be wondering if it is essential to have a perfect credit score. While it’s certainly great to have a credit score of 850, it may not be realistic. Besides, having an excellent rating will give you the same benefits as a perfect score.
Theoretically, the highest possible score is 850. Nonetheless, only about 3% have achieved a score of above 800. Furthermore, less than 2% of people below 30 years of age have a score of 780 and above. In other words, it is almost impossible to have a score of 850.
When you apply for a mortgage or buy a car, the lender uses your credit report. They expect you to fall into a specific category. The interest you qualify for will not change if you are within a particular range. For example, if you are eligible for a 4% interest rate, it will not change until you reach the next tier of the credit score range.
What is The Range?
It is common for many people to wonder what the range is. For FICO, their credit score range is 300-850. Having a score above 720 means your score is good. Additionally, FICO offers industry-specific scores such as auto loans and credit cards that range from 250 to 900.
Below are FICO’s credit score ranges:
- Poor credit: below 500
- Fair credit: 580-649
- Good credit: 650-719
- Very good credit: 720-799
- Exceptional credit: 800-850
Lenders know the higher your score, the lower the risk. Nonetheless, no rating says whether you will be a bad or good customer. The FICO reports are just based on statistics and past undertakings.
Why the Credit Score Ranges Matter
You do not need a perfect score to get reasonable rates on your mortgage or loan. If you have a score above 700, you are safe and will qualify for low interest rates. With a score above 770, you are assured of some of the best rates out there.
Credit card companies and banks do not care about the specific numbers you have in the reports. They are more concerned about your broad credit score range. An example, if you improve your credit score from 750 to 790, very little will change on your interest rates offer. Both of these scores fall in the same credit range. However, moving from 630 to 700 means you will get better offers on the interest rates. You do not need to obsess about every single point to achieve the highest possible score. Moreover, it is not advisable to open a new account if you have a score of 800 or above because you already qualify for the best terms.
A Score of 800 and Above
Having a score of 800 will not give you the perfect score, but it will undoubtedly give you an exceptional credit score. It will also provide you with the same terms of the loan with someone who has a score of 850. Here is what people in the 800 club have achieved:
- They use only 7% of their credit limit.
- They owe less than $3000 on their credit cards.
- Their credit history is over 25 years.
- They do not have late payments.
Benefits of Knowing Your Credit Score
You must know your credit score if you want to understand the possibilities that come with raising it. You will see clearly what you qualify for and how it affects the interest and repayment period. You will also better appreciate the kinds of improvements you can make to raise your score.
Whereas having the perfect credit score is not a requirement to have the best rates for mortgages and loans, it will come in handy in the long run. Improving your scores from poor to good, or having them move from good to excellent, will make a big difference. By following the correct credit habits, you will improve your scores. If you are lucky to reach 850, you should consider it a bonus. You will be among the very few to achieve it!