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Credit scores are critical to securing better financing opportunities. But while some may be satisfied with scores that are good enough, others are aiming to achieve perfection: the coveted 850 credit score.
But is reaching an 850 credit score possible? Let’s take a look at how to get an 850 credit score and obtain perfect credit.
Is It Possible to Get an 850 Credit Score?
While it can certainly be a challenging endeavor, it is possible to get an 850 credit score. As we’ll explain later, about 1.3% of America’s “scorable population” has a perfect, 850 FICO score.
Personal credit can be difficult to navigate. Derogatory marks, challenging personal financial situations, and other factors can quickly bring your score down. You might currently be in a position where an 850 credit score seems out of reach.
But if you’re willing to put in the work, you can see your score rise to a glowing 850.
Experian analyzed the credit profiles of people with such a score.
According to them, the key to hitting 850 is to aim for six credit cards, get a perfect history of on-time payments, have one installment loan on your credit report, and use only one to nine percent of your total credit utilization.
In the sections below, we’ll break down each of the most important factors that will play a role in helping you reach your 850 credit score.
How to Get an 850 Credit Score
If an 850 credit score is your vision, here’s what you need to do in order to make it a reality.
Perfect Payment History for the Past 2 Years
Life happens. Sometimes, you might miss a payment because you forgot to automatically schedule it. Other times, you might find yourself in a tight spot and have trouble making the payment altogether.
However, any missed payment is going to be a major barrier to reaching 850. Payment history makes up 35% of your credit score, which means that one small mistake can bring your credit score down dramatically.
It’s critical that you aim for perfect payment history, with two years of making on-time payments being the goal (although you shouldn’t be missing payments in the future if you wish to maintain your perfect score).
If you’re someone who knows that you have trouble making payments on time, look for ways to keep yourself on track. One way to do this is to set up automatic payments with your lender. You can also use budgeting apps, set personal reminders, and more.
When an 850 credit score is the goal, you can’t let anything get in your way!
Keep Credit Utilization Under 10%
The general rule of thumb for raising your credit score is to keep your credit utilization under 30%. But while this is ideal for most consumers, those looking to establish an 850 credit score need to aim lower.
If you want an 850 score, you need to keep your credit utilization under 10%. The lower, the better. You can reduce utilization by using credit cards for basic bills and subscriptions that won’t eat up too much of your available credit.
This makes it much easier to stay on top of your finances and guarantees that you’re not going to accidentally go over or spend money you don’t have.
If you’re having trouble keeping track of spending on each card, look for software that can help you consolidate your financial activity in one place.
Get the Right Accounts
How much credit you’re using isn’t the only factor that plays a role in your credit score. The types of accounts that you have open actually contribute to your FICO credit score as well.
For those who want to join the 850 club, you’re going to need to focus on having the right accounts. This includes six revolving credit accounts and one installment loan.
When researching the characteristics of average consumers and those with perfect credit scores, Experian found that those with 850 credit scores had more credit cards and more personal debt. Meanwhile, average consumers had fewer in both areas.1
Manage your credit cards responsibly, aim to have approximately six credit cards, and maintain one installment loan with care. If you can balance all of this, you’re well on your way to reaching the top of the FICO credit score range.
Apply for Credit Strategically
Applying for credit or otherwise engaging in activities where your credit report needs to be pulled will have an effect on your credit score. Most consumers know that a small tug isn’t going to have a dramatic impact on your score.
However, just a single point can make a difference. 849 is certainly not 850. Any progress that holds you back should be taken into account.
This is why it’s important for consumers to remember that they should be applying for credit strategically. If possible, make it a goal to avoid more than two hard inquiries a year. The fewer hard inquiries you have, the less your score will be changed.
Achieving perfect credit takes time, so don’t be afraid to take your time and make sure that you’re doing everything the right way.
Dispute and Fix Errors on Your Report
Life happens. When it does, there’s not much we can do besides figure out what we can do from that point to adjust to the changes.
However, in the case of credit, some mistakes aren’t your own. You may have items listed on your report that are incorrect and negatively impacting your score.
Keep an eye on your credit score and make sure to check your credit report at least once a year (it can be done for free). If you notice anything out of the ordinary, reach out to the credit bureau and the business responsible for reporting the incorrect information.
Disputing errors on your report can be a timely process, but it’s well worth it if you want to make sure you’re on the path toward 850.
Build Up Your Average Length of Credit History
The length of your credit history only makes up 15% of your FICO credit score. Still, this 15% plays a role in whether or not you have the extra points you need to reach and maintain a perfect credit score.
Building up your average length of account is a focus that you need to maintain the entire time you’re working on your credit. For those who want an 850 credit score, having an average length of account that’s 10 years or more is ideal.
The good news? As long as you’re actively working on your credit (which you’ll be doing throughout your lifetime), the time is going to pass regardless. If you’re looking to build credit, you can always start out with credit builder programs and credit builder loans.
Stick to your good credit habits, and the age will continue to grow as you continue using credit!
Monitor Your Credit Score Frequently
Keeping tabs on your credit score helps you keep track of your milestones and catch any problems long before they develop into something even bigger.
Most lenders make it easy for you to check your credit score by offering tools alongside your credit cards or other loans. You can even check your credit score directly through credit bureaus if these tools aren’t available to you for some reason.
That being said, the best way is to set up credit monitoring so that you always know where your credit is at. This guarantees that you will know about any changes as soon as possible so you can make any necessary adjustments.
The more tools and education you leverage to bolster your credit, the higher your score will naturally rise.
How Common Is an 850 Credit Score?
With all this in mind, many wonder just how many people have been able to reach an 850 credit score themselves.
According to 2021 Q3 data from Experian, an estimated 1.31 percent of consumers in the U.S. had an 850 FICO credit score. That’s a sizable chunk of the population who have managed to reach 850.
Taking a closer look at the available data, here’s how the following generations measured up when it came to perfect credit.
- Baby Boomers (Ages 57-75): 59.40%
- Generation X (Ages 41-56): 22.40%
- Silent Generation (Ages 76 and Older): 14%
- Millennials (Ages 25-40): 4.10%
- Generation Z (Ages 18-24): 0.10% (This is naturally going to be lower given that many younger individuals simply haven’t had the time to build up their credit and get an 850 credit score.)
This goes to show that, no matter which age group you fall into, you can get a perfect credit score as others before you have managed to do. You can also take a closer look at which states and cities had the best credit scores in the same source provided below.
An 850 credit score is the end goal for some. However, getting an 850 credit score can also seem like an insurmountable feat, especially if you’re not as knowledgeable about credit as you’d like to be.
However, getting to 850 is often much easier than many believe, even if it is a process that takes time and the financial know-how. If you’re looking to see “850” every time you check your report, use the tips above to plan ahead and get on track!
Dylan Buckley is a freelance finance writer and editor with 7 years of professional experience. Specializing in personal finance, cryptocurrency investments, and Fintech, Dylan is deeply passionate about creating content that helps readers make informed, confident financial decisions. He studied finance in college and maintains a credit score over 780.