Getting a perfect 850 credit score is quite an achievement. Just don’t be surprised if nobody cares.
A perfect credit score means little in the real world. Recently, Ted Rossman, Bankrate senior industry analyst, told CNBC that an exceptionally high or even perfect credit score offers “no practical benefit” over a score in the mid-700s.
That isn’t just Rossman’s opinion. The folks at FICO — creators of the most commonly used credit score — have stated that you generally do not need the highest-possible score, or anything close to it, to get the best loan features from lenders.
Lenders typically will give the most favorable terms to borrowers who have a FICO score “in the upper 700s,” FICO says. According to a FICO blog post:
“In other words, don’t sweat it if you are ‘only’ an 800 as most lenders are likely to treat you the same if you score in the 800-850 range because your risk of not paying as agreed is very low in these highest FICO® Score ranges.”
FICO says the number of people with a perfect 850 credit score is small, but it has increased in recent years. In 2009, just 0.85% of the “scorable population” had a perfect score. That number grew to 0.98% in 2014.
By 2019, the percentage of borrowers with perfect scores had risen to 1.6%. FICO notes that as the Great Recession has receded further into history, FICO scores have grown. The average FICO score has held steady at 716 for a couple of years now.
A handful of states lead the way when it comes to the percentage of consumers with perfect credit scores. In 2022, FICO unveiled a list of the top five states, and noted that it hadn’t changed much in 10 years. The states that were home to the highest share of residents with perfect FICO scores in April 2019 were:
- Hawaii: 2.62%
- Connecticut: 2.3%
- New Jersey: 2.27%
- Minnesota: 2.24%
- Maine: 2.21%
As Rossman notes, such a perfect FICO score will give you “bragging rights” but little more than that. If you want to shoot for an 850 — or simply hope to improve your credit score a bit — check out “How to Build Your Credit in 2023.”