Is it 800? 850? 900?
Many of us are simply trying to attain (or maintain) a “good” score of between 670 – 779. So why are we even bringing up the topic of a FICO® Score maximum? Two reasons, really. The first is the fact that knowing the highest possible FICO Score might teach you something new… about FICO Scores in general. The second reason is that learning the maximum score might give you something to aspire to.
FICO Score Basics
FICO Scores are currently broken down into the following score ranges:
800+ = exceptional
740 – 799 = very good
670 – 739 = good
580 – 669 = fair
579 and lower = poor
So the question we have to answer right now is: What does the ‘+’ after the number 800 represent? How high can a FICO Score go?
Most people familiar with FICO Scores would probably answer 850. And, in most circumstances, they’d be correct.
FICO® Score 8, the most widely used version, can range from 300 – 850. As shown above, 800 gets an “exceptional” rating and can be a great asset for consumers applying for loans and hoping to keep their interest rates low.
So where does the “+” come into play? To understand that, one must know about “industry-specific” scoring.
Industry-Specific FICO Scores
Industry-specific FICO Scores are versions of FICO Scores that are optimized for a certain type of credit product (i.e. auto loans and credit cards). These scores use the same foundational algorithm as the base FICO® Scores but are refined based on industry-specific risk behavior.
To differentiate between base and industry-specific scores:
Base FICO Scores, like FICO Score 8 are designed to predict the risk of a borrower not paying on any type of credit obligation, whether it be a mortgage, credit card or other credit product.
Industry-specific FICO Scores are designed to predict the risk of a borrower not paying on a specific type of credit obligation, such as a car loan or credit card.
For instance, an auto lender might use the FICO® Auto Score or a credit card issuer might use the FICO® Bankcard Score which provides them with a much more refined risk assessment tailored to their specific industry.
That’s where the “+” in 800+ starts to make sense.
Both the FICO Auto Score and FICO Bankcard Score range from 250 – 900. This means that the answer to the question, “How high can a FICO Score go?” is 900.
Remember, getting the maximum FICO Score should not be a top priority when it comes to your finances. Having a “good”, “very good” or “exceptional” FICO Score should be more than enough to keep you in the running for a loan acceptance and decent interest rates.
By making on-time payments, keeping your credit card balances low and opening new credit accounts only when necessary, your FICO Score should become (or remain) something you can be very proud of
FICO Score 9 Side Note
FICO® Score 9, the latest and most predictive FICO Score yet, is out. If you’re applying for credit or a loan, you might want to find out if the lender is using this version since there are updates that could positively affect the outcome of your application:
- 3rd party collections that have been paid off no longer have a negative impact
- Unpaid medical collections will have less of a negative impact than on previous FICO Scores
- Reported rental history will factor into FICO Score 9 which is great for people with a short or limited credit history
Do you know what your FICO Score is? Estimate our FICO Score range with our free FICO Score Estimator.
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