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
See what other myFICO forum members are saying about their own FICO® Score and the different ways they’re growing that number every day!
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