What Is Considered An Excellent Credit Score? | Bankrate (2024)

Key takeaways

  • Your credit score is used by lenders, landlords and even potential employers to assess your financial risk and trustworthiness — so the higher your score, the better.
  • An excellent credit score, which is the highest scoring category, falls between 800 and 850 for FICO and 781 and 850 for VantageScore.
  • If you want to improve your credit score, you can start by paying your bills on time every month, paying attention to your credit utilization ratio and tracking your credit score closely.

A lot of people can achieve good credit scores by practicing responsible financial habits, such as making on-time payments, but it takes a little extra knowledge — and some credit card savvy — to take your credit score from good to excellent.

But is having excellent credit worth it? If you want better financial opportunities, absolutely.Credit scores make up a huge part of our financial lives, so it’s to your advantage to learn how to get your credit score as high as possible — and getting an excellent credit score is just about as high as you can go.

So, how do you know if you have excellent credit? What is an excellent credit score and is there an easy way to get it? Let’s take a closer look at what is considered an excellent credit score, as well as what you can do to boost your credit score into the excellent range.

Do you have an excellent credit score?

According to the FICO credit scoring model, an excellent credit score falls between 800 and 850 points. FICO, or the Fair Isaac Corporation, operates one of the most popular credit scoring systems in the industry — in fact, myFICO reports that over 90 percent of top lenders use FICO credit scores to help them make lending decisions.

Another popular scoring model is VantageScore, which has several different models, the most important ones being VantageScore 3.0 and VantageScore 4.0. The most notabledifference between FICO and VantageScore is the scoring range. With VantageScore, scores range from 300 to 850, and the factors that go into calculating a score are determined on a scale from “less influential” to “extremely influential.” If you have an excellent VantageScore, your credit score will be between 781 and 850.

If your credit score falls within the excellent credit score range, your credit is as good as it gets. Yes, you could try to achieve aperfect credit score, but you don’t need to actively work on building your credit the way you might if you had fair credit or bad credit. Instead, you can focus on maintaining your excellent credit score by practicing the responsible credit habits that helped you earn your score in the first place, like paying your bills on time and keeping your balances low.

What are the full credit score ranges?

What is an excellent credit score range? How does it compare to the other credit score ranges? Here’s a breakdown of the five FICO credit score ranges followed by the VantageScore ranges:

FICO Credit Score Ranges
Excellent/Exceptional800-850
Very good740-799
Good670-739
Fair580-669
Very poor300-579
VantageScore Credit Ranges
Excellent/Exceptional781-850
Good661-780
Fair601-660
Poor500-600
Very poor300-499

What are the factors that impact your credit score?

The FICO credit scoring model uses five factors to determine your credit score: payment history, credit utilization, credit history, credit mix and recent credit applications. VantageScore calculates scores a bit differently, but under the same set of criteria. Let’s take a closer look at how each of those factors impacts your credit score with both FICO and VantageScore:

Credit score factors

Payment history:
This is yourhistory of on-time payments. If you have excellent credit, you’re probably very good at making on-time payments—the most important aspect of building stellar credit.
Credit utilization:
Yourcredit utilization ratio is the amount of credit you’re currently using compared to the amount of credit available to you. This is calculated with your total available credit, but can also be looked at on an individual card level.
Available credit:
This factors into your credit utilization, but is also weighed separately for your VantageScore. If you have excellent credit, you probably have a lot ofavailable credit because you keep your balances low or pay them off in full every month.

Credit balances:
This also factors into your credit utilization and is looked at separately when calculating your VantageScore. Your credit balance is the amount you’re currently carrying on each of your credit accounts.
Credit history:
This is the age of your open credit accounts. If you’ve been successfully maintaining credit accounts for a long time, your credit score is likely high—one reason it’s important to keepold credit cards open.
Credit mix:
Yourcredit mix is based on the different types of credit accounts under your name. If you successfully maintain different types of credit, such asrevolving credit (like credit cards) andinstallment loans (like a car loan), your score will likely get a boost.
Credit applications:
If you apply for a lot of credit all at once, lenders may wonder if you’re taking on a lot of debt—and whether you’ll be able to pay it off. This is why hard credit inquiries, which occur every time you apply for a new credit card or loan, can cause a temporary drop in your credit score.

FICO Score vs. VantageScore

The exact percentage breakdown that makes up your credit score, as well as the information that goes into each factor, can vary based not only on whether you’re looking at a FICO score or a VantageScore, but also on what credit model your lender or the credit bureau is using. That’s why you might see slight differences across the scores between the three major credit bureaus.

This chart shows the FICO score breakdown as posted by FICO, as well as the breakdown of VantageScore 3.0.

FICO Score FactorsVantageScore 3.0 Factors
Payment history (35 percent)Payment history (40 percent)
Credit utilization (30 percent)Credit utilization (20 percent)
Credit history (15 percent)Credit history and credit mix (21 percent)
Credit mix (10 percent)Credit balances (11 percent)
Credit applications (10 percent)Credit applications (5 percent)
Available credit (3 percent)

Steps to improve your credit score

If you want to learn how to get an excellent credit score — or if you already have excellent credit and want to work toward that perfect 850 — here are some steps you can take toimprove your credit score:

  1. Work on building positive payment history. Start by making on-time payments every month, if you aren’t doing so already. Since 35 percent of your credit score is based on yourpayment history, making on-time payments is one of the best things you can do to boost your credit score.
  2. Start paying down your balances. The lower you can get those balances, the more available credit you’ll have, which is good for your credit utilization ratio and even better for your credit score. Keeping a low credit utilization — below 30 percent at least, but ideally within single digits — is another surefire way to keep a strong credit standing.
  3. Try to increase your available credit. This will happen naturally if you pay down your balances, but you can also increase your available credit by requesting acredit limit increase orapplying for a new credit card. If your credit already falls in the Very Good range, going online and requesting a credit limit increase on one of your existing credit cards might give you the point boost you need to take you over 800.
  4. Keep an eye on your credit score. You’ll want totrack your credit score on a regular basis — you can request your free report atAnnualCreditReport.com — andreview your credit reports to ensure that all of the information is accurate and up to date.

Understanding how your credit score fluctuates based on your outstanding balances, new credit applications and overall credit history can help you make adjustments that will benefit your credit score both now and in the long run.

To quickly determine your current credit utilization ratio and get started on some of these improvements, check outBankrate’s credit utilization ratio calculator.

Benefits of having excellent credit

There are numerous financial benefits of having excellent credit. When you have excellent credit, you can access the best credit cards on the market — including thetop travel credit cards, thebest cash-back credit cards, thebest credit cards for dining out and more.

Those with higher credit scores can also sometimes see better credit card offers when going through the credit card prequalification process, especially with third-party tools. Bankrate’sCardMatch tool, for example, will match you with personalized card offers, including those with features like boosted welcome bonuses that you might not be able to get from the card issuer directly.

Credit cards for those with excellent credit scores generally offer lower interest rates, thanks to your strong credit history. When lenders trust you to pay back your debt promptly and responsibly, they have less of an incentive to charge high interest rates — which means you can expect to receive lower interest rates not only on your credit cards, but also onauto loans,personal loans andmortgages.

Plus, your excellent credit will never stand in the way of your ability to rent an apartment, open utility accounts or — if your employer checks credit before hiring — get a job.

The bottom line

You have an excellent credit score if your credit score falls within the 800 to 850 range for FICO — which is most commonly used by lenders — and the 781 to 850 range for VantageScore. With an excellent credit score, you’ll have access to more and better financial opportunities, including the ability to apply confidently to top credit cards and the potential to get better card and loan interest rates.

But having an excellent credit score doesn’t mean your credit journey is over. If you want to maintain that score, you still need to be diligent about not overspending, keeping your credit utilization ratio in check and paying your bills on time every month. If you don’t have an excellent credit score but want one, similar rules apply. You’ll need to build a positive payment history, make sure your credit utilization ratio stays low and keep track of your credit score closely.

What Is Considered An Excellent Credit Score? | Bankrate (2024)
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