How Do I Get a Good FICO Score?

You know who you are – you want to get the maximum FICO score of 850. You can’t be satisfied with an 849 or even 800. I hate to burst your bubble, but don’t waste your time on trying to reach the maximum score. You can get the lowest interest rates with a score of 760 and above. You don’t have to have the perfect score.

In your attempt to increase your score, you may actually decrease it instead so BE CAREFUL. Some actions you think may work can actually lower your scores, such as closing open accounts with no balance, paying off old charged off accounts, and applying for more credit card accounts.

Your score can change constantly because of the updates to your credit reports by the credit grantors.  Even if you pay your bills in full each month, a balance will be reported to your credit reports unless you stop using them altogether.

Profile of consumer with 850 score

A credit reporting agency and analytics company for communication industry, SubscriberWise, conducted research on their database of one million consumers to analyze those with a FICO score of 850. Of those that received a score, .002% had a score of 850.  The average age was 61 years (ages ranged from 44 to 89); and average age of credit file was 30 years (ranged from 1958 to 1994).  Keep in mind this was a small population and for a particular industry.  That doesn’t mean that those younger can’t achieve the maximum score.

The ideal range is 760 to 810; you still get the best interest rates. Don’t try to game the system. You may lower your score instead. I am a broken record on the best way to keep your credit score high – pay your bills on time, don’t use more than 20% of your available credit, pay down your debt and don’t apply for new credit.

John Ulzheimer is the President of Consumer Education at, the credit blogger for, and a Contributor for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.  He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. Formerly of FICO, Equifax and, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry.  Follow him on Twitter here.


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