While the answer depends on what credit scoring model is being applied, the highest possible credit score in most cases is typically 850.
Why do credit scores matter?
Lenders and other financial institutions can use a number of credit scoring systems in existence, but all models have one thing in common: they apply a mathematical algorithm to information on your credit report to generate a credit score.
That number is used to determine how creditworthy a consumer is—that is, how likely they are to pay their debts back on time. Most of these credit scoring systems use a scale that ranges from 300 to 850. However, there are some that also go up to 900 or 950, including industry-specific scores used by certain institutions.
Credit score ranges
One of the most common scoring models, FICO® Score, places credit scores on a scale between 300 and 850. On that scale, there are ranges that indicate different categories of creditworthiness:
|Rating||Credit Score Range|
|Poor||579 and below|
(See also: What Are the FICO Scoring Ranges?)
Lenders may also apply their own set of ranges when evaluating credit scores. For example, one lender might consider loan approval for anyone with a credit score above 700, while another may limit the best offers to consumers with a score above 750.
How to evaluate your credit score
When you receive a credit score, you should also receive scale information like the one above. Looking at the context of where your score stands is more important than the actual number itself. You will also probably receive some information about why your score is what it is. That's the information you want to focus on because it will provide a roadmap for boosting your score, says Susan Henson, a consumer credit expert at Experian.
"The most important thing about a credit score is not the actual number, but the factors that contributed to the calculation of that score," says Henson. "The score factors are the actionable pieces of information for consumers. For example, if a score factor is a high utilization, one solution is paying down debt."
(See also: How Do You Check Your Credit Score?)
One thing is always for certain: All credit scores are generated from the information you find on your credit report. One of the ways to make sure your credit score is as high as possible is to examine your credit reports from each of the three credit bureaus for any errors or discrepancies.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.