The perfect score. It’s every financially-minded person’s dream. It’s like the white whale in finances.
In the world of finance, there’s an unspoken belief that if you have the perfect credit score, you’re the cream of the crop. You’re a financial guru.
Yet, there are a lot of factors that go into achieving the perfect score. In fact, you could have a perfect score one day and then drop 20 points the next day. Everything needs to align perfectly in order for you to achieve that perfect score.
In reality, however, you don’t need the perfect score to get the best credit rates. There are no lenders or credit products who require a perfect score before you can get the best terms. People with a score of 760 often get the same deals as those with a score of 850.
Basically, the only thing an 850 score will get you is a few bragging rights. That’s it. There’s no A+ grade on a credit report. It’s as if everyone with a 760 or higher gets an A. It doesn’t matter how much higher your score is; as long as it’s above a 760, you’ve got an A. If you have a 763, you’ll get the same rates as an 850. It’s that simple.
But this doesn’t stop people from trying to achieve that elusive perfect score.
So, what does it take to get an 850 credit score?
If you’re one of the many obsessed with achieving the perfect credit score, you’ll need an amazing credit history. You need to score high in each category: payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%), and types of credit (10%).
Your credit report needs to be void of any negative information, no exceptions. This means you need to avoid late payments, judgments, liens, collections, and defaults.
You also need to keep low balances on your credit cards. Your credit utilization should always be under 30 percent at all times. To get a better score, keep it under 10 percent. You don’t need to worry about paying off your credit card each month (though that is a good budgeting strategy). You just have to remember that the lower your statement balances, the higher your score.
Many people complain that when they pay off their mortgage, they’re no longer eligible to reach 850. This is because people who are actively managing multiple types of credit products are seen as less risky borrowers than those with only one kind of credit product or no active loans at all. Someone with multiple credit cards and a loan will be more likely to have a higher credit score than someone with one credit score and no loans.
So, whether you’re chasing that elusive white whale, or just trying to get a good credit score, you can achieve your goal by making some smart financial decisions. Check your credit score regularly (at least once a year). And be wise with your finances. A strong credit profile will help you on your path to financial freedom.
With RentPlus, you can improve your credit score simply by paying your rent each month. We also have a wonderful financial education program called FinStrong and a personal financial management program called RentPlusMoney that you should check out.