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Yes, You Can Get a Perfect Credit Score. Here’s How to Achieve an 800 Score or Higher

An exceptional credit score can unlock lower loan terms and more-desirable credit cards.

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Building a solid credit score takes time, particularly if you’re set on that elusive 800 to 850 number. An 800 credit score or higher can help you get approved for larger loans with more favorable terms and lower interest rates. But only 21% of people with a FICO credit score have an 800 or above, according to a FICO report.

Though it’s possible to get a perfect credit score, perfect isn’t permanent in this case. Credit scores fluctuate based on your credit behaviors, and it can take years of responsible credit use to build and maintain a perfect score. Below, we’ll look at what it means to have a high score, how to get there and the best ways to maintain one. 

How to get an 800 credit score

FICO calculates your credit score based on five factors: payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, credit mix, and new credit. To reach an 800 credit score, you’ll want to demonstrate on-time bill payments, have a healthy mix of credit (meaning accounts other than just credit cards), use a small percentage of your available credit, and limit new credit inquiries. It may sound boring, but consistently minding these small things is what will eventually push your score over the 800 mark.

“From a lender’s perspective, they don’t like surprises,” said Rod Griffin, senior director of public education and advocacy for Experian. “So, it’s all about how you manage the credit you have available to you and doing it well over time. It’s not about having lots of accounts or high credit limits.

To achieve this level of success, you must have a nearly perfect credit history. That means not missing payments, and keeping your credit utilization well below 30%. Here’s how to get an 800 credit score.

1. Build your credit history

If you feel like you’ve exhausted your options when it comes to building your credit because you consistently pay your credit card bills on time but haven’t hit 800 yet, it’s time to sit back and wait. Your length of credit history accounts for 15% of your credit score. And as your existing credit accounts age, so does your credit score. A longer credit history can help boost your credit score, so try to avoid closing old credit accounts even if you don’t necessarily use them every day. 

A inadequate mix of credit accounts can also make it hard to turn a good credit score into an exceptional one. Different types of credit accounts, such as revolving credit accounts, installment loans or retail accounts, account for 10% of your credit score. A mix of credit shows lenders you can handle more than one type of credit account (assuming each account is in good standing).

2. Make consistent on-time payments 

Payment history is the most important credit factor, accounting for 35% of your FICO score. You must pay your bills on time every month. If you don’t make a payment by its due date, you typically have 30 days to pay an outstanding bill before your lender reports the missed payment to the three major credit bureaus. However, don’t use this as an excuse not to pay on time. 

Missing a payment can have several long-term consequences, including interest charges, late payment fees and penalty APRs (or annual percentage rates). Enroll in autopay to ensure your balances are paid on time. 

3. Maintain a low credit utilization

Credit utilization is the amount of credit you use in relation to your total credit limit, and it makes up 30% of your credit score. Experts suggest that to maintain a healthy score, you should use no more than 30% of the credit available to you. But people with credit scores over 800 use about 7% of their available credit, according to FICO.  

You might even consider treating your credit card like a debit card to keep your credit utilization low. Paying off your credit card as you spend can help you maintain low credit utilization and avoid accruing interest charges, late fees and other penalties.  

4. Add your bills to your credit report

You can report your monthly bills and positive banking activity to your credit file with free tools like Experian Boost and UltraFICO. You can even report your rent payments through third-party sites like Rental Kharma, RentTrack and PayYourRent. Keep in mind, however, programs like Experian Boost and UltraFICO only impact your Experian credit report. 

“If you’re working to build your credit history, have your rent, cell phone payment, natural gas bill, electric bill and water bill reported, because they can all help increase your score,” said Griffin. “Even today, things like your Netflix bill can help you build your credit history. So take advantage of those [tools] available to you.”

5. Monitor your credit report

Check your credit reports with the three credit bureaus regularly to ensure your information is correct and that there are no errors. Errors can impact your credit and severely damage your credit score, so it’s important to watch out for accounts you don’t recognize, incorrect account statuses, derogatory marks, unknown addresses and incorrect balances or credit limits. 

“If an error is found, it is best to notify the financial institution of the issue for two reasons,” said Max Axler, chief credit officer at Synchrony. “The first is that it might be a systemic issue and without this feedback from consumers, the financial institution may not identify the issue. The second is that financial institutions have robust processes to take consumer feedback, diligence the issue and modify the reporting to the bureaus.” 

If you do find any errors, you can dispute them for free with the credit bureaus. And you can now get a free credit report once a week from each of the three major credit bureaus. You do that through (it used to be that you could get a free report only once a year).

The pluses of having an 800 credit score

An 800 score can unlock many benefits, such as lower interest rates on loans, better credit card offers and lower insurance premiums.

Most lenders find an exceptional credit score to be a solid indicator of what kind of borrower you are. And the reality is there’s a greater chance you’ll receive more desirable benefits with an exceptional score, including the following:

  • Better approval odds: It depends on the card, but a credit score in the good to exceptional range (700 and up) can likely qualify you for some of the best credit cards, including rewards cards earning cash back, points or miles; luxury travel cards; and cards with lower annual percentage rates. Different tiers of credit cards are available for all credit levels, but an 800 score bypasses the minimum credit score for most credit products.
  • Lower interest rates: An 800 credit score can help you secure some of the best interest rates available. Low interest rates can help you save thousands of dollars throughout the payback period on any loan or line of credit. For example, if you’re looking to refinance your home loan, a higher credit score can help you lock in a lower mortgage refinance rate.
  • Higher credit limits: You generally have more purchasing power with an 800 credit score, meaning lenders are more willing to give you higher credit limits. With a high credit limit, it’s easier to maintain a lower credit utilization ratio. 
  • Lower insurance premiums: Eight states restrict the use of credit scores when determining insurance rates, including California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, Utah and Washington. However, most states allow insurance companies to use your credit score to determine insurance rates. And an 800 credit score will likely qualify you for a lower premium on your insurance policy. 

How to maintain (and grow) an exceptional credit score

Half the battle with an 800 credit score is keeping it high once you’re reached it. Even after you’ve put in the work to achieve an exceptional score, you must continue practicing healthy credit habits to maintain it.

Check your credit reports regularly to make sure no discrepancies pop up, and space out new credit account applications to avoid big dings to your score. Enrolling in autopay can also help ensure that you always pay on time. 

“It’s normal to have some volatility in your credit score from time to time as purchasing needs fluctuate,” said Axler. “I think the key is doing what you can by creating positive momentum and being patient. Scores are designed to reduce volatility in movement, and so it can take time, particularly if you are rebuilding your credit score.”  

Do you need a perfect credit score?

Having a near-perfect credit score is a great goal, but you shouldn’t obsess too much over your number. Since your credit score fluctuates as you pay off a loan or open a new credit account, you’re bound to see dips and peaks along the way. 

“Don’t worry about having a perfect score, and don’t worry too much about [your] score fluctuating, sometimes even fairly significantly,” said Griffin. “Scores will change as your credit history changes.” Even if your credit score swings from an 820 to a 780, you’ll still get the best terms and rates, he added. 


It can take a long time to build a credit score in the 800 range. To boost your chances, make sure you pay your bills on time, avoid carrying debt from month-to-month, and aim to have more than one type of credit in your arsenal. With a mix of credit under your name, responsible use, and some time, building an 800 credit score is possible.

It can take years or decades to build an excellent credit score in the 800s. There isn’t a set timeframe, but the longer you’ve been using credit responsibly, the better your chances of achieving the elusive 800 credit score. Though it takes only about six months of credit use to build enough data to establish a score with FICO, inching it up into 800 territory can take much longer.

Even with an 800 credit score, the best credit card for you will depend on your spending habits, financial goals and budget. With an excellent credit score, you can likely qualify for some of the best credit cards, with top-tier rewards programs, valuable welcome bonuses, luxury travel benefits and low interest rates. Depending on what you want, one credit card might be a better match than another.

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Liliana Hall is an editor for CNET Money covering banking, credit cards and mortgages. Previously, she wrote about personal credit for Bankrate and She is passionate about providing accessible content to enhance financial literacy. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor's degree in journalism, and has worked in the newsrooms of KUT and the Austin Chronicle. When not working, she is probably paddle boarding, hopping on a flight or reading for her book club.