How Many Americans Have a Perfect 850 Credit Score? - Experian (2024)

In this article:

  • Characteristics of Consumers With Perfect Credit Scores
  • States Where Perfect Credit Scores Are More Common
  • More Perfect Credit Scores in Midsize Metros
  • Target, but Don't Obsess, Over an 850 FICO Score

In many sports, it's possible to play a game that can be counted as "perfect." Knock down 120 pins with 12 bowls in 10-pin bowling and you've bowled a perfect game. Retire all 27 batters and you've (usually) pitched a perfect game. And when it comes to credit, 850 is the highest the FICO® Score scale goes.

For more and more U.S. consumers, practice is making perfect. According to recent Experian data, 1.54% of consumers have a "perfect" FICO® Score of 850. That's up from 1.31% two years earlier.

In this update, we'll discuss the who, where and why of perfect FICO® Scores.

Characteristics of Consumers With Perfect Credit Scores

While it's perhaps self-evident that an 850 FICO® Score reflects a history of responsible credit management, not everyone has ascended to those heights. Let's take a look at what generally sets these consumers apart.

Distribution of FICO® Scores Among U.S. Consumers

Consumers with perfect scores tend to have lower debt balances than the national average for all types of revolving credit, as well as overall non-mortgage debt levels. As for auto loans, lower balances for those with an 850 FICO® Score may indicate that these consumers, when they do finance their vehicles, are able to do so with better financing terms than those with average credit scores.

Characteristics of Consumers With 850 FICO® Scores
Average for All Consumers Average for Consumers With an 850 FICO® Score
FICO® Score 715 850
Number of credit cards 3.9 5.8
Credit card balance $6,501 $3,028
Number of retail credit cards 2.7 3.8
Retail credit card balance $1,188 $194
Auto loan balance $23,792 $19,296
Mortgage balance $244,498 $245,710
Non-mortgage loan balance $23,964 $17,545
Credit utilization ratio 29% 4%
Total tradelines ever delinquent 1.5 0

Source: Experian data as of Q3 2023

A few traits of perfect-credit consumers:

  • Lower debt balances nearly across the board: Balances are similar among all borrowers with mortgages—more people with 850 scores have mortgages than those who don't, and those who do are likely able to purchase "more" house due to their superior credit history.
  • Credit utilization that's near zero: On average, consumers with perfect scores tend to carry more credit cards (both retail and otherwise), but their credit utilization rate is much lower. Credit utilization is one of the most important factors in credit score calculations, and those with the highest scores tend to keep it in the low single-digit percentages.
  • Delinquencies are not a concern: With an average number of delinquencies sitting at zero, perfect-score consumers are paying their bills on time.

And while it's not shown in the above table, those with perfect credit scores also have lengthy credit histories. According to Experian data, baby boomers and other older consumers comprise 66% of the consumers with 850 FICO scores, and Generation X another 26%. Millennials and younger consumers, so far anyway, account for less than 8%.

In brief: The summit isn't out of reach. Although the average FICO® Score of 715 suggests most consumers have room to grow, many of those with even slightly above-average scores already exhibit at least some of the characteristics that go into a maxed-out FICO® Score. Score improvement might just be a matter of time.

States Where Perfect Credit Scores Are More Common

You'll find consumers with perfect credit scores everywhere in the U.S., although they're slightly more common in Western states than other regions of the country. When broken out by region, three regions have higher-than-average rates of perfection, while only 1.22% have a perfect score in the South.

Percentage of 850 FICO® Scores, by Region
Midwest 1.67%
Northeast 1.74%
South 1.22%
West 1.83%
National Average 1.54%

Source: Experian, Q3 2023. Geography based on U.S. Census regions

Percentage of Consumers With 850 FICO® Scores by State

It's not surprising to see that states with higher average FICO® Scores also have a higher percentage of consumers with an 850 credit score, but the relationship isn't lockstep. Once one reads past the top-ranked state of Minnesota, states with more than the typical number of perfectionists have average credit scores as low as the national average of 715 (in the case of Delaware).

Only four of the 10 states with the highest average FICO® Score also have a high percentage of perfect scores.

10 States With the Highest Percentage of 850 FICO® Scores
State Percentage of 850 FICO® Scores Average FICO® Score (rank, out of 51)
1. Minnesota 2.31% 742 (1)
2. Hawaii 2.26% 732 (10)
3. Virginia 2.08% 722 (22)
4. Maryland 2.05% 716 (31)
5. Wisconsin 2.04% 737 (3)
6. New Jersey 1.99% 725 (19)
7. Massachusetts 1.98% 732 (9)
8. Delaware 1.97% 715 (33)
9. Colorado 1.95% 731 (12)
10. Washington State 1.95% 735 (5)

Source: Experian data as of Q3 2023

The reason? Specific metropolitan areas within these states are responsible for most of the lift in their rankings. For instance, the Washington, D.C., metro—where 2.3% of consumers have a perfect 850 score—includes nearby Montgomery County, Maryland, and Fairfax County, Virginia, which lift the rankings of both states.

Conversely, states that don't rank in the top 10, such as California, have a number of top-ranking metros with perfect scores. Despite this, the Golden State ranks 12th overall, with only a 722 average FICO score.

More Perfect Credit Scores in Midsize Metros

In 50 of the 374 metropolitan areas in the U.S., more than 2% of consumers have perfect scores—significantly higher than the 1.54% national average. There are three types of metros found in the top 10:

  • Midsize metros in close proximity to larger metros; for instance, Boulder, Colorado, adjoins larger Denver, while Corvallis, Oregon, is down the road from larger Portland.
  • Large metros—such as Washington, D.C., and the Greater San Francisco Bay Area—where much of the regional economy are seats of well-compensated sectors such as information technology and defense.
  • Metros in states that have a higher concentration of perfect scores, such as Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Madison, Wisconsin.
  • California metros have nabbed the top five spots of metros with the highest percentage of consumers with perfect credit scores. Close to 1 in 40 consumers in California have an 850 FICO score.

Rounding out the other top 10 metros are Corvallis, Oregon; Boulder, Colorado; Minneapolis; Honolulu; and Ocean City, New Jersey.

Metro Areas With Highest Concentration of Perfect Credit Scores
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California 2.51%
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, California 2.48%
Santa Rosa-Petaluma, California 2.47%
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California 2.43%
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles, California 2.42%
Corvallis, Oregon 2.38%
Boulder, Colorado 2.35%
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota 2.32%
Honolulu, Hawaii 2.31%
Ocean City, New Jersey 2.31%

Source: Experian data as of September 2023

Target, but Don't Obsess, Over an 850 FICO® Score

Is hitting the credit bullseye even necessary? There's no commemoration of credit perfection: Those with an 850 FICO® Score unfortunately won't receive a challenge coin in the mail—only bragging rights.

Perfect credit is a worthy goal to be sure, but a score in the ballpark of perfect will get you the same glory. An 850 FICO® Score is hardly necessary to obtain the best rates for loans and credit. Those with exceptional credit, FICO® Scores of 800 and above, will likely receive the same terms as someone with a perfect score of 850—all else remaining equal. Even those with FICO® Scores slightly below 800 may receive the same terms as those who have reached the top of the credit score scale.

While maxing out one's FICO® Score may be satisfying to some, in essence it's reflective of consumers consistently maintaining good credit habits:

  • Low revolving credit balances compared with credit limits (credit utilization ratio)
  • A reasonably long credit history
  • Few, if any, delinquencies reported on past and present credit accounts

Even if some of these habits aren't possible at the moment—one can't magically age 20 years overnight, after all—starting today will soon likely yield results. Even if it doesn't result in perfection, improved credit could make it easier to borrow when you need it most.

Methodology: The analysis results provided are based on an Experian-created statistically relevant aggregate sampling of our consumer credit database that may include use of the FICO® Score 8 version. Different sampling parameters may generate different findings compared with other similar analysis. Analyzed credit data did not contain personal identification information. Metro areas group counties and cities into specific geographic areas for population censuses and compilations of related statistical data.

FICO® is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.

Learn More About Getting a Perfect Credit Score

  • What Are the Different Credit Scoring Ranges?
    Lenders use credit scoring ranges to decide whether to take a risk on a potential borrower. Understanding your score and how it fits into a scoring range will help...
  • How to Improve Your Credit Score
    Strengthening your credit profile involves several steps, including making on-time payments, reducing your debt and more. Here's how you can do it.
  • What Affects Your Credit Scores?
    Credit scoring software combs and analyzes credit reports to evaluate how you manage credit, with particular focus on just a handful of factors.
  • What Is the Average Credit Score in the US?
    The average FICO Score in the U.S. was 715 in 2023, increasing by one point from its 714 average in the third quarter (Q3) of 2022.
How Many Americans Have a Perfect 850 Credit Score? - Experian (2024)


How Many Americans Have a Perfect 850 Credit Score? - Experian? ›

And when it comes to credit, 850 is the highest the FICO Score scale goes. For more and more U.S. consumers, practice is making perfect. According to recent Experian data, 1.54% of consumers have a "perfect" FICO Score of 850. That's up from 1.31% two years earlier.

Is Experian score of 850 good? ›

Your 850 FICO® Score is nearly perfect and will be seen as a sign of near-flawless credit management. Your likelihood of defaulting on your bills will be considered extremely low, and you can expect lenders to offer you their best deals, including the lowest-available interest rates.

How rare is an 830 credit score? ›

Your score falls in the range of scores, from 800 to 850, that is considered Exceptional. Your FICO® Score and is well above the average credit score. Consumers with scores in this range may expect easy approvals when applying for new credit. 21% of all consumers have FICO® Scores in the Exceptional range.

Does anyone have a 900 credit score? ›

A credit score of 900 is not possible, but older scoring models that are no longer used once went up to 900 or higher. The highest possible credit score you can get now is 850.

Can you get a 900 credit score Experian? ›

Industry-specific FICO® Scores.

Industry scores aim to predict the likelihood that a consumer will fall behind on the specific type of account, and the scores range from 250 to 900.

How rare is an 850 credit score? ›

As of the third quarter of 2023, 1.54% of U.S. consumers had a FICO Score of 850, according to Experian data. Some notable traits of consumers with a perfect credit score include an above average number of credit cards, lower credit utilization rate and lower than average total debt.

How rare is 825 credit score? ›

Membership in the 800+ credit score club is quite exclusive, with fewer than 1 in 6 people boasting a score that high, according to WalletHub data.

What is the average credit score in America? ›

The average FICO credit score in the US is 717, according to the latest FICO data. The average VantageScore is 701 as of January 2024. Credit scores, which are like a grade for your borrowing history, fall in the range of 300 to 850. The higher your score, the better.

What is everyone's first credit score? ›

The truth is there's no such thing as a “starting credit score.” Some people wonder whether the starting credit score is zero, for example, or whether we all start with a credit score of 300 (the lowest possible FICO score).

What is the highest credit score to buy a house? ›

What is a good credit score for buying a house?
  • 800 or higher: Exceptional.
  • 740-799: Very good.
  • 670-739: Good.
  • 580-669: Fair.
  • 579 or lower: Poor.
Jan 10, 2024

How long does it take to get an 850 credit score? ›

Most people who have an 850 credit score have at least seven years of perfect payment history. Essentially, to get an 850 credit score, you just need to follow one simple strategy: make all of your payments on time for a long time.

Does anyone have a 950 credit score? ›

Is a 950 credit score possible? In most conventional credit scoring systems, such as FICO and VantageScore, a credit score of 950 is not possible, as they typically have a maximum score of 850. However, some custom or industry-specific scoring models might use a different scale, but they are not as widely used.

What percentage of the population has a credit score over 830? ›

Less than 21% of people have a credit score in the 800-850 range. An 800+ credit score, such as 835, is considered perfect credit, indicates a borrower uses credit responsibly, and qualifies the person for the best loan and credit card terms.

Is Experian Fico score accurate? ›

Credit scores from the three main bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) are considered accurate. The accuracy of the scores depends on the accuracy of the information provided to them by lenders and creditors.

Does Experian use FICO or Vantage? ›

Experian's free credit monitoring service provides access to your Experian FICO® Score, credit report and other information that can help you better understand how credit scores work and actions you can take to improve all your credit scores.

What is considered a very good Experian score? ›

What Is a Fair Credit Score?
FICO® Score Ranges and Ratings
Credit ScoreRating
740-799Very Good
2 more rows
Mar 15, 2023

Is there a difference between 750 and 850 credit score? ›

A 750 credit score is Very Good, but it can be even better. If you can elevate your score into the Exceptional range (800-850), you could become eligible for the very best lending terms, including the lowest interest rates and fees, and the most enticing credit-card rewards programs.

How many people have an 800 credit score? ›

How rare is an 800 credit score? An 800 credit score is not as rare as most people think, considering that roughly 23% of adults have a credit score in the 800-850 range, according to data from FICO. A score in this range allows consumers to access the best credit card offers and loans with the most favorable terms.

How accurate is Experian credit score? ›

Credit scores from the three main bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) are considered accurate. The accuracy of the scores depends on the accuracy of the information provided to them by lenders and creditors.

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