There are many reasons to strive for perfection. Getting a perfect score on the SAT could help get you into your dream school, while pitching a perfect game can get you a plaque in Cooperstown. And of course, there's that sense of pride that comes with knowing that you could not possibly do any better.
The pursuit of perfection gets all the glory, but the truth is that it may not always be worth it. For many of us, this might be a difficult concept to grasp. When it comes to your credit score, it's the truth.
Is perfect possible?
For starters, a perfect credit score isn't realistic. While it's possible to receive an 850 score, it's very uncommon. According to the Fair Isaac Corporation, the company responsible for creating the FICO score, less than 1 percent of consumers attained an 850 credit score in 2010.
It's also important to note that you can have more than one credit score. In fact, you can have dozens of them. Not only could the bureaus have differing information about you, but each one could also calculate your score in several different ways depending on what it will be used for.
So while it's certainly possible to receive an 850 at one point or another, it's more difficult to assert that you have absolutely perfect credit. Even if you receive an 850 when applying for a credit card, you could end up with a lower score when applying for an auto loan.
Is Perfect Practical?
So a perfect score is hard to get, and receiving one doesn't necessarily mean you'll have perfect credit across the board. Still, you might decide that you want to hit that 850 mark anyway, at least once. How do you try for it? And should you?
The algorithms used to calculate credit scores are notoriously complex. If you already have a high score and start making changes to your credit profile in an attempt to pump up your credit, you run the risk of making innocent missteps that could harm your score. This makes the endeavor of consciously building a perfect score risky and imprecise.
Pursuing a perfect credit score may not be worth the effort. Why: bit.ly/1ODxRYh [Tweet this]
Is Perfect Profitable?
If you already have excellent credit, you don't stand to gain very much from the gamble. While different lenders usually have different requirements, a score of 720 is often high enough to get you the best rates and opportunities available. You don't need a perfect score to have access to the best that healthy credit has to offer -- you just need to demonstrate that you are a reliable borrower.
You should always strive to make responsible financial decisions, but if you aren't careful, obsessing over the perfect credit score can actually harm your credit. Making a series of changes to your credit profile in an attempt to boost your score could potentially backfire, and if your score has broken 720, you may already have access to the best borrowing opportunities.
Be patient with yourself and your credit. Good credit is a long-term goal, and if you fixate on the numbers, you might miss the bigger picture. If you already have good credit, congratulations! Continue the great work by checking your credit report on a regular basis.
About the Author: Laura Ross has been a Member Support Specialist at Credit Karma since December 2013. She can usually be found riding bikes around town late at night, communing with animals and eating sweets.
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