Are you planning to buy a home or take an auto loan or rent a home? In all cases, the responsibility score measurement in three digits makes or breaks your life. If you have an excellent credit score on your credit report, the more responsible you are, according to financial institutions. As with other things in life, when you achieve something extraordinary, you get additional rewards for it. Similarly, a perfect credit score of 800+ can open up multiple benefits for you.
Do you know how to get a good credit score? If you do not already have a good score, read the other article. Firstly, achieve a good score and then aim high for the excellent credit score. You may want to check your credit report every month as the credit score change every month. Since the number is not completely static, even if you do something bad, there is always a chance to recover it gradually.
What Is Excellent Credit Score?
Credit score generally takes a range of 300 to 850. According to Experian, a credit score is exceptional or excellent if it is between 800 and 850. That means, anything above 800 in credit score is an excellent credit score. Your credit worthiness is at its peak when your credit score is 800+.
When you apply for a mortgage or an auto loan, lenders generally check your credit report. This results in a hard inquiry in your report which might reduce your points immediately. But, don’t worry, it will come back up soon. When lenders see your amazing 800+ credit score, you will get preferential lower interest rates for your loan. A small act of maintaining an excellent credit score gives you excellent monetary benefits.
There are two different types of scores generally used in the Finance industry. One is FICO score, developed by the Fair Isaac Corp and the other is VantageScore, developed by the major three credit bureaus in the US. Credit scores are complex mathematical estimation models that gets its inputs from Credit Reporting Agencies – Experian, Equifax and Transunion.
FICO scores are the highly used ones and there are multiple versions of it. But, Vantage score is catching up fast and putting up a good fight. Chase uses Experian and Equifax credit reports with FICO score where as Credit Karma uses Vantage score.
Your credit worthiness is the best if you achieve the perfect 850. I’ve personally never heard anyone get it. But, anything between 800 and 850 is all bucketed into the excellent range. So try to get 801 and chill. After that, the reward effect diminishes.
How To Get Excellent Credit Score?
It is an extraordinary achievement to get into the 800s of credit score. It is definitely not easy and will take more than a decade of paying bills in time and being responsible with credit utilization.
Though it takes a long time, it is very much possible to get that golden premium tag. There is not get rich quick scheme, similarly, there’s no way to get your credit score up quickly. Be ready to grind for a long time with consistency and responsibility.
Don’t forget these common mantras, which makes the long boring journey easier.
- Don’t forget to pay credit card bills on time. Set up auto pay, wherever possible.
- Be responsible on your credit utilization ratio. Don’t ever think of maxing out.
- Strategize your new credit applications. Don’t jump on every offer.
800+ credit score is an ambitious goal for most of the average people out there. Know what you are getting into, before committing to the long grind. These elite statuses may lure you, but it is also difficult to attain.
What Are The Benefits Of Excellent Credit Score?
An excellent credit score can boost your status and give you much more monetary benefits than others.
For an average American (or any one from other countries too), buying a home is a dream. They call it rightly the “American Dream”. You can easily get lower interest rates. You may save thousands of dollars over the total mortgage term by just being responsible.
Credit scores are looked at by many entities including loan officers, insurance companies, future landlords and potential employers. A high credit score will help you in any of these situations.
Here are the most obvious ones that come to my mind
1. Finding home to rent becomes effortless
According to Experian, you may not qualify to get an apartment on rent, if you have less than 620 credit score. It belongs to average credit range in the entire scale of 300 to 850. You’ll probably not get good apartments if you credit score is only barely making the cut.
But, you cannot wing your way through some of the nicer apartments or stricter landlords. They may demand a far higher threshold because they have the best inventory and better service than other apartments. Don’t expect your application to go through if you have a credit score less than 700.
The definition of good credit score starts around 670 (more or less) in both FICO and VantageScore scales. But, always aim to be great and stand out from the rest. Anything below 700 doesn’t look good to a potential landlord eyes.
There is no need for a guarantor or a humongous safety deposit as advance rent, if you already have a 800+ credit score. You can reduce them to the minimum and the landlord will be willing to work with you seeing your excellent credit score.
2. Negotiating power to lower rates on insurance
If you have an excellent credit score, you get more negotiating power at the table. When you plan on buying an insurance for your car or if you plan to buy home owner insurance, this will come handy.
Insurers use insurance scores developed primarly based on credit. It helps explain insurers how responsible you are with handling money.
To evaluate risk accurately and charge individual policy holders the correct amount based on their true risk, using insurance score on the basis of credit is crucial. It is a complex model with various factors going into the model, apart from your credit information.
Underwriting business is risky, so they tend to see all possible facets of data, before determining your insurance premiums. They are in the business to be profitable as well. States don’t allow insurers to discriminate you based on the information they find. A strict no no to deny coverage or cancel policy based on credit information alone. Some major states like California totally doesn’t allow companies to do this.
If you want to know your insurance score based on credit, the best way is to request a free quote from an insurance company. LexisNexis offers one for you based on the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Additionally, if you are a California resident, make sure you exercise your California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) rights, if you don’t want them to sell your information.
3. Lower interest rates on loans
I think we all take at least one loan in our life. Mostly, people take a loan for Car or Home. Some take Personal loans too. Whenever you are in the market to get your loan, as a consumer, you want lower interest rates and favorable term period.
If you have just an average or good credit score, then there are multiple other people like you, who want better rates. If you have an outstanding or excellent credit score of 800+, then you really stand out.
That is when, the lender knows they can make money off you with minimal risk. They are more than willing to lower interest rate or add more favorable terms to your loan. It’s a low hanging fruit for them, so they’ll go to any length to not miss your business. So, it’s a win-win for both the business and you.
Similarly, for Mortgage, since the loan sizes are huge, expect to save multiple hundreds of dollars in monthly payments, if you have an excellent credit score. Expect to see atleast a full 1% difference in your interest rate from someone having average score. This translates into a saving of $500 per month based on myFico Calculator, for a $1M home with 80% mortgage.
The same effect is also seen in home improvement loans or other personal loans, but the monthly payment difference may not be this big.
4. More options open up when you need the most
The moment you have an excellent score of credit, the world opens up more options for you. Let’s say you want to do a sudden renovation or want to take a life changing trip, you are more than likely going to qualify for many 0% APR credit cards. You can just spend and pay later. But remember, by carrying balance on your credit card, you are going to lower your credit score.
This extreme option can be used if you are facing a temporary hardship in life and there are no other options. Most cards give you special APR rates for about 18 months and that gives you enough time to plan and course correct your path.
5. Enjoy premium perks
All credit card issuers will want to give you their premium credit cards if you have excellent credit score. These cards come with invitation only food tasting events or music concerts or celebrity shows. There are other monetary perks in terms of a highly targeted huge sign on bonus (with some spend conditions in the first 3 months).
Premium cards generally have the best in class rewards and each company wants to not lose you to the competition.
I really like the Chase Sapphire Reserve card that I got from Chase. It’s a premium metal card that has a load of features in it.
You get to enjoy the following premium perks
- Three hundred dollars of Travel credit for free annually
- 3x Ultimate Reward points on Travel and Eating in a restaurant
- Free Dashpass subscription from Doordash and free $60 statement credit on spend with Doordash. This credit is given once for 2020 and another for 2021. So, in total, you receive $120 worth of free food
- One year of free Lyft Pink and also 10X points on Lyft rides (I don’t value this anything with the pandemic)
- Pay Yourself Back feature with additional 50% rewards for Grocery purchases in the last 90 days
- CBP’s Global Entry program for free
- Chase Sapphire Reserve Travel Insurance and Trip insurance, for even interruption and also cancellation
- Primary cover for Car rental CDW
- No fee to transact online or physically in a foreign point of sale
- Highly curated events and select high quality experiences
6. Workplace hiring benefits
Any organization that is willing to hire you is going to check your excellent credit habits and be confident that you’ll be a great fit. Some states don’t allow employers to check potential employee’s credit reports. Employers often pull and check how responsible the potential employee is, wherever allowed. Sometimes, big scale promotions to executive positions may also prompt the employer to check your credit habits once, before making their mind.
Even if your employer wants to check, they can’t get your accurate credit score. They see only a range. But, they also have their own tricks making you sign an extensive documentation and checking your detailed credit history. Read before signing all papers.
Understanding Factors To Know Where To Improve
We will touch upon how to improve your credit score to excellent range soon. But, before that, a small reminder on what comprises the credit score and what factors you can improve to hit 800. Excellent Credit score is a range between 800 and 850.
- History of Payments – You need to keep making payments on time for a decade before expecting excellent credit score.
- Average Age of Accounts – Lenders trust you more if you have a long history of credit. Your Average Age of Accounts will be higher if you have credit cards for a long time. Don’t close your oldest cards, just downgrade them to no annual fee version as much as possible.
- New inquiries of credit – Don’t apply for too many credit cards in a short interval. Even if you apply for one card, expect a few points to be deducted for the hard inquiry on your credit. Generally, it takes 6 months for you to get it back to same levels. So, having many new credit inquiries can often impair your credit score.
- Credit Mix – It is beneficial to have multiple mix of credits in your report. Generally, people just have credit cards which is revolving credit. But, if you add an installment loan to the mix (only if you need it), your credit score will improve faster.
- Utilization Ratio – Credit utilization ratio is the most important part that determines your responsibility level and credit score. If you always think about maxing out credit cards, then you will get hit by credit utilization ratio factor. Make sure to keep it at less than 5% to reach excellent credit score. Generally, people advice to keep it less than 30% but that’s for average. We are aiming for an excellent credit score which requires you to be more responsible than normal.
How Increase Credit Score To 800 Or Above?
Alright, let’s cut to the chase. It’s time to tell you how to boost your credit score over 800. You can consider yourself excellent when you have such a good credit score. Good for you, there are multiple paths that you can take to boost credit score.
There is no increase credit score overnight method, just like there’s no legit “get rich quick” scheme. Keep trying and you will reach the excellent credit score level eventually. Don’t get disheartened in 6 months, if your credit score doesn’t move. This journey requires ultimate level of patience. Come to terms with achieving 800 credit score is not easy. Then, work towards it patiently and diligently, making every move that takes one step closer to credit score of 800.
These are some of the methods to boost credit score
1. Periodically assess credit report
The initial step to achieving your high credit score goal is to be responsible and monitor your credit as frequent as possible. Check for any errors on the report and let the Credit Reporting Agency know immediately.
There can be manual typographic errors or factual credit information errors. The former doesn’t decrease your credit score, although it can make getting credit cards harder because of the mismatch. The latter affects you directly and removing any factual error is not a straightforward process.
You can send them digital proofs but it requires a lot of effort and documentation and patience, until you see the changes. But, it is necessary evil. Dispute the errors in your credit report immediately, otherwise it can have larger implications in your life.
Sign up to Credit Karma which provides free report containing Vantage Score
2. Pay on time for a decade
It is simple as that. You need to keep paying bills on time for a decade. Have that as the one long term goal and keep achieving it. You are not rewarded for doing it properly but you will face a penalty even if you miss once. Paying credit cards on time will remarkably increase credit score.
To not miss paying on time, you can auto schedule all payments to your credit card. I have 7 credit cards and it is difficult to manage paying them manually. I just pay my bills 3 days before the due date automatically every month from my main bank account. Autopay is the savior for me! I will cross 10 credit cards in another 9 months.
Keep reminders if you don’t trust auto pay and want to pay yourself manually. Keeping a balance on your credit card is no no, if you are aiming for the excellent credit score range.
3. Snowball attack debt
If you have any debt, attack it immediately with the snowball method. I prefer paying the high interest debt completely and then concentrating on low interest debt. Credit cards are generally high interest debt with 20%+ APRs.
If you ever think declaring bankruptcy or leaving a debt unpaid will do nothing to you, rethink! There has to be some consequences for bad actors. It is going to reflect the bankruptcy in your credit report and will not leave for next 7 to 10 years. So, if you approach for another loan, you will not get again from any potential lender.
4. Utilize your credit responsibly
If you just impulsively buy things, maximizing spend on your credit card and not make full payment on the due date, then you’re only going to damage your credit score.
Your credit utilization to limit ratio has to be anywhere lesser than 30%, if you want a good credit score. But, to achieve a excellent credit score, you need to aim higher and limit your credit utilization ratio to less than 5%. I personally limit mine to 1% to increase credit score faster, by showing I’m responsible.
There is another way to reduce your utilization rate other than paying off. You can apply for new card and add to your existing credit limit, so your utilization goes lower with the new credit limit. But, this is not recommended since having more new credit inquiries or hard pulls will adversely affect your score.
5. Consider debt consolidation
If you have multiple accounts with debt at the moment and you want to get rid of them, the best way is to consolidate them in a single account. This way, you will see a humongous debt and will move towards reducing them quickly. It also makes it easier to track. There are multiple credit cards that allows a no fee 0% APR balance transfer offers. Opt for one and improve your debt situation soon. Your credit score will automatically improve when you solve your debt problem.
6. Authorized user from old accounts of parents
If your parents are willing to add you as an authorized user, you are in luck. Their longer credit history will benefit you immensely and push your credit score up quickly.
Make sure you are responsible, become your irresponsibility will affect them, if you are an authorized user on their cards. If you fail to pay on time, you will hurt credit score of your parents. Don’t force your parents to add you if they are not comfortable and haven’t seen you being fully responsible.
7. Don’t touch old credit accounts
Keep your oldest credits accounts untouched, even if the credit card is not used regularly. Put a small charge every 6 months, pay it off and sock drawer the card as usual. The complex model in determining credit scores uses your credit length of history as one of the main inputs. An old account with long history will certainly increase credit score.
8. Improve Credit Mix
Don’t keep applying for credit cards to resolve your debt situation. Try to get an installment loan or some other type of revolving debt that will improve your credit mix. Once you quickly pay them off, your credit score boost is going to be heavy.
From Experian app, I see that it is good to keep 6 to 10 credit accounts open with varying mix of credit. Add a mortgage to it, when you are ready to move to your dream home.
9. Live frugally
People think they have so much credit limit to be spent and enjoy spending all through the month. Then, they blink when the outstanding credit becomes due.
If you don’t have the amount in your bank to cover the purchase you are planning to make, then don’t buy it. You can’t afford it. As simple as that. Save up and then buy. Another obvious tip, but it’s worth repeating. If you cannot afford something, then don’t put it on your credit card.
I already had student loan in my life, which I cleared in 3 straight years, by saving up heavily. I will never get into another debt, except for appreciating assets like real estate.
Concentrate on creating better budgets to allow you to achieve your goals quickly. Make sure to always have your emergency fund in place to take over any life expense for 6 to 12 months. Have a clear plan ahead of time and don’t just put it on credit card.
Reaching the pinnacle range of 800 to 850 credit score can be so rewarding. Always aim for the best and work towards it. When you achieve it, you will see lots of doors (opportunities) open up for you. Maintaining a high credit score also instills responsibility automatically.
Maintaining excellent credit score can lead to a really high monetary benefit to the tune of multiple hundred dollars per month in case of mortgage. Also, if you are searching for a new job, a really high credit score shows that you are a responsible person. Hopefully, you will work towards first getting a good credit score, after reading this masterpiece.
Remember, sky is the limit. Set yourself goals on how to improve credit score and work on them with baby steps. In no time, you will see yourself improving with good money habits and other good things just getting credit score high. In conclusion, you will reap a lot of monetary benefits from financial institutions for your excellent credit score.
I am a data analyst by profession who loves to crunch numbers at daytime and come home wondering how my passive income numbers for the day look like. I believe in being rich rather than looking rich. Follow me for Cryptocurrency, FIRE, Personal Finance, Credit Cards and Digital Nomad updates