How to Make the Most of It

If you have your credit score above 800, congratulations. This demonstrates to lenders that you are an exceptional borrower and places you well above the average US consumer score. In addition to bragging rights, a credit score over 800 can qualify you for better offers and faster approvals when applying for new credit. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of that 800+ credit score.

Key points to remember

  • A credit score of over 800 shows lenders that you are an exceptional borrower.
  • You may qualify for better mortgage and car loan terms with a high credit score.
  • You may also qualify for credit cards with better rewards and perks, such as airport lounge access and free hotel breakfasts.

Credit Score Basics

First, a reminder about credit ratings. A credit score is a three-digit number that summarizes your credit risk, based on your credit data. The most common credit score is the FICO score, which is calculated using five main categories of credit data from your credit reports. Here they are, along with the percentage of the score they represent.

  • Payment history (35%). If you paid your past bills on time
  • Amounts due (30%). How much credit and how many loans you use
  • Length of credit history (15%). How long have you had credit
  • Composition of credit (10%). Types of credit you’ve had (e.g. mortgage, auto loan, credit cards)
  • New Credit (10%). Frequency of credit applications and new account openings

FICO scores are based on a range of information on your credit report, but they do not take into account your age, education, work history, gender, income, marital status, your race or postal code.

While each lender has their own credit risk standards, the following FICO chart is a general guide to what each score range represents:

Image by Sabrina Jiang © Investopedia 2021


The 800+ club is growing

Today, the average FICO score in the United States is 716, the highest since FICO began tracking score distributions. After hitting a low of 686 in October 2009, the national average FICO score has risen for 11 consecutive years, representing a steady upward trend in credit quality in the United States.

There are also more people scoring very high above 800. In April 2021, 23.3% of consumers now score between 800 and 850, up from 20.4% five years earlier.

According to FICO, several factors contributed to the higher average and the increase in the number of consumers in the 800-plus range, including:

  • Fewer missed payments reported. The number of consumers with a payment overdue for more than 30 years in the last year was 15% in April 2021, compared to 19.6% a year ago.
  • Lower debt levels. Credit card balances and usage have fallen more than 10% over the past year as consumers have been aggressive in paying down their debts.
  • Less credit research activity. Firm credit applications fell 12.1% over the past year to April 2021.

The benefits of a credit score over 800

You’ve worked hard to get that 800+ credit score, so make sure you make the most of it. In addition to bragging rights, your exceptional credit score allows you to enjoy several financial benefits, including:

You are more likely to be approved when you apply for new credit.

Keep in mind that your credit score indicates your creditworthiness and the likelihood that you will repay the money you borrow. If you have a high credit rating, lenders will consider you less risky, which means you’re more likely to be approved for a line of credit or a loan.

You will qualify for lower interest rates and higher credit limits.

With a credit score over 800, you are considered very likely to pay off your debts, so lenders can give you better deals. This is true whether you’re getting a mortgage, a car loan, or trying to get a better interest rate on your credit card.

Typically, you’ll automatically be offered better terms for a mortgage or auto loan if you have an outstanding credit rating (assuming everything else is in order). If you have an existing loan, you may be able to refinance it at a better rate now that you have a high credit score. Like any refi, work out the numbers first to make sure the move makes financial sense.

Credit cards are different and you may need to ask for a better deal, especially if you’ve had the card for a while. If your credit score has recently reached over 800 or if you have never looked closely at your terms before, call your existing credit issuers, let them know your credit score and ask if they can lower the interest rate or increase your line of credit. Even if you don’t need a higher limit, it can make it easier to maintain a good credit utilization ratio (how much you owe versus your available credit).

You will qualify for better credit cards with better rewards.

Using the same credit card you’ve had for decades can be good for longer credit history, but you could be missing out on valuable benefits. With a credit score over 800, you could qualify for perks like access to airport lounges (ideal if you have a long layover), free breakfast at hotels, and the chance to earn cash. money and airline miles at a faster rate – for example, one and a half miles per dollar spent instead of the standard mile per dollar.

An easy way to find a better deal is to call your existing credit card issuer and ask if you qualify for another card with better rewards and perks. If so, your issuer can walk you through the application process (this may be something you can do over the phone or online) and switch you over to the new card. You can also research credit cards online to find the best one for you.

Checking your score

By law, you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the “big three” credit rating agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – every year. If you stagger your applications, you can get a credit report once every four months, allowing you to keep an eye on your credit report throughout the year. There’s only one place to get your free, federally mandated report: AnnualCreditReport.com.

Although your credit report does not include your FICO score, you may be able to check it for free if your credit card issuer participates in the FICO Score Open Access program. According to FICO, more than 200 financial institutions participate in the program, including Bank of America, Barclays, Citi, Discover, HSBC, Huntington Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC Bank and Wells Fargo.

If your credit card issuer participates, you’ll be able to check your score when you log into your online account, or it’ll be included in your monthly statement (or both). If you don’t have access to your credit score through your credit card issuer or other lender, you can purchase it online from one of the three scoring agencies or on myfico.com.

The essential

Your credit score affects your ability to get credit and the terms that lenders will offer you, such as the interest rate on a mortgage. Your score can also impact your job opportunities (employers often do credit checks) and housing options (landlords also do credit checks). Your score may even factor into the rate you pay for auto and home insurance. Because this number is so important, it’s a good idea to keep track of it and take steps to improve it, if necessary.

If you’re looking to join the 800+ club and are struggling to escape negative marks on your credit report, one of the best credit repair companies might be worth considering. Alternatively, if your credit is already outstanding and you’re worried it won’t stay that way, one of the best credit monitoring services could give you the peace of mind you need.

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