Having an 800 credit score can help you in your financial, personal, and work life. With an excellent credit score you’ll qualify for the best credit products and can save money on interest and insurance rates.
While there are many different credit scoring models on the market and some lenders even use their own internal models, you’re most likely to come across the FICO and VantageScore models when it’s time for a credit check.
Both of these models view an 800 credit score as top tier: FICO scores from 800 to 850 are in the top range (exceptional) and VantageScores from 781 to 850 are the highest (excellent).
Having such a good credit score makes it easier to qualify for lending products and to secure the best interest rates and loan amounts. Let’s take a closer look at what it means to have an 800 credit score, what you can do with it and how to get your credit score that high.
Benefits of having an 800 credit score
There’s a few different ways that having a good credit score comes in handy, and it’s especially easy to qualify for these perks when you have one as high as 800.
Your credit score signals to lenders how creditworthy you are – the higher your credit score is, the more likely they are to lend you money at more favorable terms. Your credit score can affect your interest rate, your loan amount and your down payment. When you have a credit score of 800 – which is one of the highest scores you can have – you’re much more likely to qualify for the best lending products with the lowest interest rates, which can save you a bundle over the life of a loan.
Finding a job
Employers often review the credit reports of applicants who will handle finances if they are hired. Even if you won’t be managing money as a part of your job, some employers review credit reports to see how reliable and responsible you are.
Having a clean credit report (which typically results in a high score) will confirm that you can manage your finances, are reliable and likely won’t run into distracting financial troubles that can harm your work performance. This type of credit check won’t count as a hard inquiry, so your credit score will not be impacted at all if they pull your report.
Finding an apartment, insurance and utilities
Landlords review applicants’ credit reports to make sure they have a history of paying their bills on time before letting them move in. Utility companies also look for a history of on-time payments before deciding to work with a consumer. And insurance companies check out credit reports to see how responsible a potential customer is and will typically issue better insurance rates for customers with higher scores.
What to do with an 800 credit score
If you have an 800 credit score, congratulations are in order. Here’s what you can do with it:
Ask for lower interest rates, higher credit limits
The first thing Wayne Sanford, owner of the Texas-based credit counseling firm Credit Bureau Investigations, recommends doing is contacting your current credit issuers to see if they can offer you a better deal.
“Call up and say, ‘I just checked my credit score and it was above 780, so why am I still paying this high interest rate?’ A good chunk of them will drop the rate down for you,” he says. And if that doesn’t work and you’re carrying a high-interest balance, it may be a good time to look into a 0% balance transfer card deal, or look into applying for a new, low APR card.
While you’re on the line with your credit card issuer, you also can ask for an increase to your credit line. If successful, this is a good win since it can make maintaining a great credit utilization ratio (more on this in a minute) a bit easier if you tend to carry balances on your cards from time to time.
Upgrade to better credit cards
Some people like the status quo, sticking with the same cards they first opened in their early 20s. While that’s great for length of credit history purposes, you could be missing out on big rewards and benefits – especially with a soaring score.
“Excellent credit scores will qualify you for the latest rare metal or expensive jewel-named cards – whether it’s platinum or diamond or black,” says Rod Griffin, director of public education for Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus. To see which cards you now qualify for, use CreditCards.com’s CardMatch tool. By inputting a few key details, CardMatch will pull up card offers based on your credit standing and no hard inquiries are generated.
Beyond the prestige, there are VIP perks that you can unlock, says Michael Foguth, founder of Foguth Financial Group, a Michigan-based retirement planning firm. “These cards allow you into exclusive lounges in the airport, access to your own concierge, free breakfast in hotels and more,” he says.
Do a loan and insurance checkup
From home mortgages to auto loans to student loans, a great credit score can also put you in a prime position to refinance for a better interest rate, says Foguth. “Look at the largest interest rates you’re paying, and renegotiate those.”
Likewise, Griffin recommends checking in with your auto and home insurance companies and comparing quotes from other insurers. “Credit scores have been developed for the insurance industry, and they use that information to help them set rates when you first become a customer,” he says. Sometimes switching over once your credit has improved can pay off.
How to get an 800 credit score
Achieving an 800 credit score takes time, work and a whole lot of patience. Here’s a few steps you can take to start building a better credit score.
Decrease your credit utilization ratio
Your credit utilization ratio compares how much credit you have available to you to how much you’re currently using – the lower this ratio is, the more your credit score will benefit. Paying off debt on a revolving form of credit such as a credit card or home equity line of credit (HELOC) can help you lower your utilization ratio.
Generally, you want to keep this ratio below 30%, but the lower you can get it the more your credit score will improve. Lowering your credit utilization ratio is one of the faster ways to improve your credit score – you should see a boost fairly soon after you lower it by paying off debt.
Become an authorized user
If a low credit score is making it hard for you to qualify for the credit products you need to improve your credit score, you can ask a trusted friend or family member to add you as an authorized user to one of their credit card accounts. When they make on-time payments to their credit card, your credit score will benefit.
Be careful here though: If they don’t make payments on-time you’ll risk hurting your credit score. The account holder will have the option of letting the authorized user have a copy of the credit card or they can choose to not let them make any charges.
Open a credit-builder loan or secured credit card
With a secured credit card you make a deposit before you can use it and your credit limit is set at the deposit amount. For example, if you made a deposit of $500 you can only spend $500 until you pay the card off and reset your credit limit. Even though a secured credit card acts more like a debit card, you can have your payments reported to the three main credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax).
Credit-builder loans are designed to help improve credit scores. They are usually issued in small loan amounts, and you take one out only for the purpose of paying it back and building your credit history.
Make on-time payments
Paying your bills on time is the most effective way to increase your credit score. Make all debt payments on time month after month and you’ll see your credit score rise over time.
Limit credit inquiries
If possible, avoid applying for multiple types of credit products at once. When you apply to borrow money, the lender will do a hard credit inquiry, which can hurt your credit score. If you are shopping around for one type of credit product (like an auto loan) during a short period of time, however, all of those applications only count as one hard credit inquiry because the credit bureaus know you’re being a savvy consumer by shopping for the best rates.
Where you run into trouble is if you start applying for new credit cards, personal loans, auto loans and home loans all in the same time period. Applying for too many credit products at once signals to the credit bureaus that you need to borrow money and may be struggling financially.
Having an 800 credit score can make your financial, work and personal life a whole lot simpler. It signals that you have one of the highest possible credit scores, which means you’re much more likely to qualify for the best lending products and the lowest interest rates. Another bonus is that you shouldn’t run into any trouble with potential employers, landlords or utility companies.