Credit Cards For Excellent Credit

Excellent credit (740-850) means excellent rewards. Browse the best excellent credit offers from our partners with lower rates, better introductory offers, and exclusive perks. Find your perfect match and apply simply and securely. For even more options be sure to check out the top credit cards this month from our partners.

See best credit card offers for people with excellent credit from our partners below.

Summary

2018's best credit cards for excellent credit:

Updated: June 22, 2018

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

43,662 Reviews

Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
at Bank of America's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
$150
?

$150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74% variable

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Highlights

  • No annual fee
  • $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter
  • No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%
  • Easily add your Mastercard® credit card to any digital wallet for a simple, secure, and convenient way to pay online, in-app, and in-store

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles
Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% Intro APR for 12 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days

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NEW - UP TO $100 CREDIT FOR TSA PRE✔® OR GLOBAL ENTRY

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
at Capital One's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
50,000 miles
?

50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee
$95, waived first year
Regular APR
14.49% - 24.49% variable

Show Less

Highlights

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
14.49% - 24.49% (Variable)
Intro Balance Transfers APR
N/A

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Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

26,257 Reviews

See Rates & Fees

Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
at Discover's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
Cashback Match
?

Discover will match all the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
13.49% - 24.49% variable

See Rates & Fees

Show Less

Highlights

  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Receive Free Social Security number alerts—Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No annual fee.

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 14 months
Regular APR
13.49% - 24.49% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% for 14 months

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Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

14,707 Reviews

Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
at Chase's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
$150
?

Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
16.49% - 25.24% variable

Show Less

Highlights

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Regular APR
16.49% - 25.24% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

7,759 Reviews

Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
at Chase's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
50,000 points
?

Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee
$95, waived first year
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% variable

Show Less

Highlights

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Regular APR
17.49% - 24.49% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
N/A

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Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply

Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
at American Express's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
$150
?

$150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
14.74% - 25.74% variable

See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply

Show Less

Highlights

  • $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores, 1% back on other purchases.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%.
  • Over 1.5 million more places in the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in 2017.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits, gift cards, and merchandise.
  • No annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% on Purchases for 15 months
Regular APR
14.74%-25.74% Variable
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% on Balance Transfers for 15 months

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Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
at Wells Fargo's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
$200
?

Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
14.74% - 26.74% variable

Show Less

Highlights

  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Android Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 14.74%-26.74% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 12 months
Regular APR
14.74%-26.74% (Variable)
Intro Balance Transfers APR
0% for 12 months

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Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
at Capital One's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
20,000 miles
?

20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
13.49% - 23.49% variable

Show Less

Highlights

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.49%-23.49% variable APR after that
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% intro on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)
Intro Balance Transfers APR
N/A

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Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

11,756 Reviews

Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850) ? CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
at Bank of America's Secure Site

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
20,000 points
?

20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
16.49% - 24.49% variable

Show Less

Highlights

  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire
  • 20,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $200 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want – you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for flights, hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars, or baggage fees
  • Comes with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases, then 16.49% - 24.49% Variable APR
  • Get an additional 10% customer points bonus on every purchase when you have an active Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%

Rates & Fees

Annual Fee
$0
Intro Purchase APR
0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles
Regular APR
16.49% - 24.49% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Intro Balance Transfers APR
N/A

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Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank's website for the most current information.


Comparing Credit Card Offers for Excellent Credit

Updated: June 22, 2018

Cards that require excellent credit can be among the best in the market. They can also be among the most expensive by way of an annual fee (but not always). Travel cards, cash back cards, balance transfer cards – the options are plentiful. We researched over 1,500 credit cards where excellent credit is needed to get approved and used the criteria below to choose the best cards. Want to learn more? Here, we look at:

We'll walk you through each step of the process for deciding the best credit card for you in the excellent credit range. Let us know what other questions you have!


Review Summary: Best Credit Cards for Excellent Credit of 2018

Excellent Credit CardTop BenefitsCreditCards.com RatingAnnual Fee
Chase Freedom® UnlimitedCash Back, Sign-up Bonus3.4 / 5$0
Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit CardRewards on Gas, Groceries3.8 / 5$0
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit CardHotel Booking, Large Miles Bonus4.4 / 5$0 intro for first year, then $95
Discover it® Cashback Match™Online Shopping, Rotating Rewards4.1 / 5$0
Chase Freedom®Rotating Rewards, Sign-up Bonus3.4 / 5$0
Chase Sapphire Preferred® CardFlexible Travel Rewards, Large Sign-up Bonus4.2 / 5$0 intro for first year, then $95
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressU.S. Supermarkets, U.S. Gas Stations3.3 / 5$0
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® CardCash Bonus, Mobile Pay3.5 / 5$0
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit CardBonus Miles, No Foreign Transaction Fee3.6 / 5$0
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit CardNo Annual Fee, Booking Trips3.4 / 5$0

Applicants with excellent credit are eligible for top credit card offers from issuers like Capital One, Chase, and American Express. One of our favorites is the Chase Freedom Unlimited - which gets you 1.5% cash back on all purchases all the time (and you can pair it with a Chase Sapphire card to earn valuable Ultimate Rewards points). Explore a wide array of superb cards right here on CreditCards.com; compare offers and apply today to begin earning rewards.

Methodology: how we got to the best cards

Credit cards for excellent credit analyzed: 1,526

Criteria used: Credit needed, rewards rates, rewards categories, sign-up bonus, point values (if any), redemption options and flexibility, annual fee, other rates and fees, customer service, application process, miscellaneous benefits

Details on our top picks: the best credit cards for excellent credit

Chase Freedom® Unlimited

As a top tier cash back card, Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a solid 1.5% back on all purchases without the need to worry about rotating categories or keep track of different rates. It's a pretty sweet deal, especially considering there's no annual fee to deal with.

A highly versatile card, the Freedom Unlimited also comes with a $150 sign-up bonus (after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months) and can double as a cost-effective balance transfer card with its 0% intro APR period of 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (regular APR of 16.49% - 25.24% variable).

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Cash Rewards card is a true no-nonsense credit card. Like the Freedom Unlimited, it has a straightforward sign-up bonus: spend $500 in purchases in your first 90 days to earn $150 cash back.

However, its rewards rate structure is slightly different with varying tiers for major categories: 3% on gas, 2% on groceries and wholesale clubs (for the first $2,500 in combined purchases each quarter), and 1% on everything else. Keep in mind, there is a $2,500 limit in combined purchases per quarter on groceries/wholesale/gas before they fall to the 1% cash back rate.

Fortunately, there is no need to worry about expiration on your rewards. It is worth noting that if you are a BofA checking or savings customer, you can earn an extra 10% (or more, depending on your BofA Preferred Rewards status) when redeeming cash back to one of your checking/savings accounts.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

With the Venture card, we are venturing into the territory of truly premium credit cards. That means even more perks, higher sign-up bonuses, and rewards, but it also means the card comes with an annual fee of $95. However, this fee is waived for the first year and the sign-up bonus and rewards more than make up for it.

A larger sign-up bonus of 50,000 miles (equal to $500) is awarded upon spending $3,000 in your first 3 months. Meanwhile, you also earn unlimited 2 miles per dollar on all purchases – notice how this is a step higher from the 1.5 points per dollar rate on many of the top flat-rate cash back cards. Last but certainly not least, the Venture also earns 10 miles per dollar on purchases through hotels.com/venture.

Discover it® Cashback Match™

Much like the aforementioned Chase Freedom, the Discover it Cashback Match earns 5% cash back on different categories each quarter, and 1% back on everything else. Like the Chase Freedom, it has no annual fee and no expiration on rewards.

However, the Discover it Cashback Match is very much a unique card in its own right. Its name refers to perhaps its most distinguishing feature: at the end of your first year, Discover will automatically match every single cent of cash back you've earned throughout the year. Talk about making a statement – in the absence of a sign-up bonus, this is not a bad introductory offer at all.

Chase Freedom®

A popular card among new and experienced cardholders alike, the Chase Freedom certainly has a lot to offer. Besides its $150 sign-up bonus (same requirements as the Chase Freedom Unlimited), its biggest selling point is its cash back rate of 5% on select categories of purchases which rotate quarterly, and 1% back on everything outside of those categories.

With no annual fee, a solid intro 0% APR period of 15 months (then 16.49% - 25.24% variable APR), and new 5% categories to look forward to every quarter, it's easy to see why the Chase Freedom has found a home in so many consumers' wallets.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

A worthy competitor of the Capital One Venture card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred also has a $95 annual fee that is waived for your first year. With the CSP, the sign-up bonus comes out to 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. That is worth $625 dollars when redeeming these points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Indeed, being able to redeem points for 1.25x their base value via the Ultimate Rewards portal is a major selling point of this luxury card. You also won't have to worry about any blackout dates or restrictions when booking travel through the portal. Lastly, CSP cardholders can look forward to earning 2 points per dollar on travel and dining worldwide, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Although its $150 sign-up bonus comes with a higher spend requirement ($1,000 in 3 months) than some of our other top picks, the Blue Cash Everyday is an iconic credit card in its own right. This is largely due to its generous 3% cash back rate at U.S. supermarkets, making it a perfect choice for groceries. Its 2% cash back rate at gas stations and select department stores in the U.S. is also noteworthy, as is the 1% cash back on everything else.

Coming in at an annual fee of $0, the BCE has a lot to offer as a daily driver. It's also another viable option for balance transfers with a 0% intro APR for 15 months then a variable rate, currently 14.74% to 25.74%.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card

In a field packed with $150 sign-up bonuses, the Cash Wise stands out with its $200 intro bonus. For comparison, that's $50 more than the sign-up bonus offered by the Blue Cash Everyday which requires the same $1,000 spend in the first three months.

In a nutshell, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise card's biggest selling points are: 1) the sizeable $200 sign-up bonus, 2) no annual fee, 3) unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and 4) 1.8% cash back on qualifying mobile purchases. Just keep in mind that you can only redeem cash back in $25 increments.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

The VentureOne comes with a solid sized 20,000 bonus miles when you reach $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. With no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and a solid rewards rate of 1.25 miles per dollar spent, the VentureOne is a superb option for folks with excellent credit.

But the real kicker is its unparalleled rewards rate for booking hotels. When you pay with your VentureOne card at hotels.com/venture, you earn 10 (ten) miles per dollar spent. This elevates the VentureOne as a top contender among the many attractive offers put forth by credit card companies vying for excellent credit customers.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

The Travel Rewards card is great for those who value a straightforward offer without any hassle. Its 20,000 bonus points offer (awarded after $1,000 spend in first 90 days of account opening) sits at a very respectable size while its simple rewards rate of 1.5 points per dollar is easy to remember. There's no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and no expiration on points – in other words, no worries.

Consumers who already bank with or plan on banking with BofA should strongly consider adding this credit card to their wallet. There's a 10% points bonus for cardholders with a Bank of America checking or savings account, even higher if you have Preferred Rewards status.

What is excellent credit

The answer to this question varies from lender to lender. Each lender decides what an “excellent” credit score range is and what constitutes a risk. Lenders depend on credit scoring agencies to assign scores to potential customers. The scores from FICO and VantageScore are the most frequently used, and each has their own ranges and threshold for excellent credit. A FICO score above 800 or a VantageScore above 750 is considered excellent:

FICO score ranges

300-579Very poor
580-669Fair
670-739Good
740-799Very good
800-850Exceptional

VantageScore ranges

300-549Very poor
550-649Poor
650-699Fair
740-749Good
750-850Excellent

What determines an excellent credit score?

Your credit score is based on information in your credit report. Lenders assign the highest scores to consumers who pose the lowest risks – that is, consumers who consistently pay their bills on time and carry small amounts of debt compared to their overall borrowing capacities. Here’s a breakdown of their credit scoring criteria and the weight placed on each factor for FICO and VantageScore (see below for an explanation of each factor):

FICO scoring criteriaVantageScore scoring criteria
Payment history (35%)Payment history (extremely influential)
Credit utilization and total debt owed (30%)Credit utilization (highly influential)
Length of credit history (15%)Length of credit history and type of credit (highly influential)
Type of credit (10%)Total debt owed (moderately influential)
New credit accounts and recent credit inquiries (10%)Recent credit inquiries (less influential)

Available credit (less influential)

Payment history

Making payments on time is the most important aspect of a credit score. This portion of your score factors in the frequency of late or missed payments and the length of each delinquency. The more severe, recent and frequent your late payments, the larger the impact on your score. You need to be scrupulous about paying your bills by the due date if you want to push your score into the excellent range – your credit history should show no recent late payments. Seriously delinquent payments stay on your credit report for seven years, so one serious mistake is enough to keep you out of the “excellent” credit category.

Credit utilization

The amount of credit that you are currently using is the next greatest factor in your credit score. Lenders look at the total amount that you owe on each of your accounts compared to your credit limit, and the total that you owe overall compared to your overall credit limit. Revolving debt, including credit cards, is an especially important consideration in this portion of your score. The general guideline is to keep your revolving balances under 30 percent of your available credit limit. The lower, the better.

Length of credit history

The age of your accounts is a less-important, but still significant factor in your score. This portion of the score factors in the age of your oldest account, the average age of your accounts and the age of specific types of accounts such as credit card accounts, car loans and mortgages. To achieve an excellent score, you need to be especially careful about shutting down long-standing accounts, and you shouldn’t open too many new accounts at once, since this can drag down the average age of your accounts.

Types of credit

The types of accounts under your name (also referred to as your “credit mix”) gets a smaller amount of weighting in your score. FICO and VantageScore give higher scores to consumers who have a diversity of credit, including credit cards, installment loans and mortgages. To get your score into excellent rage, you should make sure you have multiple types of credit in your credit history, including a couple of credit cards, a mortgage or an installment loan (e.g., a loan for a car or furniture purchase).

Recent credit inquiries

Your number of recent credit inquiries is a small factor in both your FICO score and VantageScore. You should be careful about applying for new credit cards. Make sure you can qualify before you apply and try not to apply for a lot of cards all at once, as this can cause your score to drop. Note, this part of the score only looks at “hard inquiries” on your credit report. “Soft” inquiries (inquiries you did not initiate by a credit application) do not count. Also, the impact to your score from a hard inquiry tends to be temporary – it usually bounces back quickly.

New credit accounts (FICO only)

FICO factors in the number of new accounts that you’ve opened recently as a small part of your score. To nudge your score up, you should be careful not to open too many new accounts in a brief period.

Total debt owed (VantageScore only)

The total debt that you owe isn’t nearly as important as how much of your credit you are utilizing, but lenders do look at the total amount that you owe on all your accounts. In general, you should try to minimize your account balances to increase your credit score.

Available credit (VantageScore only)

For VantageScore in specific, having too much available credit can negatively impact your score. You should avoid taking out more credit than you need, but, you should also weigh this factor against other factors, including credit utilization and account age, which have a much larger impact on your score. Having a lot of available credit also works to improve your credit utilization ratio. Furthermore, older accounts – though you may no longer need them – add to the length of your credit history, so you should think twice before closing them in attempt to reduce your available credit.

Why should I care about my credit score?

Simply put, you should care about your credit score because it’s worth a lot of money – an excellent credit score can save you thousands upon thousands of dollars over time.

Lenders use your credit score to determine your creditworthiness, as well as the conditions of your loan, including the interest rate. A good credit score can help you finance valuable purchases – such as a home – which you can use to build wealth. An excellent credit score can help you get a prime interest rate on the mortgage for that home, which can save you thousands of dollars over 30 years, compared to a merely good interest rate.

Also, credit card issuers will offer you special perks and bonuses based on your credit score to encourage you to apply for their products. If you have an excellent credit score, you can qualify for sign-up bonuses worth hundreds or thousands of dollars. You can use your credit card rewards to finance vacations and hotel stays at sharply reduced or even no cost.

What should I look for in a credit card if I have excellent credit?

If you are a cardholder with excellent credit, you are a coveted customer for credit card issuers. Credit card companies will ply you with generous offers and may even target you with special offers that can amount to twice the value of their publicly advertised offers. You can use your credit score to your advantage to score hundreds of dollars of rewards or 0-percent financing. Here are some hallmarks of a great credit card offer:

  • Sign-up bonus
    A credit card’s sign-up bonus is the card issuer’s biggest maneuver for getting your business, and can be one of the most valuable features on the card, worth hundreds of dollars, or even more than $1,000. For a points- or miles-based rewards card, keep an eye out for offers of 50,000 points or more. For cash back cards, you should be able to land a sign-up bonus of at least $150.
  • Ongoing rewards
    You will also be offered generous rewards on your ongoing purchases. In today’s market, you should qualify for a card that offers at least at an average of 1.5 percent back on every dollar (when you combine all the bonus categories), and you should be on the lookout for cards with 2 percent rewards rates. If you’re savvy on how you earn and use your rewards, you can push your earning rate even higher.
  • 0-percent financing
    You should also be able to find some plum deals for financing a balance transfer or a new purchase at 0-percent. While the average introductory period lasts for 12 months, you may qualify for introductory periods of 18 months or even longer.
  • Perks and benefits
    On top of rewards and 0-percent financing, your list of benefits should extend beyond the standard list of Mastercard or Visa benefits. Depending on the type of card and whether it charges an annual fee, you should expect to have a full list of travel and purchase protections, special perks such as concierge services and presale tickets for events and – for luxury cards – lounge access and hundreds of dollars in travel credits.
  • Interest rates
    You should qualify for the lowest interest rate on the card. “Lowest,” of course, depends on the type of card. A true low interest card might start at 8 or 11 percent. Rewards cards, which tend to be pricier, start around 14 to 16 percent.

How many of people have excellent credit?

According to data from Experian, only 20 to 30 percent of cardholders fall with the excellent credit range (depending on the scoring system). 19.9 percent of cardholders have a FICO score above 800, and 30.3 percent of cardholders have a Vantage score above 750:

Cardholder score ranges

FICO scorePercent of cardholdersVantageScorePercent of cardholders
300-579 (very poor)17%300-549 (very poor)16.7%
580-669 (fair)20.2%550-649 (poor)34.1%
670-739 (good)21.5%650-699 (fair)18.3%
740-799 (very good)18.2%700-749 (good)12.6%
800-850 (exceptional)19.9%750-850 (excellent)30.3%

Types of rewards that excellent credit consumers are typically eligible for

If you have a credit score that falls within the excellent range, you are eligible for your pick of rewards. You should be able to qualify for almost any rewards card, including travel, airline, hotel and cash back cards. You should also qualify for high-end luxury cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Platinum, Citi Prestige or Mastercard Black card.

How to build and maintain an excellent credit score

With time, patience and responsible use of credit, you can easily take your credit score from good to great. Here are some suggestions for tipping your score over the excellent mark:

Pay your bills on time

Since payment history is the biggest factor in your credit score, you need to be especially careful about paying your bills on time – especially the balances on your credit cards or loans, since lenders report your account balances and payments monthly. Pay your bills early to make sure you meet the due date and set up automatic payments to ensure you at least pay the minimum amount by the due date.

Keep your credit utilization low

Credit utilization is the next biggest factor in your credit score, so you need to keep the balances on your accounts low. The lower your balances, the better. If you make a large purchase, pay your bill off immediately. Pay your bill in full at the end of the month and try to send in your payment before the statement closing date.

Sign up for credit cards and use them

Credit cards, when used responsibly, can be a great tool for building and maintaining a credit history. If you sign up for a card and maintain a low balance on it, you can improve your overall debt to credit ratio. And, if you use your card and pay it off each month, you can create a history of timely payments.

Don’t apply for too many cards at once

That said, don’t go wild with your credit card applications, since each application results in a hard inquiry to your account, which can temporarily lower your credit score. Be selective in which cards you apply for and make sure you can qualify for a card before you apply.

Sign up for a mix of credit products

Applying for different types of credit products can help boost your score. Make sure you have at least a couple credit cards to your name, and, in addition to credit cards, consider applying for an installment loan (if you have a student loan, it counts as an installment loan). When you purchase a new car or a piece furniture, finance a portion of the purchase and pay it off over a few months. Or, you can take out a credit building loan – a small bank loan specifically designed to build credit history – to pad your credit report.

Become an authorized user

Becoming an authorized user on another cardholder’s account can be the fastest track to an excellent credit score. Once you’re added to a card, the entire history for the account becomes part of your credit report. If the primary cardholder has a long history of on-time payments and low credit utilization, it could jump-start your credit history.

A couple of caveats: You should make sure that the card has a clean record, since you will also inherit any negative marks on the account. And, if you are cardholder thinking of adding an authorized user to your account, you should be extremely careful about handing out cards to additional users, since you will be responsible for any balances they put on the cards.

Keep a close eye on your credit

Check your credit card accounts and check your credit report often to map your progress and to keep an eye out for any problems or inaccuracies. For instance, if you find that you are using more than 30 percent of your available credit in one month, you should try to scale back your card use the next month.

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