Having a high credit score might not make you a VIP at the airport or at the hottest restaurant in town. However, being a member of the elite 800 Credit Score Club comes with plenty of its own perks.
You’ll have low interest rates on every loan you apply for. Your credit cards will have higher credit limits. And you’ll be eligible for the best rewards programs in existence.
When you realize how much money you save because of these benefits, you’ll definitely prefer this VIP list to any other. We’ll take you step-by-step and show you exactly how you can get your credit score in the 800s.
What is the 800 Credit Score Club?
The 800 credit score club is an informal term for individuals with the very highest credit scores. It’s a coveted circle of consumers who enjoy the highest level of financial trust from lenders, translating into real-life benefits, such as lower interest rates and higher credit limits.
FICO credit scores range from 300 to 850. So, if your credit scores are above 800, they are among the best of the best.
In fact, only about 18% of Americans can count themselves as members of this prestigious group. Several factors contribute to such a strong credit score, and many of them take both time and strategy.
But by putting some forethought into how you manage your finances, it’s entirely possible to increase your credit score dramatically. And if you’re going to have a goal, why not aim high?
The Benefits of an 800+ Credit Score
An 800 credit score or higher can open the door to numerous benefits. Lower interest rates on loans and credit cards can save you a significant amount of money over time. A high score can also give you more negotiating power when discussing loan terms or credit limits with lenders.
Higher credit limits can also be a perk of excellent credit. Your credit card issuer is more likely to approve a limit increase if you have a history of responsible credit use. An 800 credit score can also make it easier to get approved for rental houses and apartments, and may even help you secure better rates on insurance policies.
Understanding Credit Scores
Credit scores are numerical evaluations based on information provided by the three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Lenders use them to gauge your creditworthiness.
A FICO credit score, one of the most common types, ranges from 300 to 850. Your score is determined by several factors including:
- Payment history
- Credit utilization
- Length of credit history
- New credit
- Credit mix
An 800 credit score is considered “exceptional” in the FICO score range, indicating to lenders that you’re an extremely trustworthy borrower.
How to Get an 800+ Credit Score (10 Steps)
To get your FICO score up to at least 800, you need to look at your credit report strategically. All the information contained in your credit report contributes directly to how your credit score is calculated.
So, you’ll need to know what you should have on your credit report and how to get it on there. When you do this, your credit score will automatically increase to reflect those positive items. Let’s take a look at each tactic, one by one.
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1. Review Your Credit Report
Preparing for the 800 Credit Score Club begins with requesting and reviewing your free credit report every 12 months. While the free report doesn’t include your credit score, it allows you to verify the accuracy of your information and potentially spot identity theft.
Ensure you request reports from all three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. You can do so yearly from AnnualCreditReport.com, a valuable tool to monitor your journey to the 800 Credit Score Club.
Remember, joining the 800 Credit Score Club enhances your prospects of achieving your financial goals. With planning, persistence, and potentially a few phone calls, you’ll be surprised by the progress you can make in boosting your credit score, eventually entering the esteemed 800 Credit Score Club.
2. Be Consistent with Your Payments
Paying your bills on time is the single most important thing you can do for your credit score. Payment history makes up 35% of your credit score. And this doesn’t just apply to your personal loan and credit card payments!
Many types of businesses can report delinquent payments, including cell phone carriers and utility companies. Consider setting up automatic payments with your credit card issuer or loan provider to avoid missing due dates. Remember, even one or two missed payments can significantly impact your credit score.
How Late Payments Impact Your Credit Score
Late payments, especially those over 30 days late, can negatively affect your credit score. The severity of the impact escalates with the lateness: 30 days, 60 days, or 90 days. Each tier signifies a greater drop in your score.
While a single 30 or 60-day late payment may not significantly harm your score and its effect diminishes after two years, consistent late payments can cause substantial damage. This is because the scoring model is designed to predict the likelihood of a 90-day delinquency.
Once you reach a 90-day delay, your credit score may suffer for up to seven years. If your account is forwarded to a collection agency, expect a considerable drop in your score.
Aiming for the 800 Credit Score Club? Prioritize timely payments by closely monitoring your payment history and monthly due dates. Remember, punctuality in payments is key.
3. Get Negative Information Removed From Your Credit Reports
If you happen to have negative items on your credit reports, it is possible to get them removed. You have a couple of different options.
- Request a goodwill adjustment from the creditor responsible for the late payment report, especially effective for loyal customers with rare late payments.
- If you still owe the debt, negotiate removal of the item from your credit report by agreeing to automatic payments.
- Dispute inaccurate or unverifiable late payment entries. Legally, you can challenge any data on your credit reports deemed inaccurate, incomplete, unverifiable, obsolete, or questionable by disputing with the credit bureaus. Credit repair companies can assist with this process.
4. Pay Attention to the Amount of Debt You Owe
After your payment history, the amount of credit you utilize (or the amount of debt you owe), is the most important determinant of your FICO credit score.
Total debt actually accounts for 30% of your entire FICO score. So, this one is important, and it does take a little more strategy than simply paying all of your bills on time.
Maintain a Low Credit Utilization
Credit utilization refers to how much debt you’re carrying relative to your total available credit limit across all your credit card accounts. An ideal credit utilization ratio is generally considered to be 30% or less, meaning you should aim to use no more than 30% of your total credit limit at any given time.
One way to keep your credit utilization low is by paying off your credit card balances in full each month. Additionally, keeping old credit accounts open, even if they’re not actively used, can also help lower your average utilization rate.
5. Don’t Open Unnecessary Accounts
In your quest to join the 800 Credit Score Club, don’t make the rookie mistake of opening extra accounts just to increase your available credit. This hurts your credit score in a couple of different ways.
Every time you apply for new credit, the lender performs a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can temporarily lower your credit score. Too many hard inquiries in a short period signal to lenders that you might be a higher-risk borrower.
However, it’s important to note that not all new credit is bad. For instance, taking out a personal loan to consolidate high-interest credit card debt could potentially improve your credit score over time by lowering your credit utilization.
6. Lengthen Your Credit History
Lenders like to see a long and varied credit history. Keeping older accounts open, even if they’re not in use, can positively impact the length of your credit history. Regular use of different types of credit, like credit cards, auto loans, and student loan debt, can also diversify your credit and improve your overall score.
7. Diversify Your Credit Mix
Having a variety of credit types—credit cards, personal loans, an auto loan, etc.—can show lenders that you’re capable of managing different kinds of debt responsibly. This, in turn, can boost your credit score.
Remember, though, that each credit application could lead to a hard inquiry by the lender, so balance the benefits of diversifying your credit mix with the potential short-term impacts on your score.
8. Increase Your Credit Limit
If you want additional credit available on your credit cards, you can ask your credit card issuer for a credit limit increase.
As long as you’ve paid on time and have been a good customer, you’ll probably be a strong candidate for getting a higher limit on your credit card. That helps your debt-to-credit ratio without hurting your length of credit.
While you’re on the phone with the credit card company, see if you can negotiate a lower rate. It won’t help your credit scores, but it will help your wallet! Even better if you put those extra savings towards paying off your debt faster (which will also help your credit scores.)
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9. Regularly Check Your Credit Reports
Mistakes happen, and sometimes they appear on your credit reports. That’s why it’s crucial to review your credit reports regularly. Each of the three credit bureaus is legally obligated to provide you with a free credit report once per year, which you can obtain from annualcreditreport.com.
If you discover errors, such as incorrect credit card balances or inaccurately reported missed payments, dispute them immediately. These inaccuracies can drag down your credit score, so it’s important to correct them as soon as possible.
10. Lifestyle Changes for Better Credit
Your overall financial health is intrinsically linked to your credit score. By creating and sticking to a budget, you can ensure that you always have funds available for every monthly payment. Building an emergency fund can also help you avoid relying on credit in a financial pinch, which can lead to higher credit utilization or missed payments.
Reaching the 800 credit score club is an achievable goal with diligence, patience, and smart financial habits. Remember, the journey to exceptional credit is a marathon, not a sprint. With a solid understanding of the factors affecting your credit score and a plan to address each one, you can steadily climb the credit ladder.
Even after you achieve an 800 credit score, continue to make timely payments, maintain low credit utilization, check your credit reports for errors, and make smart decisions about new credit. Your hard-earned excellent credit is a reflection of your overall financial health—preserve it by continuing to make wise financial decisions.