When you apply for a loan or credit card, most lenders check your FICO score — a credit scoring system created by the Fair Isaac Corporation. FICO credit scores range from 350 to 850 — here's how those scores break down:
- Poor credit: 350 to 579
- Fair credit: 580 to 669
- Good credit: 670 to 739
- Very good credit: 740 to 799
- Exceptional credit: 800 and above
With an 800 credit score, you'll be eligible for some of the easiest loan approvals, most attractive interest rates and best credit cards available. Once you've achieved excellent credit status, you can reap the benefits, but you'll still need to maintain your score. Here's what you need to do now to leverage and keep your exceptional credit score status.
9 Things to Do When Your Credit Score Is 800
When you have a top-tier credit score it might be tempting to make some bold financial moves, but you want to keep your score intact — so make only those that benefit your overall financial plan. Here are nine things you can do to benefit from and protect your 800 credit score:
1. Contact Your Credit Card Issuers
Now that you've achieved that exceptional credit score, it's time to negotiate with your creditors for better interest rates. Call each creditor and explain that you've been a loyal customer who has always paid on time and say you'd like to get a lower interest rate.
2. Shop for New Car Insurance
You could save serious money if you have an 800 credit score and shop around for new car insurance. Car insurance companies generally check credit scores to assess the likelihood of claims, according to HighYa, a website dedicated to educating consumers about companies' products and services. Contact your current provider, and others, to see what kind of premium rate reductions you can get with your impressive score.
3. Refinance Your Car or Home
Shop rates on auto and home loans if you're not happy with your current rate. The more your credit score has improved, the better rate offers you'll receive. Look for opportunities to prequalify for rates, which won't impact your credit score. Or, use the online myFICO calculator for auto and home loan savings to see how much you could save.
4. Consider Credit Cards for Top-Tier Credit Scores
Having one of the highest credit scores puts you in a unique position to research the different credit cards available to you. You might find that you can qualify for and benefit from better APRs and perks.
5. Keep Paying Your Bills on Time
Thirty-five percent of your FICO score is devoted to your payment history. Paying your bills by the due date without fail is critical to scoring high in this category. To ensure that you don't miss a payment, set up automatic payments and try to pay more than the minimum for best results.
6. Make Sure Your Credit Utilization Ratio Remains Low
The total amount of credit you have available compared with the amount you're utilizing counts for 30 percent of your score. Lenders typically like to see borrowers using no more than 30 percent of their available credit. For example, if you have a credit card with a $5,000 limit, don't utilize more than 30 percent — $1,500 — of it.
Find Out: Who Looks at Credit Scores?
7. Don’t Close Credit Card Accounts
Even if you rarely use a credit card you've had for years, don't close it. The length of your credit history counts for 15 percent of your credit score — it enables creditors to see that you can handle credit responsibly over a long period of time.
8. Don’t Apply for Credit You Don’t Need
New credit accounts for 10 percent of your FICO score. When you apply for new credit, it's considered a hard inquiry, which always impacts your score. When you have too many hard inquiries, your score can suffer. And even with an exceptional credit score of 800, you're only one point away from reducing your credit status to "very good."
9. Monitor and Protect Your Credit
It's essential that you regularly monitor your credit reports to ensure there is no wrong information on them that might ding your credit score — and if there is, make sure you dispute any errors. Consider enrolling in a credit monitoring service that will alert you when anything changes on your credit report. You can also order free copies of your credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com to make sure they contain completely accurate information.
In addition, you can sign up with an identity theft protection service, which will alert you anyone tries to make changes to your address, orders new services or applies for payday loans. Check out the Federal Trade Commission's advice regarding identity protection services to learn more.