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What is considered excellent credit


5 Things to Consider Doing When Your Credit Score Reaches 760

Having a high credit score opens the door to a lot of money-saving opportunities.

By Beverly Harzog , Credit Card Expert | Feb. 22, 2019, at 9:04 a.m.

A higher credit score gives you better footing to negotiate your terms, so don’t be shy about giving your issuer a call. (Getty Images)

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You finally made it! You’ve got a 760 credit score, and that means you’re approaching exceptional in the eyes of FICO.

I’m talking about your score, not you personally. Oh, OK, you’re exceptional, too! Now that you’re feeling good about yourself and your credit, what should you do next?

You can do nothing, of course, if your credit life is all puppies and rainbows. But if there are financial areas of your life that could use a little upgrade, then right now is a good time to make it happen.

Negotiate for Better Terms on Your Credit Cards

If you applied for credit cards when your score was 670, or maybe even 700, then you probably have an annual percentage rate that’s too high. This is easy to solve.

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Call your issuer and explain that you’ve worked super hard on your credit and your score is now near the exceptional range. Have you received offers for other credit cards recently? Often, when your score goes up, you enter a new credit category, and that gets the attention of financial institutions.

When you call to ask for a lower APR (and maybe a credit limit increase, too), if the issuer resists, let it know that you’re getting offers for comparable cards with lower APRs.

This is a little like dating. When you’re in demand, everyone wants you. So don’t be afraid to use a little leverage to get top rates.

Apply for a Better Credit Card

Does your new credit status make a current credit card obsolete? This can happen if you still have a secured card or a card targeting those with fair credit. In some cases, you can ask to be upgraded within the same brand.

For example, maybe you got a Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards credit card when you had fair credit. Call and ask if you can be upgraded to the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, which is for consumers with excellent credit and offers better rewards.

Or maybe you love to travel and you’ve had your eye on the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for a long time. When you go for elite rewards cards, just make sure you factor in annual fees. If the card is a good fit for you, your rewards will most likely exceed the annual fee.

Refinance Your Mortgage and Reduce Your Monthly Payment

OK, this is a big one. According to FICO, with a score of 639, you’d get a 5.63 percent interest rate. On a $216,000 home with a 30-year fixed mortgage, you’d pay $1,244 per month (minus other monthly payments).

Now look at how much you save with a 760 credit score: Your rate is now 4.04 percent, and your monthly payment is $1,036. That’s a monthly savings of $208. Your annual savings? A whopping $2,496. It would be nice to tuck those savings away in an emergency fund, wouldn’t it?

Your savings, of course, depend on what your score was when you applied for your current mortgage. But run the numbers and see how much you can reduce your monthly payment. When you do your analysis, don’t forget to add the costs of refinancing, which can include application fees, origination fees and other closing costs.

Pay Off Credit Card Debt Without Paying Interest

That $5,000 balance you have on a credit card with a 19 percent APR? No problem.

Now that you and your credit score are deemed exceptional, you can qualify for the top balance transfer credit cards. Right now, the best cards are offering zero percent introductory APRs that last between 12 and 21 months.

Let’s say you get approved for a credit card that has a zero percent introductory APR for 21 months. Let’s also say that the issuer charges a 3 percent balance transfer fee, which will cost $150 ($5,000 x .03).

To pay this off during the intro period, you need to calculate your monthly payment. Don’t freak out about the math. It’s really simple:

Total amount you owe: $5,000 + $150 (transfer fee) = $5,150.

Your monthly payment: $5,150 / 21 = $245.24. So, you pay $245.24 per month, and by the end of 21 months, your debt is paid off. And guess what? As your balance is going down, your credit score is going up even more.

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Revisit Your Car Insurance Premiums

It isn’t common knowledge that there’s a connection between your credit score and your insurance rates. WalletHub reported in 2018 that Americans with no credit, on average, pay 67 percent more for car insurance than people who have excellent credit. It varies by state, but that’s a pretty significant difference.

So if you’ve had your current car insurance since your low-credit-score days, now’s the time to place a call to your agent and ask to be reconsidered for lower premiums.

How to Get a 760 Credit Score

If you’re experiencing score envy, cheer up. You, too, can have an exceptional credit score.

Here are the basics:

  • Pay all your bills on time. Payment history is 35 percent of your FICO score.
  • Keep low (really low) utilization ratios on your credit cards. Your credit utilization is 30 percent of your score. If you want a score in the stratosphere, keep your ratio under 10 percent.
  • Have a budget and track your spending so you don’t overspend and get into debt. It’s essential to do both.

Practice the basics, and then don’t obsess about your score. You don’t need to check it every day. Monitor it monthly on your credit card statement, if your issuer supplies a score. Or use one of the free credit score websites or credit score apps to track your monthly progress. Before you know it, your score will jump into the vaunted exceptional credit score range.

Here are the telltale signs it’s an ideal time to carry another card.

According to the credit bureau Experian, the average American carried a credit card balance of $6,375 in 2017, a nearly 3 percent uptick from 2016. How does that impact your decision to apply for another credit card? Maybe you never carry revolving debt and have sound reasons for getting another piece of plastic. But if you’re squeamish about carrying a lofty balance across multiple cards and you have concerns about how applying for another one could impact your finances, consider these factors before submitting your application.

Ask yourself why you want another card and evaluate the potential perks and rewards.

If you’re looking to get rewards points for everyday expenses, such as gas and groceries, to make the most of your credit card, that’s an ideal reason to apply. If you’re starting a business, and you’re applying for a business credit card so you can keep your finances and expenses in order, that’s also smart, says Ryan Boggs, an investment advisor representative at FourStar Wealth Advisors in Chicago. But if you’re simply looking to increase your spending, you may want to rethink your decision. “Don’t get another card if it is just to run up more debt or make frivolous purchases, because all you will be doing is digging yourself in a deeper hole,” he says.

Consider your spending habits.

If you’re in a deep debt hole, you should ask yourself a few questions about your own spending patterns, says Jonathan Teixeira, co-founder of WalletWin.com, an online membership site (available for $25 per month) and podcast that offers financial education and coaching and is designed to help its members learn how to get out of debt and build wealth. “What’s your personal track record with credit cards? If you are applying for this card because your current cards are maxed out, chances may be good that the pattern will continue,” he says. “If that’s the case, you should look into other options to help your financial situation.”

Scrutinize the annual fee.

(Morsa Images/Getty Images)

You may be getting a credit card because of the abundance of bonus points, miles or cash incentives that are being offered, but be wary of enticing promotions, Teixeira cautions. “Those benefits may be effectively canceled out by an annual fee – essentially money you’re paying in order to borrow money with interest,” Teixeira says. There may be other fees you aren’t crazy about, such as a foreign transaction fee, he says. Still, the annual fee, which with some credit cards can be as high as $450 and $550, is usually the most expensive fee you’ll deal with.

Evaluate the pros and cons of zero percent introductory APR offers.

Many credit cards, such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited card and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, will offer a zero percent interest rate for 12 to 18 months, and many cardholders will then make a big purchase and take their time paying the debt off. That can be a great deal, but only if you’re disciplined enough to make those payments, Boggs stresses. “Even though you are charged zero percent interest, the interest is accruing,” he warns. “Look at the deferred interest line of your statement.”

There could be limitations hidden in the fine print.

While the bonus offers credit card companies put out are often tempting, there are some caveats, Teixeira warns. “Extra cash back, tens of thousands of bonus miles and low rates are often used to entice consumers to sign up for new cards,” he says. But those perks can come with a price that’s often buried in the fine print and legalese. Teixeira suggests you review the requirements for bonuses, which often include spending a certain amount of money within a specified time frame. “With all the information in front of you, determine if those sign-up bonuses are not only worth it, but if it will have a positive impact on your personal bottom line,” he says.

Applying for another credit card may raise your credit score.

(Paul Bradbury/Getty Images)

Getting another credit card could give your credit a boost immediately, says Katie Ross, education and development manager for the national financial education nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling, headquartered in Newton, Massachusetts. That’s because of what’s known as credit utilization. “Credit utilization, or how much of your available credit is being used, is 30 percent of your credit score,” Ross says. Remember, the more available credit you have, the better in the eyes of a lender. It could help in other ways, too. “If you have poor credit, you can improve your score by making your monthly payments on your new card on time and ideally paying your balance in full each billing cycle,” Ross says.

An additional credit card could also lower your credit score.

Remember, if you get a new credit card and immediately make a big charge on it, “you will have a high credit utilization and your credit score will suffer,” Ross says. While a new piece of plastic should improve your credit utilization, “15 percent of your score is based on credit age, which measures the amount of time you have been using credit. The more experience you have, the better your score will be,” Ross says. So what’s the problem with getting a new credit card? “Credit age is based on two factors – the age of your oldest account and the average age of all your accounts. Opening a new card will lower the average age of all your accounts,” Ross says.

Don’t apply for a credit card if you’re planning to take out a big loan soon.

“If people are expecting to apply for a large loan – like a mortgage or auto loan – in the near future, they may want to wait to apply for a new credit card until after they receive the loan,” says Dave Rathmanner, based out of New York City and the vice president of content for LendEDU, a loan comparison website. And he has a reason beyond the credit age and credit utilization factors. “This is because when you apply for a new credit card, lenders will often perform a hard credit check that will ding your score a few points,” Rathmanner says.

Brush up on your personal and financial information.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but you will need to have things handy, like your annual salary, your Social Security number, your birth date and address to submit your application. If you’re wary of providing your Social Security number, you may be able to give out an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, or ITIN, instead. But don’t count on it. Generally, credit card issuers need your Social Security number to check your credit. Also, resist the urge to suggest your annual income is higher than it is. That could get you swiftly declined if the credit card issuer discovers you’ve provided inaccurate information on your application.

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Beverly Harzog is a nationally-recognized personal finance and credit card expert for U.S. News & World Report. She’s also the bestselling and award-winning author of five personal finance books.

Her expert advice has been featured in thousands of media outlets, including TV, radio, print, and major websites. She’s appeared on Fox News, CNN Newsource, NBC New York, NY1, ABC New York, NBC NY, ABC News Radio, Bloomberg Radio, and more.

She’s been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Money Magazine, The New York Times, Kiplinger, Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Chicago Tribune, Consumer’s Digest, Boston Globe, Miami Herald, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CNNMoney.com, Real Simple, Time.com, Family Circle, Fitness, Women’s Health, Marie Claire, Woman’s Day, Redbook, Women’s Health, Fitness, and much more.

Beverly’s byline has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, Good Housekeeping, Entrepreneur, Health, Better Homes and Gardens, Cooking Light, New York Daily News, ABCNews.com, ClarkHoward.com, CNNMoney.com, MSNMoney.com, and more.

Before becoming a writer, she worked as a CPA for the former BellSouth Mobility. After maxing out seven credit cards and getting into credit card debt, she decided to leave her cubicle to become a financial journalist and help others avoid the mistakes she had made. Through her books and media appearances, she’s become well-known in the credit industry as a consumer advocate.

Harzog was a successful freelance journalist for over 20 years, writing for major national magazines and custom publications. She became so entrenched in the credit industry, that in 2008, she was approached by CardRatings.com to be a credit card spokesperson for their site. In 2010, Harzog then went on to become the credit card expert for Credit.com.

In 2012, Harzog became an independent credit card expert. During this time, she did media tours for her books and was quoted extensively in the media.

She was also a columnist and the consumer credit advisor for LendingTree, a contributing editor to ClarkHoward.com, and the credit card guide (and credit card processing guide) for ConsumerAffairs.com. She still runs a popular consumer credit blog on her website at BeverlyHarzog.com.

In June, 2018, Harzog became the personal finance and credit card expert for U.S. News & World Report. She does media interviews and writes weekly about personal finance and credit cards.

Life and Education

Harzog grew up in Virginia-Highland, an in-town neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia. She worked her way through college and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting at Kennesaw State University in 1983.

She also holds an MBA in Public Relations from the University of New Haven in New Haven, CT. She also studied Speech Communication at the doctoral level at the University of Georgia, where she earned a top paper award from the Speech Communication Association for her research in crisis management.

Books, Awards, and Honors

The Debt Escape Plan: How to Free Yourself From Credit Card Balances, Boost Your Credit Score, and Live Debt-Free (Career Press, 2015).
–Winner of the American Society of Journalists and Authors 2016 Outstanding Nonfiction Book Award in the Self-Help category.

Confessions of a Credit Junkie: Everything You Need to Know to Avoid the Mistakes I Made (Career Press, November 2013).
–#1 Amazon Best Seller in three categories: Credit Ratings & Repair, Personal Finance, and Budgeting and Money Management.
–Color of Money Book Club pick by syndicated Washington Post columnist Michelle Singletary in December 2013.
–Honorable Mention Winner of the American Society of Journalists and Authors 2016 Outstanding Nonfiction Book Award in the Self-Help category.

How Money Works: The Facts Visually Explained (DK Books, March 2017), lead contributor.

Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits: Four Keys to Unlock Your Business Potential (Greenleaf Publishing, June 2011), co-authored with Greg Crabtree.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Person-to-Person Lending (Alpha Books/Penguin, April 2009), coauthored with Curtis Arnold.

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