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Lenders use credit scores to determine a borrower's creditworthiness, or the likelihood they will be able to pay back their loan on time and in full.
This three digit number between 300 to 850 is calculated based on the information in your credit report. Two scoring models — FICO and VantageScore — are the most widely used, although FICO tends to be the more popular choice among lenders.
Whenever you apply for a line of credit, a lender will take a look at your credit score to decide whether to extend a loan to you and determine what terms are appropriate. Having a good credit score can end up saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars since it also determines the interest rate you'll get on a mortgage or the APR you'll have on a new credit card.
Below, Select takes a closer look at what having a credit score of 800 really means for consumers, and how it affects the types of credit you would have access to.
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A credit score of 800 means you have an exceptional credit score, according to Experian. According to a report by FICO, only 23% of the scorable population has a credit score of 800 or above.
FICO considers five factors in the calculation of your credit score:
- Payment history (35%): Make sure your payments are made on time and in full
- Amounts owed (30%): Your credit utilization ratio — the ratio of the amount of credit you use to the amount you've been extended — should be low
- Length of credit history (15%): You'll benefit from having a longer credit history
- Credit mix (10%): Aim to have several different types of credit, whether it's installment loans, credit cards or a mortgage
- New inquiries (10%): Don't apply for too many lines of credit in a short period of time
If you have a credit score of 800, it probably means you have a long credit history, have been making payments on time and keep a low credit utilization ratio. All this information shows lenders that you're likely to make good on your loan.
According to a 2021 survey conducted by LendingTree, nearly all people with credit scores of 800 or above made their payments on time and in full — they also tend to have a low average credit utilization ratio of 5.7% and have old active accounts, with the average being at least 27 years.
That said, you don't necessarily need to have a perfect credit score in order to get favorable terms on loans or low APRs on credit cards, as only a very small percentage of people have a perfect credit score. A recent FICO report showed that in April 2019, just 1.6% of the U.S. scorable population had a FICO score of 850 — it's typically unnecessary to aim for a credit score above 800.
Generally, the rule of thumb is you'll need to have a credit score above 760 in order to receive the best terms on loans and/or mortgages. In other words, having a credit score of 800 puts you within the top credit score range and will help you qualify for the best terms, whether it's for a mortgage or a personal loan.
Having a credit score of 800 gives you access to some of the best credit cards on the market, which typically have a lower APR, offer more rewards opportunities, include more perks and have better welcome bonuses.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a popular choice for consumers who want a credit card with a generous welcome bonus but don't need a luxury card. Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders can earn 60,000 bonus points spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening.
Points earned can be redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal for a redemption value of 1.25 cents per point, so the welcome bonus alone could be worth $750 in travel rewards, or potentially more if you transfer your points to any of Chase's travel partners like United or Hyatt.
$50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
18.24% - 25.24% variable on purchases and balance transfers
Balance transfer fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Foreign transaction fee
Those who prefer a luxury credit card with a higher annual fee and more benefits should consider the American Express® Gold Card, which offers perks such as up to $120 Uber Cash credit annually ($10 in Uber Cash each month which can be used towards rides or Uber Eats), a $120 annual dining credit ($10 in statement credits each month when ordering through select dining options, such as Grubhub and Shake Shack) and a $100 experience credit to use when you book at least two nights through the The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel.
The current welcome bonus gives new cardholders 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $4,000 within the first six months of card membership.
4X Membership Rewards® points at Restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership
18.99% - 25.99% variable
Balance transfer fee
Foreign transaction fee
See rates and fees, terms apply.
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