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There's more to getting a credit card than your three-digit credit score, but lenders will always look at how you stack up on the scale of 300 to 850.
The best applicants pose little risk to lenders and have a history to prove they will be able to pay back what they borrow. Your borrower risk profile can fall into one of the five following categories: super-prime, prime, near-prime, subprime and deep subprime.
Consumers who classify as super-prime borrowers fall into the top tier of credit scores and have scores that are higher than what's needed to qualify for the best, or "prime," interest rates and financial products.
Below, Select defines the credit score of a super-prime borrower, what it means and the best credit cards if you fall into this category.
According to the most recent data from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Consumer Credit Panel, a super-prime credit score falls within the range of 720 or above.
While the credit score categorizations of different types of borrowers can vary between organizations (you'll notice this in an Experian example we provide below), it's safe to say that anyone classified as super-prime has at least a good credit score, or even better, excellent credit.
Having super-prime credit means that you pose the least amount of potential risk to lenders, and you have a better chance of qualifying for the best credit cards with higher credit limits and more favorable terms.
While a prime borrower can have the same approval odds, someone who's score falls into the super-prime category will likely receive a lower interest rate on not only their credit cards, but their mortgages, car and student loans.
For example, let's take a look at an Experian analysis of auto loans in the first quarter of 2020, where super-prime borrowers with higher credit scores received a much lower average interest rate on a new car loan than those in the subprime territory. For reference, Experian categorizes the five different borrower profiles into the following credit score ranges: Super-prime (781-850); Prime (661-780); Nonprime (601-660); Subprime (501-600); Deep subprime (300-500).
Here are the average interest rates for each category of borrower, according to Experian's first quarter data:
- Super-prime: 3.65%
- Prime: 4.68%
- Nonprime: 7.65%
- Subprime: 11.92%
- Deep subprime: 14.39%
Based on the interest rates on new car loans above, someone who is considered a super-prime borrower would pay over three times less interest than a subprime borrower.
Here are some cards to take advantage of if you have excellent credit as a super-prime borrower:
- Best for travel: American Express® Gold Card
- Best for cash back: Citi® Double Cash Card
- Best welcome bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Best 0% APR period: Citi Simplicity® Card
- Best for luxury perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
A super-prime borrower has a greater likelihood of qualifying for cards that offer luxury travel perks, like the Chase Sapphire cards we list above. These cards offer rewards on your travel and dining purchases, as well as offer cardholder benefits through partners like DoorDash and Lyft.
Before jumping to apply for one of these credit cards, first consider where you do most of your spending. If you plan on traveling sometime soon, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card could help you get there with its generous sign-up offer of 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months (worth up to $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards® or for eligible purchases with the Pay Yourself Back tool).
But if you rather just earn cash back on your purchases without having to think twice about where you're spending, the Citi Double Cash Card is a better fit, offering 2% cash back on every purchase: An unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% when you pay your bill on time.
Having super-prime credit isn't required to qualify for the best credit cards, but it certainly helps when it comes to earning the lowest interest rate on all sorts of credit products, including personal loans.
If you have excellent credit, keep up the good work — especially during a time when millions of Americans' credit is in flux.
While under normal circumstances you would likely qualify for new credit, it's important to note that it may be harder to today. Banks tightening their lending to all sorts of borrowers, including those with super-prime credit, while they wait and see how the economy will recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
Information about the Citi Simplicity® Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.
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