A perfect credit score of 850 is hard to get, but an "excellent" credit score is more achievable.
If you want to get the best credit cards, mortgages and competitive loan rates — which can save you money over time — excellent credit can help you qualify. "Excellent" is the highest tier of credit scores you can have.
When you apply for credit, lenders review a detailed summary of your financial history, known as your credit report, to determine whether you qualify for a particular form of credit. And one part of your credit report is the three-digit number known as your credit score.
Your credit score helps tell lenders your ability to repay money lent to you.
When determining your credit score, credit agencies consider several factors related to your financial history, including payment history (whether you paid your bill on time) and amounts owed, from your current and past credit accounts.
Below, CNBC Select explains what is an excellent credit score, how excellent credit can help you, tips on getting an excellent credit score and how to get a free credit score.
Credit score ranges vary based on the credit scoring model used (FICO versus VantageScore) and the credit bureau (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) that pulls the score. Below, you can check which credit score range you fall into, using estimates from Experian.
Credit scores are calculated differently depending on the credit scoring model. Here are the key factors FICO and VantageScore consider.
An excellent credit score can help you receive the best APRs from lenders and give you a higher chance of being approved for credit cards and loans.
Many of the best credit cards require good or excellent credit. If you want to benefit from competitive rewards, annual statement credits, luxury travel perks, 0% APR periods and more, you'll need at least a good credit score. And if you have an excellent credit score, you can maximize approval odds.
For instance, if you're looking to earn generous rewards on groceries and dining out, the American Express® Gold Card can provide you with 4X Membership Rewards® points when you dine at restaurants worldwide and shop at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X) — but you'll need good or excellent credit.
Take note that even if your credit score falls within the excellent range, that is not a guarantee you'll be approved for a credit card requiring excellent credit. Card issuers look at more factors than just your credit score, including income and monthly housing payments.
Check out CNBC Select's best credit cards for excellent credit.
There are dozens of free credit score services available that offer your free FICO Score or VantageScore. Here are some popular free credit score resources.
Information about the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.