On a credit scoring scale of 300 to 850, a credit score of 800 is considered exceptional. Having an 800 credit score has the potential to open up many doors for you financially, including competitive interest rates on loans, higher chances of approval and at better loan terms, and even access to premium credit cards.
As such, when you have a credit score of 800, it’s worth taking steps to ensure you maintain it — or if you’re ambitious, even improve it. That way, you can continue unlocking the benefits that a high credit score can offer.
What It Means to Have an 800 Credit Score
Your credit score is a three-digit number that’s an indicator of your creditworthiness. The higher the number, the more likely you appear to lenders as a responsible borrower who will pay back what’s owed on time.
Credit scoring models count an 800 credit score as being excellent. For instance, a 800 FICO credit score is considered “exceptional,” and VantageScore considers it in their “superprime” range.
These scoring models use your credit history to calculate your score — having such a high score means that you most likely haven’t missed any payments and have maintained a low credit utilization. It could also mean you’ve had a relatively long credit history and held a variety of types of credit and loan accounts — in other words, you’re well past the point of a starting credit score.
To stay at this point on the credit rating scale, you’ll need to keep exhibiting the responsible financial behaviors you’ve already displayed. Further improving it could be a matter of continuing these behaviors over a longer period of time. Or, you might look into your score to see if there’s any one area you can tweak to further improve your credit behavior.
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Is 800 a Perfect Credit Score?
No, 800 is not a perfect credit score. Both FICO and VantageScore scoring models have a maximum credit score of 850. That being said, an 800 credit score can be considered near-perfect.
Benefits of an 800 Credit Score
Having an excellent credit score comes with a few perks, such as increased odds of getting approved for lower interest rates and higher credit card limits, as well as offers for better loan terms.
Better Credit Offers
Lenders are more likely to approve consumers with excellent credit, and with more favorable terms, compared to someone with a minimum credit score for a credit card. If you have a high credit score, you’re a good candidate for better credit offers, such as personal loans with higher loan amounts and a wider selection of credit cards.
You also may be able to qualify for premium rewards credit cards. These cards tend to offer more benefits like airport lounge access, better earnings opportunities, and more.
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Lower Interest Rates
Lenders generally are willing to lend to those with a credit score of 800 at lower interest rates than other applicants. That’s because people with a credit score in this range generally pose less risk to the lender. With a credit score of 800, you’ve already proven that you can handle loans responsibly.
Getting approved for lower interest rates helps you to save significant amounts of money over your lifetime. For instance, if your 800 credit score gets you a mortgage interest rate that’s 1% to 2% lower than someone with a fair credit score, that alone can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your home loan.
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Higher Credit Limits
Not only will you be more likely to get approved for a credit card with an 800 credit score, but credit card issuers may offer you access to higher credit limits. Having increased spending power is great for when you need to make bigger purchases. It’s also helpful for keeping a low credit utilization, which in turn can help you maintain or even boost your credit score.
Since you’re also more likely to be eligible for rewards credit cards, each purchase can help you earn more in points or cash back — meaning, you can use your credit card to maximize your purchases. That deal becomes even better if you can pay off the entire balance each month so you’re not paying any interest.
Monitoring and Managing Your Credit Score
Even if you have an excellent credit score now, it doesn’t mean it will stay that way forever. It’s important to regularly monitor your credit score so you know exactly where you stand.
There are free ways to check your credit score. Some credit cards will show you your score on your credit statements, and some banks offer this feature as well. If your score changes in any way, you can then figure out the types of financial behaviors that may have contributed to the change. Also don’t be surprised if you have different credit scores depending on where you look — this is because credit scoring models can vary in how they calculate scores.
Checking your credit report will also help you monitor and manage your credit score. That’s because the activity on your credit report affects how your credit score is calculated. You can check your credit report for free once a year through all three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
By checking your credit report, you’ll be able to see if there is any information on there that may affect your score. If you spot any errors, it’s best to dispute them right away, especially if they’ll have a negative effect.
Factors That Can Damage Your 800 Credit Score
You’ve worked hard to build your credit score. To maintain it, you’ll want to avoid the following behaviors that could damage your 800 credit score. While it’s a long drop to a bad credit score from exceptional, it’s not a given that your good credit will last.
High Utilization Rate
Your credit utilization is the percentage of your available revolving credit that you’re using. The higher the percentage, the more it seems to lenders that you’re relying on too much credit, which could negatively impact your score.
To help maintain your credit score, try to keep your credit utilization to 30% or under. You can do that by paying down your balances, even making extra payments if you can. That way, your balance will be as low as possible before the credit card issuer reports it to the credit bureaus.
Late and Missed Payments
Your payment history is one of the biggest factors that affects your credit score. A late or missed payment could have a major effect on your credit score — even if you’ve paid consistently on-time beforehand.
If you’ve been a responsible borrower, you may be able to contact your creditor and ask to have the late payment removed from your credit report. That way, it won’t impact your score.
Credit Applications and New Credit Accounts
Each time you submit an application for a new loan or credit card, lenders will conduct a hard credit inquiry, which may temporarily affect your credit score. While one hard inquiry may not have major consequences, applying for multiple loan products at once could signal to lenders you’re stretched thin financially. Your score could take a dive, since it looks like you need to rely on credit.
To maintain your credit score, apply for new accounts sparingly. Or, if you’re shopping around for large loans like mortgages, applying for a few within a short span of time will typically show up as one hard inquiry on your credit report. This may prevent your applications from impacting your score as much.
Public Records Appearance
Public records such as bankruptcy can appear on your credit report. These negative remarks can damage your credit score. In some cases, you may have to explain to lenders in more detail about these public records.
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Having a 800 credit score means you have excellent credit. As such, lenders are more likely to offer you better rates and terms. Other benefits include saving money on interest and higher credit limits. Even with a high score, it’s still important to continually monitor your credit behavior to ensure you can maintain it.
Looking for a credit card that earns rewards? Consider the SoFi Credit Card, which offers cash-back rewards on qualifying purchases. You’ll also get access to other perks, such as the ability to lower your APR through on-time payments and cell phone protection.
The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1
How long does it take to reach a credit score of 800?
How long it takes you to get an 800 credit score will depend on several factors, including your current credit score and how long your credit history is. You may be able to reach it faster if you exhibit responsible behavior, such as consistent on-time payments and the maintenance of a low credit utilization ratio.
What percentage of the population has a credit score of 800 and above?
According to the credit bureau Experian, 21% of consumers have a FICO score of 800 and higher, or in the “exceptional” range.
Why is it difficult to reach a credit score of 800?
It’s difficult to reach an 800 credit score because you’ll typically need a long credit history and to show responsible credit behavior consistently over a period of time.
What credit limit is possible with an 800 credit score?
The credit limit you’ll qualify for will ultimately depend on the credit card issuer. However, with an 800 credit score, you’ll generally get higher limits compared to someone with a lower score.
Photo credit: iStock/milan2099
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