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By: Robin Saks Frankel, @robinsaks
Updated: August 14, 2018
With your terrific credit score we know that you have your pick amongst top-tier credit cards, our job is to help you find the card that’s right for you. Bankrate’s experts have been busy studying over 1,500 credit cards for people with excellent credit and grading them against our proprietary scoring matrix to generate a Bankrate score out of 100.
The Bankrate scoring matrix measures cards on a myriad of features including; APR rates, annual fee, sign-up bonuses, reward value, ease of redeeming rewards, rates and fees, travel perks, and discounts. Someone with an excellent credit score can afford to be choosy when it comes to getting a credit card so our experts zeroed-in on features that offer the maximum value so you can get the most bang for your buck. Our Bankrate score for excellent credit score cards is weighted towards rewards value, annual fee, sign-up bonuses, and extras and discounts.
The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card is an ideal card for foodies. If you’re frequently dining out — whether it be at high-end restaurants, diners or the latest fast-casual joint — this card deserves serious consideration. It offers unlimited 4% back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on everything else. Capital One is also offering a sign-up bonus of $500 cash back after you spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of opening the card, which really supercharges the returns for this card. The card’s $95 annual fee is waived for the first year and, for a lot of people, the cash back returns will more than make up for the annual expense.
Editor’s take: If you eat out often and spend heavily on dining and entertainment this could be a great card to get maximum rewards on dollars you’re already spending. Food lovers should give this card serious consideration, 4% back on dining out and 2% back at the grocery store will add up quickly. Furthermore, the rewards structure is simple and unlimited and the redemption is straightforward.
Looking for a solid cash-back card that won’t make you jump through hoops? Consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited. With 1.5% cash back on everything and no annual fee, this card is a frontrunner in terms of simplicity and value. It’s also ideal for cardholders with other Chase cards since you can transfer your rewards as Chase Ultimate Rewards points across accounts.
This card has it all- enhanced rewards on all spending, a low cost of ownership and a juicy sign-up bonus. Cash in those rewards with ease using their “Purchase Eraser” to get a statement credit for travel purchases. Thanks to a 2018 partnership with Hotels.com. all purchases made with the Venture Rewards card through the hotels.com/venture link will earn a whopping 10 miles per $1 spent. A Capital One Venture mile is worth one cent when redeemed as a statement credit so this is a juicy mileage earning-opportunity.
A great choice if you don’t want to fork over hundreds of dollars for a premium rewards card. Even with the $95 annual fee (which is waived the first year) this card still pays great dividends for anyone who likes to dine out and travel frequently. The sign-up bonus is one of the best available on any card with a low annual fee.
When it comes to your credit score, the higher the better. When you have a credit score of 740 or above, you’ll qualify for the lowest rates on mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and most other types of loans. This can save you thousands of dollars in interest charges over the life of a loan.
Your FICO score (short for the Fair Isaac Corporation) is the one that’s most commonly used to measure your creditworthiness by potential lenders. Using predictive analysis based on your individual financial history, FICO generates your score based on your information culled from one or more of the three big credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Generally speaking, your score can represent the likelihood that you will pay back and not default on the loan from your lender. For example, if you have a recent bankruptcy, that would result in a low credit score and you may have trouble qualifying for a traditional mortgage or credit card as lenders might view you as someone who is at a high of a risk of not paying back your loan and charge you an APR at the high end of their offered range.
Another type of score you are likely to hear when it comes to your credit is your VantageScore. A VantageScore is also based on data from the three big credit bureaus but uses a different mathematical model to be computed. The scoring model was developed by Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax and is a direct competitor of FICO.
There are some subtle differences between the two scores, but generally speaking, if you have excellent credit, it will be reflected in both your overall FICO score and your VantageScore.
According to data from credit reporting agency Experian, 45% of people have a FICO score of 740 or higher. Here’s what the impact of your FICO score is likely to be:
|Credit Score||Rating||% of People||Impact|
|300-579||Very Poor||16%||Credit applicants may be required to pay a fee or deposit, and applicants with this rating may not be approved for credit at all.|
|580-669||Fair||18%||Applicants with scores in this range are considered to be subprime borrowers.|
|670-739||Good||21%||Only 8% of applicants in this score range are likely to become seriously delinquent in the future.|
|740-799||Very Good||25%||Applicants with scores here are likely to receive better than average rates from lenders.|
|800-850||Excellent||20%||Applicants with scores in this range are at the top of the list for the best rates from lenders.|
Excellent credit is typically considered anything from a score of 740 up to a perfect score of 850. According to Experian, scores ranging from 670 to 739, are considered “good.” Here’s why it matters: If you’re applying for a credit card, and that card offers a variable APR of 17% to 25%, that means the issuer will give a more favorable interest rate to those with the best credit, which can save you money. If you have excellent credit, and you are approved for a credit card with an APR of 17%, over the course of a year, a $10,000 balance will accrue $1,700 in interest. But, for someone with good credit who is offered a card with a 20% APR, that same $10,000 balance will accrue $2,000 in interest over a year.
This may not seem like a significant difference, but consider that with other types of loans, like mortgages, which can take decades to repay, it could mean the difference of tens of thousands of dollars in interest over the life of your loan. Aiming for excellent credit is a worthy goal as it will ultimately save you money on many of your biggest purchases — like a home, student loan or auto loan.
Achieving excellent credit requires a combination of good financial habits. One key factor is paying all of your bills in full and on time every month. You should also strive to keep your debt-to-available-credit ratio below 30%. This means that you should try to never owe more than 30% of the maximum you can borrow.
For example, if you have a credit card with a $10,000 limit, aim to charge no more than $3,000 on it to stay at or below that 30% threshold. The closer you get to reaching your credit limit, the more negative the effect it can have on your score.
You also need to have patience. You won’t achieve an excellent score just by opening your first credit card. Length of time you’ve had an account also plays a part in determining your overall credit score. In fact, closing a long-held credit card could impact your score in a negative way. Opening too many accounts in too short a period of time can also hurt your standing, as every time a credit check is performing, it can cause a dip in your score.
A perfect FICO score is 850 but it’s a near impossible ideal to attain — similar to a perfect SAT score. A more realistic goal would be to aim for the “Excellent” range of 740 to 799. If you pay your bills in full and on time, even if you own multiple cards, your credit score will remain strong.
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