Best Credit Cards for Excellent Credit
- Pros and Cons of Excellent Credit Credit Cards
- Tips to Find the Best Credit Card for Excellent Credit
- How to Build Excellent Credit?
A high credit score doesn’t happen overnight. This requires years of hard work and responsible credit usage, so an excellent history is something to be proud of. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, with excellent credit being a score of 800 or higher. Although some people don’t think twice about their credit scores, you should care about your credit because the way you manage your accounts have a tremendous impact on your financial outlook. These three-digit scores determine whether you can buy a house, get an auto loan, and it also decides your interest rate and the types of credit cards you receive.
Some credit cards are designed specifically for people with no credit, bad credit, and fair credit. But for a select few, there’s the privilege of qualifying for a card tailored to people with excellent credit habits. These credit cards appear similar to others on the market, but a few differences make these cards a bit more attractive.
Pros and Cons of Excellent Credit Credit Cards
If you have excellent credit, you can apply for just about any credit card available. And truthfully, there’s a good chance that you’ll be approved by any credit card issuer. But while you have many options, there are benefits to choosing cards designed specifically for people with the highest credit scores.
Advantages of a credit card for excellent credit:
- Features the lowest interest rates. Credit cards and interest rates go hand-in-hand. When you apply for a credit card, the bank will review your credit history to see whether you qualify for a low rate, a high rate or somewhere in between. Credit cards for people who have excellent credit offer the lowest interest rates, so you’ll pay fewer interest charges. To keep your cost low, always pay off your balances in full every month and only charge what you can afford. This way, you avoid interest altogether. If you must carry a balance for a couple of months, low-rate credit cards reduce how much interest you have to pay in the long run.
- Easier to qualify for financing. Since credit cards for excellent credit are designed with a particular consumer in mind, it’s easier to qualify for these credit cards when you have a superb score. Easier financing means you don’t have to apply for multiple credit cards, which could ultimately reduce your credit score. Each credit inquiry (or credit application) reduces your credit score by a few points, so apply for credit sparingly.
- Stronger rewards program. Many different types of credit cards offer rewards programs, including those for people with bad credit and fair credit. As someone with an elite credit status, you may qualify for credit cards that offer the best rewards programs. This includes credit cards that give a higher number of points or miles per dollar spent, helping you accumulate reward points faster. Some of these credit cards also offer sign-up bonuses, which are bonus points when you spend a certain amount on the card within 90 days of opening the account. The card might also feature other attractive cardholder benefits, such as no foreign transaction fee and no blackout dates when redeeming rewards.
Higher credit limits. If you have excellent credit, you’ve no doubt demonstrated responsible credit habits. And with your proven track record, applying for a credit card tailored to people with excellent credit could help you acquire a higher credit limit. Whereas someone with no credit or bad credit might apply for an unsecured credit card and only receive a credit limit of $250 or $500, someone with a higher score might qualify for a credit limit up to several thousands of dollars. This is because people who work hard to establish excellent credit are more likely to pay back their balances and not default on what they owe. Although you might qualify for a higher limit, avoid high balances and maxing out your card. Regardless of your limit, still charge only what you can afford to pay off within 30 days.
The disadvantage of a credit card for excellent credit:
- Annual fees. Because credit cards for excellent credit typically offer several perks and a more enticing rewards program, these cards tend to have annual fees, which can be $100 a year or higher. The good news is that some credit cards will waive the annual fee for the first year, and then charge this fee directly to your card on your anniversary date. Not to say you can’t find an excellent credit card with no annual fee. To do so, shop around and compare credit cards offered by different banks.
- Greater temptation to spend. Because credit cards for the excellent credit offer a stronger rewards program and sign-up bonuses, there’s also temptation to use the card more often. The more you use the card, the faster you can accumulate enough reward points or miles for a redemption. Just make sure you keep track of how much you’re spending throughout the month. Sign up for online account management to monitor balances. To alleviate balances getting out of hand, make a credit card payment after each credit card purchase. There’s no rule that says you have to wait until your statement arrives to pay off your credit card bill.
Tips to Find the Best Credit Card for Excellent Credit
With so many credit cards on the market, finding the best credit card for excellent credit can be an uphill battle. You have to do your homework and be patient. A credit card can be an excellent addition to your wallet, but you need to choose wisely to benefit the most from the card.
- Cut your options in half. Before signing up for a credit card, narrow down what you’re looking for in a card. Credit cards are not one-size-fits-all. They offer different features and benefits, and you can only pick the right card for your wallet once you know what you want. With this knowledge, it’ll be easier to exclude credit cards that don’t match your spending lifestyle. Ask yourself: How often do I plan to use the card? Do I plan to transfer a balance? What type of rewards fits my lifestyle?
- Be realistic about your travel habits. Some credit cards for excellent credit feature a travel rewards program. These programs allow you to earn additional points or miles for every dollar spent on travel purchases, thus helping you save on future travel. But before applying for these cards, be realistic and assess your travel habits. These cards are most beneficial when you travel frequently and can utilize the majority of the benefits, such as discounts on baggage check, discounts on onboard purchases, priority boarding and more. If you don’t travel often, you are better off choosing a general rewards card, which lets you earn points toward travel and more (merchandise, gift card, cash back, etc.)
- Use the island approach. Rather than put all your purchases on a single card, take advantage of the island approach. This method involves considering your unique needs and then getting separate credit cards to fulfill these different needs. This is an excellent way to budget and compartmentalize spending to ensure you’re getting the most benefit from your credit cards. For example, you can apply for a travel rewards credit card used specifically for booking travel, such as airfare, cruises, hotels and car rentals. Or if you have a credit card offering a higher percentage of cash back at gas stations, only use this credit card when fueling your card. And if you have a basic rewards credit card, use this card for everyday spending.
- Don’t be scared of annual fees. Some people shy away from annual fees because of the extra cost. But rather than avoid annual fees completely, consider what you’re getting for the money, and then determine whether the perks are worth the fee. If a credit card offers a higher percentage of points or miles on purchases, plus additional benefits like a sign-up bonus, no foreign transaction fee, no blackout dates and other complementary services for just being a cardmember, an annual fee might be a small price to pay for what you’re getting in return.
Know the requirements for an excellent credit card. Even though an excellent credit score can open the door to the best credit card offers, keep in mind that credit card issuers will check your credit report, your income and your employment status at the time of application. Regardless of whether you have a high credit score, the credit card company won’t turn a blind eye to too much existing debt. Based on how much you currently owe, the credit card issuer may offer you a card with a smaller credit line, or reject your application because they feel your income can’t support additional debt. Also, the bank might reject your application if you’re currently unemployed.
How to Build Excellent Credit?
If you don’t have excellent credit, improving your credit habits can help you achieve a higher credit status. And if you currently have one of the best credit scores, maintaining this status takes work. Keeping excellent credit is an ongoing process and requires continually being smart with your credit. Here are five tips to boost or maintain a credit score.
- Pay your bills on time. Your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score. A late payment can result in a late fee, and a credit card issuer can report negative activity to the bureaus once your payments are 30 days past due. So it’s important to always pay on time. Submit payments as soon as your statements arrive and don’t wait for your due date. You can also put payments on autopilot to ensure timely delivery. And if you ever run into financial difficulties, notify your credit card company immediately. Depending on the bank, you might be granted a due date extension or the bank might waive your payment (skip payment option) for a month without penalty.
- Pay down bills. The amount you owe also makes up roughly 30% of your credit score. Keep debt to a minimum and pay cash for most items. If you use a credit card, only charge what you can afford and pay off your balances in full every month. Carrying high debt not only increases the risk of delinquency, it can lower your credit score. Credit card balances should not exceed 30% of your credit limit.
- Don’t cancel credit cards. Since the length of your oldest credit account makes up 15% of your credit score, it’s important that you never cancel an older credit card, even if you’re not using the card. If you’re looking to downsize and get rid of a few credit cards, cancel your newest accounts first. This way, your oldest credit card accounts remain on your credit report for a longer period of time.
Diversify your credit. To build a stronger credit history, don’t limit yourself to one type of credit account. You need a history of managing different types of accounts for a stronger score. This includes having a mixture of installment accounts (mortgages, auto loans) and credit card accounts. Credit mix makes up 10% of credit scores.
Limit credit inquiries. But while you need a good credit mix, don’t apply for too many new accounts in a short span of time. Credit inquiries make up 10% of your credit score, and each inquires can reduce your score by a couple of points. Inquiries also remain on credit reports for up to two years. Only apply for credit when necessary, and spread out your applications to avoid damaging your score.
Excellent credit isn’t easy to achieve. This requires a history of paying bills on time, managing debt responsibly and a lengthy credit background. So if you’ve been able to build a strong, solid score over the years, you deserve access to the best credit cards available. With a lower interest rate, an impressive rewards program and other cardholder benefits at your disposal, these cards might offer what you need and more.