Habits of the 800 club: the path to perfect credit

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

A credit score of 800 or higher is considered a perfect score. At this level, individuals are given the best rates on their mortgages, credit cards, loans and any other form of credit. Americans who boast a credit score of 800 or more are exclusive members of the 800 Club. Keep reading to find out all about the 800 Club and how you can become a member.

What Is the 800 Club?

“The 800 Club” is a common phrase used to describe Americans who have a credit score of 800 or higher. According to FICO, in 2019, just 22 percent of Americans were a part of this exclusive group.

Being a part of the 800 Club gets you access to the lowest rates for borrowing costs, as well as plenty of other benefits. First, you’ll be approved for any type of credit card. This includes credit cards with no annual fees, cards with significant initial spending limits, cards with 0 percent financing, no-foreign-fee credit cards and cards from hotels, airlines and retail stores.

You’ll also get the best rates when it comes to taking out a mortgage, an auto loan, a credit line, a personal loan or student loan refinancing options. And anytime your credit score is checked—such as for an apartment rental or a job application—you’ll pass inspection with flying colors.

It’s essential to understand that you can still get the same or similar benefits once your credit score is 700 or higher. That’s why it’s good to shoot for higher credit, even if a score of 800 feels impossibly far away right now. The higher your credit score climbs, the more benefits you receive.

How Can You Be Like Consumers in the 800 Club?

There are everyday habits that consumers in the 800 Club all have. If you understand these habits and emulate them, you’ll be guaranteed to see a rise in your own credit.

Maintain a Zero Balance

When used correctly, credit cards can be an asset rather than a liability. Those in the 800 Club understand that using credit is beneficial to your credit score, but only if you pay off the amount owed in full every month.

By completely paying off your balance every month, you pay zero interest, maintain complete debt control and show lenders you’re responsible with money. Paying off balances in full needs to happen on time and every month.

You should also work to understand credit utilization. Your credit utilization is the amount of credit available to you versus the amount you use. Generally speaking, it’s ideal to keep your credit utilization ratio under 30 percent. If you pay everything off every month but have a high credit utilization ratio, your credit score will be negatively impacted.

For example, if you have two credit cards with credit limits of $5,000 each, you have $10,000 available every month. If you spend $7,000 on those cards every month and pay it off in full, your credit score may still suffer because your credit utilization is 70 percent. Lenders prefer a low credit utilization ratio as it shows you’re not relying on credit to cover your expenses.

Have a Diverse Mix of Accounts

Having a healthy credit score means having a diverse mixture of accounts. Lenders want to see that you can handle many different types of debt and still maintain responsible habits. 800 Club members often have a portfolio mix of revolving credit (credit cards, credit lines, etc.) and installment debt (mortgages, personal loans, student loans, etc.).

However, it’s not recommended you increase your overall indebtedness just for the sake of improving your credit diversity.

Be Selective About New Accounts

As you look to build your credit, you may start to open some new accounts. Whenever you do this, make sure always to read the fine print and look out for good benefits. There are plenty of lenders out there competing for your business, so always do some comparison shopping.

Avoid retail credit cards, which often have high interest rates and fees. Instead, find cards with the best rates, sign-up bonuses, reward programs and no annual fees. Smart credit will help you spend and save.

And make sure to never sign up for any credit that’s too risky, such as payday loans.

Avoid Cosigning

Cosigning may feel like a nice gesture for someone who needs your help, but it’s often a road to credit problems. When you cosign on anything, you accept full responsibility for paying it back if the other party fails to make payments.

Additionally, anytime the other party makes a late payment or misses a payment, it impacts your credit score too. It’s too risky to have your credit score tied to someone else’s actions. If possible, avoid these problems by politely declining any requests to cosign on credit.

Lower Your Debts

One of the main factors in determining your credit score is your debt-to-income ratio. Individuals who are part of the 800 Club live well below their means and have a low debt-to-income ratio. This means they prioritize paying off their debts and don’t overspend.

If you have any debt, from student loans to mortgages, lowering these balances can infinitely improve your credit score.

Stick to a Budget

In order to ensure you’re not spending beyond your means, you’ll need to stick to a budget. People don’t just get into the 800 Club by accident. They plan their finances, make smart decisions and stick to the plan. A budget will allow you to quickly pay off any existing debts and, once your debts are paid off, maintain a zero balance.

Budget planning has never been easier than it is today. There are plenty of automated budgeting apps, such as Mint (free) and YNAB (subscription-based), that link to your bank accounts and provide insights for you. You’ll be able to set budgets and goals and receive alerts when your finances are off-track.

Clean Up Your Credit Reports

If you have the goal of getting into the 800 Club, it starts with knowing where you currently are and what’s holding you back. Start by getting a free copy of your credit reports and reviewing your credit score.

If any negative items are incorrect on your credit reports, you can dispute them. If you find any other information that has negatively impacted your credit reports, you can ensure you don’t make those mistakes again.

Start Working Now to Improve Your Score

It’s never too late to start working on your financial habits and improving your credit score—and the earlier you start in life, the better. Start building healthy financial habits now and you’ll see your credit score steadily increase.

You’ll greatly benefit from your efforts with better interest rates, more financial opportunities and easier approvals for all types of applications. And, in no time at all, you’ll be a member of the 800 Club yourself!

If your credit score is low and you don’t understand how to tackle fixing your score, consider credit repair services. Lexington Law has credit professionals who can review your credit report and dispute any inaccurate or unfair negative line items.

We save you the time and effort of dealing with the credit bureaus, and we know how to get results because we’ve dealt with them before. Contact us now to find out how we can help you fix your credit.

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