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April 30, 2015

What to do When Your Credit Score Hits ‘Good’ or ‘Excellent’

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

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Editorial Disclosure

All of our articles — including credit card articles, reviews and ratings – maintain strict editorial integrity, with complete separation between our editorial team and our sales team. We may, however, be compensated in some cases when you click on or are approved for offers from our partners. It is how we maintain an advertising-free site dedicated to providing you with the best personal finance advice possible.

It wasn’t easy, but your credit score just passed the 661 mark into “good” territory or the 781 mark into the “excellent” category. Congratulations, you’re now a credit score champion! After you’re done basking in your own glory, it’s time to actually put that credit score to effective use.

Why pay more than you have to? Many credit cards charge extremely high interest rates that can represent a significant burden, which explains why many individuals and families are struggling with debt. In fact, the average credit card debt in the United States is currently is more than $6,500. However, with your high FICO score, there’s a quick option for helping you pay off that debt. In fact, with an “excellent” score, you’re likely eligible for a 0 percent rate on balance transfers, which essentially allows you to transfer credit card debts featuring high interest rates to a no-interest account for a certain period of time.

Many cards will try to hit you with a 3 percent fee for transferring your balance, so try to seek out a card that doesn’t. Ultimately, not only will a card with a 0 percent introductory rate makes it easier to pay off your credit card debt, but successfully paying off your debt should also help boost your credit score even higher.

Now is a great time to take advantage of home loan interest rates that are lingering at a historic low. Currently, home interest rates are even below 4 percent, which means if your rate is higher and you have a substantially better credit score, you could potentially lock in a much lower rate. Your mortgage payments likely represent a big expense, and if you can reduce them over the long term, it could represent a huge cost savings.

Is your credit card not offering the great benefits, rewards and other perks you want? Don’t worry, plenty of others are. With a FICO score of 661 or above, you should be eligible for a whole slew of credit cards that offer the best benefits. On top of that, there are plenty of sign-up bonuses as well. Look around and you’ll be surprised to find just what you’re missing.

Your insurance costs are actually partially tied to your credit score. Auto insurers often calculate how much they think you should be paying based on an insurance score grounded on your actual FICO score. They use this information to try to determine the likelihood that you’ll file a claim on your auto insurance. Here are some good tips on how to get the best rate for your car insurance.

If your credit score has just upgraded to “good” or “excellent,” your credit-based insurance score is probably looking excellent as well. That might mean you qualify for a lower rate on your insurance, which can equal substantial savings for you, especially if car insurance is a big expense. Speak with a few different auto insurance providers until you find a deal that looks promising.

Ultimately, the difference between credit rating categories is pretty big, and there are rewards available from a wide variety of sources. It’s up to you to take the initiative to capitalize on all of these potential benefits.

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