General Question

KNOWITALL's avatar

How do you get your credit score to 800?

Asked by KNOWITALL (20717points) April 29th, 2019

I consider myself a fiscal conservative and have tried all my life to pay attention to my credit status.

Currently it’s excellent and has been since my 20’s, but without much debt (mortgage and one card really), do you think I need to open more cards? I hate to do that since I would be more likely to use that credit.

Looking for helpful hints on taking it past Excellent to Perfect (800 -850.)

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28 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

If you don’t want to open more credit cards you could try to just get your credit limit raised on the card you already have. For instance if your credit limit is currently $5K on your visa, see if you can get it raised to $10K. Available credit is part of your score. That means credit available to you not currently being used.

So, if your credit limit is $5K and you typically have a balance of $2K owed to the credit card, your being evaluated on the $3K remaining. If your limit was $10K then you would be evaluated on the $8K remaining, and your score should go up. Even if you always pay your credit cards off in full every month, the mount sitting on the card counts on any given day. So, even if you pay in full, that you currently have transactions not paid counts. It is not just about paying on time.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think as long as you have SOME debt, like your mortgage and a card, that should be enough to get you there.
I have credit at Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart. I use it once a year at Christmas and pay them off the following year.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Sure, I do have it set a little low, $2500.

I was told never to pay it off, as they like some balance on there, so I try to go a few times a year then pay like $50 or $100 a month until gone.

Maybe I messed up back in the day when I paid some off and cut them up, but I was doing the Dave Ramsey plan since we were struggling at the time.

It wouldn’t kill me to get one more card to try to push it. I just want to buy myself the car of my dreams when I turn 50 yrs old and obviously don’t want to pay more than I need to.

@Dutchess_III Not quite, I’m over 750 but can’t clear that last hurdle. Maybe I should ask how many people here have a credit score that’s 700 or above and see what they do.

**The average credit score in the United States is currently at an all-time high of 695. Though different scoring models exist, which cause this figure to fluctuate by a few points, most fall between 660 to 720.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How long ago is “back in the day?” Credit dings only stay on your report for 7 or 8 years, then they drop off. Even bankruptcy drops off after 7 or 8 years.

Mine is 750. It’s OK. It’s been better.

Are you signed up with Credit Karma? Get signed up. It’s free and it can tell you why your credit is what it is. You don’t get dinged for checking your credit score, either.

jca2's avatar

I just checked mine and it’s 800. I can tell you I do automatic payment of my credit card bills and I pay them in full each month, if that helps

Dutchess_III's avatar

That’s exactly what it takes.

JLeslie's avatar

Completely false about not paying them off. Always pay off your cards. NEVER give credit card companies that interest they charge, it is downright loansharking.

The whole thing is about available credit and paying on time. On time includes paying in full. My husband always has scores over 800 and we always pay in full. His is always a little higher than mine, but more of our credit cards and car lease, etc, are in his name. Mine is always in the high 700’s.

$2,500 limit is “nothing.” I would get it increased, pay off your card, and see if you score comes up.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Yes, I’m on CK, and I think the problem is I followed Dave’s advice since I only have the one card and leave a balance on them. So ya, I’ll pay that off and see where it goes.

Thanks all, I knew some of you would know where I was messing up! :)

JLeslie's avatar

Also, did you close the cards within the last 12 months? Closing cards dings your score. One reason is it reduces your open credit. The other reason is they for some reason see closing a card as a negative. If it was recent. Then the negative for closing will fade soon.

I love Dave Ramsay, if that is who you mean. I am all about paying things in full, and not buying unless you already have the money. But, I also am a big believer in using the system to get money back and free stud from credit card use. I never use debit cards, except for the company I work for, and I think she should have given me a credit card instead of a debit card, but she prefers the debit. Debit does not help your credit score at all and has more risk if it is stolen. I don’t know if you use debit, but if you do, convert to credit, pay it all off at the end of the month. Look into cash back cards if you don’t travel much. I get 1.75% back with PNC. My aunt used to get 1.5% back with Chase Freedom card. The extra few hundred a yearback is a really nice perk.

jca2's avatar

Yeah I never use debit cards. I never have. I either use cash or credit.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie No, it was several years ago when my husband had some medical situations going on, and I knew it would be too easy to sink into debt with only one income, so I paid them off and cut them up. Just Best Buy and Penney’s, store cards.

Okay, I just get so frustrated with all the offers I get info overload and don’t ever apply. What’s the PNC? I’ve heard of Chase Freedom. I guess I’ll check into it, I do kind of need a credit card in case of emergencies, it just goes against all my beliefs….lol

JLeslie's avatar

Don’t use the card a lot if you don’t want to.

However, I will just emphasize again, the card can make you money. You don’t need to pay for what you buy for a few weeks, and while you wait for the bill your money is earning interest in your savings account. Plus, if you get money back, that all starts to add up.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie It just feels like something I have to stay up on, my spending, because if I don’t then I pay interest. As opposed to using my debit/ bank card and paying cash.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s not the balance they want to see. It’s the ontime payments that affects the score.

jca2's avatar

Never use debit cards.

Advantages of credit cards over debit cards:

KNOWITALL's avatar

@jca2 Logically I know, but I was raised to never ever use credit by my grandfather. Hard to break that mindset.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Some people can handle credit cards. Some people can’t.

kritiper's avatar

Buy a house. Have a credit card. Pay all of your bills on time and in full. That’s all I can say except my credit score, currently, is just over 800.

jca2's avatar

Pay em in full each month, @KNOWITALL . I pay mine automatically, pulled right from my bank account. Some might be $1500, some months it may be 3k. I don’t allow myself to carry any balance each month.

Your grandfather has probably heard stories of people who buy more than they can pay off, and get into trouble.

flutherother's avatar

I don’t know what my credit score is but I hate debt and buy only what I have the money to pay for. I rarely use my credit card but when I do I pay it off in full to avoid interest charges. I am probably not the kind of customer credit agencies prefer but that doesn’t worry me. Perhaps their criteria are wrong.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@flutherother actually the credit agencies score includes paying on time and in full, so you’d receive points for your action.
I buy most things on my credit card groceries, gas, mobile bill, cable etc. But pay balance every month, on time.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@kritiper Nice, I’ll get there.

jca2's avatar

My 4 year new car loan was just paid off this past month so that might have helped my score jump the few points to 800 @KNOWITALL.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@jca2 Good job! Isn’t that a nice feeling? Not quite as good as driving it off the lot but close! haha

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL If you live check to check I understand why you prefer the debit card, but if you save regularly you might want to consider switching to your credit card. Most people with money use credit, because they make money on their money. But, I don’t know your shopping habits. I don’t “shop” in general. I buy what I need, like groceries, gas for my car, and rarely go shopping for clothes or make-up, or any sort of extra. I wouldn’t buy an extra unless the money was already sitting in my bank before the purchase.

It’s none of my business whether your grandpa had a lot of money or not, but if you have more than him, then your situation is different.

$2,000 a month on a credit card, paid in full, gives you about $50 more at the end of the year just in interest on your savings, plus whatever perk the credit card gives you.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie I’m probably going to go ahead and apply for one, and take your advice.

He was the sole income with six kids in much different times, so pretty different situation…lol. All in all, most of his advice kept me out of financial trouble and a 752 is still above average. :)

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Use NerdWalllet to help make the selection.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Just remember open/available credit is important, so if you start charging more on a credit card, you need to get the credit line increased to keep your credit score up.

Nerdwallet, suggested above can help you compare cards. There is also this site.

Watch for annual fees. I get the feeling you would be best off with no annual fee. Generally speaking I am completely against paying banks fees when they are making money on my money or making money on my spending.

I think Chase Freedom is a great deal now. 3% back the first year if I read it correctly. I think about getting it myself.

You should wait for a deal that will really benefit you, rather than just getting a new card for the heck of it. I think it was YARNLADY who once wrote that she opens and closes cards all the time to get the deals. I should do that, but I haven’t been doing it. My credit isn’t extremely important, we can always just rely on my husband’s credit, plus, we buy very little with credit. Just the one car that we lease every three years.

More about annual fees, I do pay an annual fee for my Marriott card, but I use Marriott a lot, and I just upgraded to paying $95 a year, which I have resisted for years, because it is so high, but I get a free night with that, and right now they are offering 100,000 points for opening the card, which is easily 4 nights of hotel at a typical moderate hotel like Fairfield Inn or Residence Inn depending on the location and time of year. If you travel the hotel cards can add up fast, and give you status (free upgrades) at the hotels. If you fly a lot the flight cards like Southwest or Delta, gives so great sign on deals sometimes. Never pay an annual fee just for status.

I think your grandpa was a smart man. I was not criticizing his methods. I figured he had a very good reason for handling money as he did, and I definitely think the advice he gave you was wise, which basically was don’t spend what you don’t have.

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