According to Experian, approximately 58% of Americans last year had a FICO score of 703 or greater; that’s considered “good” by FICO standards. If you’re an overachiever who just can’t stand the thought of not being at the top, though, you’ll need to get above 800, which is “exceptional.”
It’s possible to increase your credit score in 30 days, but it’ll take a lot of diligence on your part. If you’re starting with a lower score, it might take a bit longer to increase your credit score to 800, but it’s definitely still possible.
How do you get your credit score to 800? Follow these five easy tips, and don’t forget to use a credit monitoring tool to help you keep track of your wins.
How to Get Your Credit Score to 800
1. Don’t Hit Your Credit Limit
Just because you have a $10,000 credit limit doesn’t mean you’re obligated or should spend that much each month (obviously). That same logic applies to lower credit limits as well. If you’re building your credit with a secured credit card, for example, chances are that your credit limit will be low, like $200 low.
The idea here is to use it to pay for something small, like a lunch or even a tank of gas, and then pay it off immediately. You’ll show that you’re using the credit, paying it off on time, and staying well below your credit limit. This is a great way to increase your credit utilization ratio, which you can dive into here.
2. Set Up Autopay
For both the FICO score and Vantage Score 3.0, the biggest affecting factor is your payment history. Basically, they’re looking to see that if you borrow money, you pay it back on time. That’s what your credit score is all about. So, to get your credit score to 800, it’s vital that you pay your bills on time.
If you have trouble remembering to pay your bills or find that you’re tempted to spend your money on wants rather than needs, set up autopay. Nearly every bank offers autopay features nowadays, and you can even connect your credit card account to your bank account and link automatic transfers. This helps ensure you don’t accidentally forget to pay one month (even though it won’t be the end of the world if you do).
3. Don’t Apply for Tons of Credit Cards
Again, the idea of “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” definitely applies here, too. You’ll likely receive lots of credit card offers in the mail or straight to your email inbox. If this happens, you’ll have been “pre-approved,” which doesn’t count as a hard inquiry. However, if you go out and apply for tons of credit cards every month, it will count as a hard inquiry.
These hurt your credit score, and if you’re trying to get your credit score to 800, they’re a big no-no. Instead, we suggest using a credit monitoring app like Float to check your credit score and all of the factors influencing it. Then, do your research regarding which cards you’re most likely to be approved for.
4. Only Spend What You Have
This obviously doesn’t apply to those who take out loans to finance a home (because who has close to $1 million in cash to pay for an apartment in West LA?). But, if you’re using credit cards to improve your credit score, it’s a good idea only to spend what you have.
Things happen, and we totally get it. A credit card with a higher limit can come in handy if you’re in an emergency. When you’re not, try not to use it. That is unless you know you’ll be able to pay off the balance at the end of the month. If it helps, look at your credit card like your debit card. Spend as if you cannot charge more than you have in your bank account.
5. Focus on the Long Game
If you’re starting out with zero credit history, it’s going to be hard to get your credit score to 800 overnight. If that’s the case, focus on the long game. It takes years to build up your credit history, with the ideal account age being over ten years old.
If you’re young and just getting started, consider asking your parents to add you as an authorized user on their account. Or, look into some of the best credit cards for college students. If you’re older and have a poor credit history, think about applying for a secured credit card.
Get Your Credit Score to 800 with Float
Monitoring the positive changes in your credit score after all your hard work to improve it is a great way to stay motivated to continue on your financial journey. At Float, we’re more than delighted to help you stay encouraged.
Checking your credit score with Float is free, and we update it every two weeks for you. We’re also the first app that allows you to control how much information your share, making it fun and easy to learn where your friends and family are in their credit journey.
Interested? Download the app to get started today.