The perks of excellent credit - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

The perks of excellent credit

We talk a lot about how to improve credit scores. But today, we're going to talk about the power of a great credit score.

If your score is at the very top - and we're talking about a 750 or higher out of a possible 850 on FICO's scale - then you're eligible for some good stuff. Only about a third of Americans ever reach that level, so it's a big deal. Among the perks - you're likely eligible for the lowest rates on a home or car loan.

But credit card companies will also be climbing over each other to get your business. The average credit card now comes with a variable interest rate of about 14.5%. If you're in that FICO "elite" group, you could get one for half that. There are even some cards - Citi Platinum "Select" Mastercard for one - that offer 0% interest for a certain period of time.

A high score can also make you eligible for some great rewards cards. One of them, the Pentagon Federal Credit Union's VISA Platinum "Cashback Rewards" pays 5% on gas, and 1% on everything else. Now, you have to be in the military or join the National Military Family Association, but anyone can do that for $20.

A great score also gives you a real wedge for negotiating with your lender. If you're sitting on an 800 score, you can call and tell them you've been offered a better deal elsewhere, and see if they'll match - or beat - the terms.

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