credit card advice
In popular culture, a skeleton key is often described as a key that can open any lock. While truly universal skeleton keys don’t exist in the real world — we have too many lock variations for just one key, no matter how revered — skeleton keys remain a popular literary device.
What’s more, they’re also a pretty good metaphor for having excellent credit. With a credit score of 750 or higher, you’re firmly in the excellent-credit category, and your high credit score is essentially a skeleton key for unlocking most credit products.
Indeed, having excellent credit can not only help you get approved for nearly any credit card or loan you set your eyes on, it can also help unlock the lowest rates and fees for those products. While few credit doors are locked to excellent-credit key-holders, here are some of our top picks.
Credit Cards: 750-800 Credit Score
Love ’em or hate ’em, credit cards are an integral part of modern American life for most of us. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Credit cards are more secure than debit cards, more convenient than cash, and are chock-full of perks and benefits that can save you money and just plain make life more pleasant.
And that can be especially true when you have the excellent credit to take your pick of the credit card litter. Top-notch travel cards, no-fee cash back cards, and points-maximizing rewards cards are all part of the great credit card buffet available to credit scores of 750 and up.
1. Discover it® Cash Back
In many ways, the Discover it® Cash Back is one of the top cash back cards on the market, and not just thanks to its high-rate rewards — which are pretty awesome. No, it’s the combination of great features that makes this card stand out.
Not only do cardholders earn cash back rewards on every purchase, but they’ll do so while paying no annual fees or foreign transaction fees. They’ll also enjoy an intro-APR offer on both new purchases and balance transfers.
at Discover Card'ssecure website
- INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
- Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
- Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
- Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
- Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
- Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
0% for 14 months
0% for 14 months
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
Of course, even if it just came down to purchase rewards, this card would earn a place near the top of the list thanks to its 5% cash back bonus categories. Each activated quarter, cardholders can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in eligible bonus category purchases.
Bonus categories change every quarter, and they include a range of popular and useful merchants like gas stations, grocery stores, and Amazon.com. Rewards can be redeemed at any time, with no minimums, and your cash back never expires as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
Although a credit score between 750 and 800 should be well within Discover’s approval requirements, the bank will look at more than your credit score for approval. Your income and your history with Discover can also factor.
Additionally, Discover limits the number of simultaneous Discover credit cards you can hold to two, so if you already have two Discover cards, you won’t qualify for a third. And, you must wait at least one year after opening the first card to open a second card.
2. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is constantly ranked a top points rewards credit card thanks to its competitive bonus categories and robust rewards program. Cardholders can earn 2X Ultimate Rewards® points per dollar on travel and dining purchases, plus unlimited 1X Ultimate Rewards® points per dollar on all other purchases.
And Ultimate Rewards® aren’t just any old points. Though the program has the standard cash back and gift card redemption options, travel redemption is where the program really shines. Cardholders can get 1.25¢ per point toward travel through Chase, or transfer to one of a dozen hotel or loyalty programs for even more per-point value.
at Chase'ssecure website
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
17.99% - 24.99% Variable
Besides the value inherent in the Ultimate Rewards® program, the broad bonus categories are part of what makes this card so great at earning rewards quickly.
The travel category, for example, includes an array of purchases and merchants, including airfare, hotel stays, rental cars, parking fees, and even rideshares. The dining category is equally expansive, including dine-in restaurants as well as bars and take-out purchases.
As with most credit cards, of course, Chase will look at more than your credit score when considering your application for approval. The biggest obstacle most applicants with good to excellent credit will face isn’t their creditworthiness, but their application history.
More specifically, Chase employs what’s known as the 5/24 Rule, which automatically denies applicants who have opened five or more credit accounts in the past 24 months, regardless of credit score or income. While some co-branded Chase cards are exempt from 5/24, all Chase single-branded cards are subject to the Rule.
3. Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card
If you’re looking for a solid everyday card, it’s hard to beat the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card and its triple-threat bonus categories, especially if you enjoy a night out on the town (or three).
That’s because the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of the few cards on the market to offer bonus rewards for entertainment, which covers nearly any activity you could plan. Cardholders will earn 4% cash back on everything from movies and dance clubs to aquariums and zoos, with no limit on how much cash back you can earn.
- Earn a one-time $500 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
- Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
- No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
- No foreign transaction fees
- Access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
- $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 after that
16.24% - 25.24% (Variable)
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
And don’t forget to stop for a bite to eat while you’re zoo-hopping. You’ll earn 4% cash back on dining purchases, a diverse category that includes purchases at restaurants, cafes, bars, lounges, fast-food chains, and bakeries.
When you’re tired of eating out — assuming that could happen — you can head into the local grocery store for some grub, and use your Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card to earn 2% cash back on your purchases. Keep in mind that purchases at wholesale clubs and discount stores (e.g., Walmart and Target) don’t count.
Although your high 750+ credit score will certainly catch Capital One’s eye, it isn’t the only factor in the bank’s approval decision. Your history with Capital One, current income, and specific credit profile will all contribute.
It’s also worth noting that Capital One reportedly limits cardholders to opening two consumer credit cards, which means your application for the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card could be rejected if you already hold two Capital One consumer credit cards.
4. Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
Consumers who want a handy everyday card but don’t like the idea of an annual fee are singing the praises of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, which offers several popular bonus rewards categories, an intro-APR offer, and no annual fee, all in one package.
With the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, dining out and ordering in alike can net you 3X Go Far Rewards® points per dollar. And, no matter how you get to the restaurant, this card has you covered. Cardholders earn triple points on travel, including gas station, rideshare, and public transit purchases.
at Wells Fargo'ssecure website
- New! Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that's a $300 cash redemption value
- Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in
- Earn 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit
- Earn 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
- Earn 1X points on other purchases
- $0 Annual Fee
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
And the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has one additional bonus category, a category becoming increasingly desirable: streaming services. Cardholders can earn 3X Go Far Rewards® points per dollar spent on select streaming services that include popular options like Hulu and Netflix.
As is the case with most financial products, Wells Fargo will evaluate your entire credit profile — not just your credit score — when making an approval decision. On the plus side, Wells Fargo doesn’t have any published limits or restrictions on the number of credit cards you can have.
One thing that does seem to be consistent about Wells Fargo, however, is that many reports indicate that you may need to be an existing Wells Fargo banking customer to qualify for its premium credit card products. While this doesn’t seem to be a problem for the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, it’s something to keep in mind.
Personal Loans: 700-750 Credit Score
One of the most difficult types of credit to get approved for is typically unsecured credit — for the obvious reason that they don’t require down payments or other collateral. But that excellent-credit skeleton key works just as well on personal loans as it does for credit cards.
In fact, not only does a 750+ credit score mean you will likely get approval for a personal loan from nearly any lender you select, but it also means you’ll probably get one of the lowest rates possible.
Furthermore, while the size of the loan you can qualify for has a lot to do with your income and current debt, you may also be offered a higher loan amount than consumers with similar incomes but lower credit scores.
If you want to compare quotes, it’s hard to beat an online lending network for sheer convenience. PersonalLoans.com, for example, can show you multiple personal installment loan quotes from lenders around the country, all from a single application.
Loans from PersonalLoans.com’s lending partners can be obtained in a range of sizes, from $2,000 up to $35,000. Applicants with a 750+ credit score and decent income are probably the most likely to qualify for the maximum amount.
- Loan amounts range from $2,000 to $35,000
- Flexible credit requirements
- Online lending network with partners in 50 states
- Loan can be used for anything
- Fast online approval
- Funding in as few as 24 hours
Term lengths vary based on the lender and loan but can extend up to a maximum of 72 months (six years). Qualified applicants can expect to receive funding in as little as 24 hours, though some loans may take longer.
PersonalLoan.com’s lending partners handle a variety of loan types, including peer-to-peer loans, direct-lender, and bank loans. The terms and repayment methods of each loan type can vary, so make sure you understand the type of loan you’re obtaining.
SignatureLoan.com is another example of an online lending network that connects borrowers with lenders from around the country. The network will use your one application to evaluate your needs against dozens of partners to find the right fit.
Qualified applicants can obtain loans in variable amounts, with a minimum loan amount of $1,000, and a maximum loan amount of $35,000. Applicants with 750+ credit scores are typically in a good position to apply for a loan at or near the maximum amount, assuming they can meet income requirements.
- Loan amounts range from $1,000 to $35,000
- Flexible credit requirements
- Loans can be used for anything
- Five minute application
- Funding possible in as few as 24 hours
- Large lending network with multiple partners
Personal installment loans are ideal for a number of uses, as, unlike auto or home loans, personal loans generally don’t have restrictions on what can be financed. Once you select a lender through the network, you’ll work directly with the lender to complete the loan process.
Loans can often be obtained in as little as 24 hours, though there’s no guarantee. Terms can range from three months up to 72 months, depending on your needs and the lender you select. Keep in mind that longer loans will cost more overall thanks to the additional interest payments.
Auto Loan: 700-750 Credit Score
With the average cost of a new vehicle at over $35,000, even consumers with high incomes may struggle to pay cash for a new car, making auto loans an unfortunate necessity for many people.
Happily, with an excellent credit score, that necessity doesn’t necessarily have to be so unfortunate. A credit score above 750 means you’ll qualify for some of the very best rates and terms, as well as many dealer incentives.
As with any loan, of course, auto lenders will look at your entire credit profile before making a decision. Your income and current debt load may also contribute to whether you are approved, and for how much.
7. Auto Credit Express
Car shoppers these days have more options than ever to find an auto loan. Right in the neighborhood for most folks are big national banks, small community banks, and local credit unions. If you want to head online, you can find even more of the same, plus peer lenders and other institutions.
For all that, however, many people still prefer to get their loan right from the dealer, often to take advantage of dealer incentives. Auto Credit Express is an online dealer network that helps connect borrowers with local dealers who meet their criteria.
- Dealer partner network has closed over $1 billion in auto loans
- Can help those with bad credit, no credit, bankruptcy, and repossession
- Established in 1999
- Easy, 30-second pre-qualification form
- Bad-credit applicants must have $1500/month income to qualify
Auto Credit Express has a huge dealer network that can help borrowers around the country. With a single application, you may find multiple dealers in your area that are a good fit for your needs.
Once you select a dealer, however, Auto Credit Express leaves the picture; you’ll work with the dealer from this point on. In many cases, you’ll set up a time to meet the dealer of your choice and peruse the dealer’s selection of vehicles and finish the loan process.
Home Loan: 700-750 Credit Score
Of all the loan types available to consumers, home loans can be some of the most difficult to obtain, mostly due to the sheer size of a typical home loan. After all, if you were going to lend someone an average of over $375,000, wouldn’t you be picky?
But with an excellent credit score, many of the typical worries of finding a home loan go right out of the window, as you should be able to sail right over nearly any bank’s minimum credit score requirements for a conventional loan.
Plus, that excellent credit — paired with a solid income and employment history — can even qualify you for loans with great rates and a minimal down payment. Even some conventional loans can be had for as little as 5% down when you have a 750+ credit score and the right lender.
As with most things these days, one of the easiest ways to find a home loan is to power up your PC and head online. For example, online lending network, LendingTree.com, can help qualified borrowers shop multiple loan offers from a single application (and the comfort of their own sofas).
LendingTree.com has a larger network of partner lenders that means eligible applicants can receive up to five mortgage loan offers at one time, making it easy to compare rates. Filling out the simple online application takes just minutes and you can receive offers almost right away.
- Find lenders for new home purchases, refinancing, home equity loans, and reverse mortgages
- Lenders compete for your business
- Offers in minutes
- Receive up to 5 loan offers and select the right one for you
- Founded in 1996
- Over $250 billion in closed loan transactions
Although you typically need to have a specific property selected before you can apply directly for a mortgage loan, you can use LendingTree.com to get pre-approved before you begin shopping. Pre-approval isn’t a guarantee of a loan, but it can give you a good idea of your homebuying budget.
Selecting a loan from a LendingTree.com partner generally concludes LendingTree.com’s role in the process. Once you have a lender, you’ll typically work directly with the lender to complete the homebuying process, which may include additional steps like a home appraisal or inspection.
Make the Most of Your Great Credit
In today’s world, the idea of the skeleton key is a bit archaic, a concept from a simpler time when a wide variety of locks could be opened with one key.
While the trend toward digital locks may, one day, see a revival of the skeleton key — or skeleton program, as the case may be — the concept lives on as a great metaphor (or plot point).
Take your excellent credit, for instance. There is likely no better metaphor than a skeleton key for the way excellent credit can unlock nearly any credit product, making it simple to find and qualify for the financing you need.
Of course, making the most of your excellent credit also means maintaining that credit. Be sure to pay your new credit cards or loans on time and as agreed to keep your skeleton-key credit score bright and shiny.
Range of credit scores covered in this article: 750, 751, 752, 753, 754, 755, 756, 757, 758, 759, 760, 761, 762, 763, 764, 765, 766, 767, 768, 769, 770, 771, 772, 773, 774, 775, 776, 777, 778, 779, 780, 781, 782, 783, 784, 785, 786, 787, 788, 789, 790, 791, 792, 793, 794, 795, 796, 797, 798, 799, 800