Super-prime credit is the crème de la crème in the credit world. Not many people may be familiar with the term, but having super-prime credit can get you the best credit cards, the lowest interest rates, and the most lucrative rewards. What is super-prime credit, however, and how do those with the highest credit scores use their cards differently?
What Is a Super-Prime Credit Score?
Super-prime credit might not be the most commonly heard phrase, but for lenders, mentions of the term bring smiles to their faces. A super-prime credit score is a term for a person with the very best credit score. Where a prime credit score refers to any FICO Score between 660 and 719 (fair to good), a super-prime score is any FICO Score above 720.
Super-prime credit has plenty of advantages. These range from greater access to new credit to preferable rates on new lines of credit and loans. Some of the highlights people with excellent credit scores can expect include:
The Very Lowest Interest Rates
According to statistics by Experian (one of the three major credit bureaus), a credit score over 720 can help get applicants an APR over 1% lower than those with a good credit score. Even more impressive, super-prime borrowers get an average interest rate of over 8% lower than subprime borrowers.
The Highest Bonuses
While prime borrowers can access signup bonuses, like 0% intro APRs and more, the best perks go to the best credit scores. Why? Because of the following third benefit.
The Best Credit Cards
Not all credit cards are available to all consumers. The very best credit cards (featuring the very best bonuses and perks) belong to those with the best credit scores. Cards like the Platinum Card from American Express, Amex Gold Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and others are only available to those with excellent credit. Some cards are even more exclusive. The Luxury Card range (which includes the Mastercard Black Card, Mastercard Titanium Card, and Mastercard Gold Card), for example, requires an excellent credit score and a high income.
What all these cards (credit cards and charge cards) have in common is that they offer the best benefits, including:
- Airport lounge access
- Travel and other statement credits, including dining
- Elite membership status in airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Huge signup bonuses
- And more
What Are the Habits of Consumers with Super-Prime Credit?
Because of the very high credit scores needed to break into the “super-prime” category, individuals with the very best credit scores have different credit habits than other consumers.
Lower Credit Usage
One of the most important things that separates those with super-prime credit from those with prime credit scores is their credit use. According to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, only 30% of people with super-prime credit carry a balance from month-to-month. In comparison, 70% of people with prime credit carry a balance month-to-month.
Overall credit usage accounts for about 30% of a person’s FICO Score, making it the second-largest factor in calculating that number. What seemingly sets those with excellent credit apart from those with good credit, therefore, is how much they rely on their credit lines to make purchases.
The above statement gains further proof when the average credit card balances per group are examined. Prime credit users have an average of $7,000 in credit card debt, while super-prime credit users average roughly $5,000.
At the same time, those with super-prime credit tend to have higher credit limits. According to Experian, those with fair-to-good credit have total credit limits of approximately $25,000. In comparison, those with excellent credit have an average total credit limit of roughly $35,000.
What Habits Do People with Excellent Credit Share with Everyone Else?
While you might think those with super-prime credit tend to shy away from new credit, you’d be mistaken. On average, people with super-prime credit scores have four open credit card accounts. This compares favorably with the national average, which is 3.1 cards per person.
This fact is good news for consumers, as they don’t need to worry about shying away from a new credit card for fear of their credit score dropping. Indeed, opening a new account can actually raise your credit score in the long-term, thanks to higher credit limits and lower credit utilization.
How to Get Super-Prime Credit
Getting super-prime credit is difficult. The higher your credit score climbs, the tougher it becomes to repair if any damage occurs. Because of the difficulty in raising a credit score from good to excellent, patience and determination are the two most important virtues required.
Getting your credit score to “super-prime” requires paying all your bills on time each month. Where possible, pay them in full. As stated, people with excellent credit are less likely to carry a balance from month to month. They are also less likely to carry a significant credit balance overall.
Those with a good credit score are unlikely to miss payments – otherwise, their score wouldn’t be “good.” Therefore, it is the credit use (which makes up 30% of their credit score) that is the difference between “prime” and “super-prime.” Keep your credit usage below 30%, or for better results, keep credit use below 10%.
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