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5 Things to Consider Doing When Your Credit Score Hits 740

Sept. 16, 2016
Credit Score, Personal Finance
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Improving your credit can be a long, difficult process. But if your credit score has finally hit 740, there’s good reason to celebrate.

Although every bank sets its own lending standards, 740 is safely inside what’s generally considered the “excellent” credit range. The small fluctuations that can occur as credit scores are updated with new data are unlikely to drop you back down to “good” credit range. Bravo!

Take a quick look at where you stand with a 740 credit score:

credit score ranges

Wondering what you can do with your new status? Here are five things to consider:

1. Apply for a better credit card

If you’ve been drooling over one of the hot new credit cards on the market, especially the ones offering primo rewards, now might be the time to apply. Usually, credit card issuers reserve their best products for folks with excellent credit. With a score of 740, you’ll likely qualify for most of them. Sign-up bonuses, high rewards rates and lots of fringe perks might be coming your way.

Just one note of caution: Upgrading one of your primary cards is fine, but don’t apply for every shiny piece of plastic that catches your eye. Each credit card application will cause your FICO score to temporarily drop by a few points, and getting too many cards in a short period of time will do further damage. Don’t go too far and put your score in jeopardy.

2. Refinance your home

If your mortgage interest rate is substantially higher than current rates and your credit has improved, now might be a good time to refinance.

Mortgages are among the most difficult loans to get, and qualifying for a competitive rate requires excellent credit. Again, it’s not a guarantee, but there’s a strong likelihood that your 740 credit score is enough to help you lock in a very low interest rate. Just be sure to do the math and figure out whether refinancing is right for you; there are lots of associated costs to consider.

3. Do a balance transfer

Struggling with credit card debt is all too common. The average household with credit card debt had $15,310 in such debt in the first quarter of 2016, according to a NerdWallet analysis. When you consider most credit cards charge double-digit interest rates, that amount can feel overwhelming.

But if you have an excellent credit score, there might be a way to ease the burden. People with credit in this range can usually qualify for introductory 0% balance transfer offers. This means you could shift some or all of your debt onto a card that’s charging no interest for a period of time, which will help you pay debt down faster.

Again, a word of caution: Many cards that come with a 0% introductory rate also charge a balance transfer fee. This could cut into the savings you’re seeing by refinancing your debt, so think about applying for a card that waives this fee if you can.

4. Shop for car insurance

Depending on where you live, car insurance might be a big monthly expense for you. But as your credit score goes up, you might qualify for lower rates.

Insurers often use something called a credit-based insurance score when they’re determining how much you’ll pay. The purpose of this score is to predict how likely it is that you’ll file a claim.

Your credit-based insurance score is at least partially based on the information that’s on your credit report. So if your score recently rose, there’s a good chance your credit-based insurance score did, too.

The upshot of all of this is that you might be able to downsize your annual car insurance payments, so it doesn’t hurt to shop around.

5. Upgrade your apartment

Not a homeowner? That doesn’t mean you can’t realize some of the benefits that come with a higher credit score. Landlords frequently use your credit to determine whether they’ll rent to you; some even use it to decide the amount of your security deposit.

In making the jump to excellent credit, your rental housing options will likely expand substantially. If you don’t love your current digs, you’re now in a good position to look around for something better.

This article was updated Sept. 16, 2016.

This article originally appeared on U.S. News & World Report.