Latest posts by R.J. Weiss, CFP® (see all)
Credit Sesame is a free software that monitors and analyzes your credit score. It’s a simple way to receive customized recommendations to improve your credit. A credit card or subscription isn’t required.
Check out TW2W’s Credit Sesame review to discover how Credit Sesame can help you join the 800+ credit score club. Plus, continue reading to get TW2W’s 7 habits of people with 800+ credit scores.
Why Your Credit Score Is Important
Before we get into our Credit Sesame review, it’s important to understand why a high credit score is important.
To name a few benefits, a high credit score helps you:
- Pay the lowest rate on your mortgage
- Rent an apartment
- Get a lower rate on all other loans even business related
- Lower your home and auto insurance premiums
- Lower the rate on your student loans
- Even get a job (some employers check credit)
This can add up to tens of thousands of dollars of savings over your lifetime.
Credit Sesame Review: Credit Score Basics
What determines your credit score is your credit history. Lenders then use your credit score to determine how likely they will be repaid.
A low credit score is a red flag to them. Lenders will either deny someone with a low credit or charge them a higher rate.
There are five factors that impact your credit score:
- Payment History (35%) – Your ability to pay past debts on time
- Credit Utilization (30%) – The percentage of available credit you have borrowed
- Length of Credit History (15%) – The length of time each account has existed and since the last activity
- New Credit (10%) – The amount of new accounts opened
- Types of Credit In Use (10%) – Your mix of credit
7 Habits Of People With A 800+ Credit Score
Your credit score falls on a scale between 300 to 850.
Generally speaking, here’s how lenders view different scores:
- 800+ score is excellent
- 720 to 800 is very good
- 640 to 720 is average
- Below 640 is bad
Having a 800+ credit score is what you want to shoot for. Around 20% of consumers have a score this high.
You can start taking steps to raise your score by following these seven habits of people with 800+ credit scores.
Habit # 1 – They Monitor But Don’t Obsess Over Their Score
Someone with a 800+ credit score knows they have a 800+ credit score. This might sound obvious but most consumers don’t know what their credit score is.
They go to apply for a loan, then cross their fingers hoping their credit score has improved.
This is exactly where a credit monitoring service like Credit Sesame helps.
Credit Sesame is a free software that monitors and analyzes your credit score.
With Credit Sesame, you get:
- A free credit score (TransUnion’s)
- Alerts anytime there’s a change to your credit report
- Monthly updates of your credit score
- Analysis of how to improve your score
There’s no credit card needed to sign up. There’s no monthly subscription.
Yes…But Is Credit Sesame Really Free?
Credit Sesame is free. It’s business model is like Mint’s, the popular budgeting software.
They give you the free tools, then make money off of the recommendations. For example, if they see you have a credit card balance, they might recommend a credit card with a lower rate. The credit card company then pays a referral fee to Credit Sesame.
Credit Sesame Benefits
Beyond the free credit score, alerts, and updates what I like most about Credit Sesame is the credit analysis.
There’s a lot to know when it comes to maximizing your score. For example, credit utilization is 30% of your score.
But what exactly is a decent credit utilization? Will lowering your credit utilization harm your score? Will it help?
Credit Sesame takes out the guess work of the steps needed to increase your score.
For example, Credit Sesame has my score at 789.
Credit Sesame then gives me the following grades:
- Payment History: A
- Credit Usage: C
- Credit Age: A
- Account Mix: C
- Credit Inquiries: C
So, off the bat I know that credit utilization, is what I want to focus on. When I click on the Credit Usage tab, Credit Sesame offers the following advice:
Credit Usage (30% impact on your score)
You’re close to under 30% credit usage which lenders like to see. The higher your usage, the lower your credit is.
Lower utilization by raising your available credit:
- Payoff your credit card debt by $X to improve from this grade from C to B
- Increase your total credit limit to lower your credit usage with a new credit card like the one below
With this knowledge I know the high leverage activities I can take to increase my score.
Credit Sesame offers customized tips for improving all aspects of your score. For those new to the inner workings of credit scoring, this is a great way to learn of the specific ways to increase your score.
Credit Sesame Review: Final Thoughts
I’ve now tried a handful of the free credit monitoring services like Credit Karma and Mint. All in all, I liked Credit Sesame the best. It’s a useful and handy tool to have.
It’s useful for the fact I can passively track my credit and know what’s going on.
This is one habit those with a high credit score have.
If you’re interested, you can sign up for free–Credit Sesame.
Habit # 2 – They Set Up AutoPay
The largest factor of your credit score is your payment history.
If you miss a payment, whether that’s a credit card, mortgage, or say a medical bill goes to collections, this negatively impacts your credit score.
The best way to overcome this is whenever possible set up bills on autopay. Even if it’s the minimum payment.
For those bills without auto payment option, set up an alert in your calendar or phone.
Habit # 3 – They Keep Their Credit Utilization Rates Low
According to FICO, the average credit utilization of someone with an 800+ credit score is 7%.
Meaning they use only 7% of the credit limit available to them.
So first rule is to keep balances low.
For example, if you have $10,000 in available credit, keep your balance to less than $700.
Just as easily, you can increase the amount of credit available to you.
Two easy ways to accomplish this are to:
- Call your current credit card provider and ask to increase your limit
- Take out a new credit card
Habit # 4 – They Don’t Close Accounts
15% Of your credit score is made up of the length of your credit history. The longer the better.
Your oldest open account determines the length of your credit history.
For most, this is a credit card.
This is why it makes sense to apply for a good no fee credit card which you can count on to stay open for some time.
If you’re considering cancelling a credit card because of an annual fee, check first to see if the issuer has any no fee cards you can switch to before closing the account.
Habit # 5 – They Know When To Apply For Credit
10% Of your score is determined by recent credit inquiries. A lot of new applications for credit may signify financial trouble.
According to FICO, those who have a score over 800 last opened a line of credit on average 15 months ago.
Keep this in mind if you’re planning on buying a new home in the next few years–as the time you want to start raising your credit score is now.
Habit # 6 – They Pay Balances In Full
You can have an 800+ credit score, yet still be running a credit card balance. After All, you’re not missing a payment.
So why do those with a 800+ credit score pay in full?
Because making minimum payments eventually catches up to you.
There are two ways:
- Your credit utilization will rise overtime due to the impact of interest
- So will your average balance rise overtime
Making minimum payments may be fine this month but overtime it’s impossible to maintain an 800+ credit score.
Habit # 7 – They Know How To Choose Credit Cards
One option for those struggling with debt is to take out a secured card. This requires you to make a deposit, however, a secured card can help build your credit score fast.
Another smart credit card strategy is to have a stable of no-fee cards you plan to keep for a long-time. This will help lengthen your credit history.
This is especially important for those who like to play the points game, where you’re applying for credit card offers consistently.
Another thing to keep in mind here is retail cards. You may get a nice discount for signing up for a retail card, however, retail cards typically have low limits. Therefore, your credit utilization may be high. That’s why it’s much better to get a card from a major bank.
Credit Sesame Review: 7 Habits Of People With A 800+ Credit Score
What can we conclude?
Having a 800+ credit score isn’t out of reach.
The habits to maintain this type of score are quite easy and should come quite passively.
Furthermore, having a credit score monitoring service like Credit Sesame can be a smart thing for consumers to do.
If you’re interested, you can sign up for a free Credit Sesame account.