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Best Credit Cards for Excellent Credit of August 2022

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that pay us a commission. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

It can take years to build up a high credit score, but that work can pay off big time. An excellent credit score is the key to unlocking all manner of credit perks, not the least of which is having your pick of the best credit cards around. Want a luxury travel rewards card? How about high-rate cash back credit cards? Maybe you just want a 0% intro APR deal. With excellent credit, the card possibilities are endless.

The downside to those endless possibilities is actually picking a card. We chose the cards on our list based on their best-in-class rewards or perks. They include some of our favorite travel rewards cards, as well as top-tier cash back options. We also picked cards that trade rewards for some of the longest intro APR offers we could find. And we went for a healthy mix of cards with and without annual fees.

Great for: Travel and points transfers

  • With a big sign-up bonus, the sky’s the limit for this top-rated travel rewards card. Plus, the premium points program for travel and dining make it a no brainer for travel enthusiasts everywhere. Read Full Review

    • Big sign-up bonus
    • Travel rewards
    • Dining rewards
    • Flexible travel points
    • Consumer and travel protections
    • Has an annual fee
    • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
    • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
    • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
    • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
    • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
    • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.

Great for: Travel and dining

Apply Now for Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase's Secure Website.

  • The sign-up bonus, premium rewards for travel & dining, and wide array of valuable travel credits make this a compelling offer that will offset the cost of the annual fee for many. The array of limited time offers make it even more compelling. Read Full Review

    • Sign-up bonus
    • Travel credits
    • Airport lounge access
    • Travel and dining rewards
    • Flexible travel point
    • Annual fee
    • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
    • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
    • Earn 5x total points on air travel and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
    • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward travel
    • With Pay Yourself BackSM, your points are worth 50% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
    • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
    • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority PassTM Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
    • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more

Great for: U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations

Apply Now for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

On American Express' Secure Website.

Terms apply

  • The U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations rewards are clear standouts, in addition to a big welcome bonus and a nice 0% intro APR offer. Read Full Review

    • Big welcome bonus
    • U.S. supermarkets rewards
    • U.S. gas stations rewards
    • Streaming subscription rewards
    • Annual fee
    • Foreign transaction fee
    • Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
    • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months after account opening. Plans created after that will have a fixed monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
    • Low intro APR: 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 16.24% to 26.24%.
    • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
    • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
    • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
    • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
    • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
    • $95 Annual Fee.
    • Terms Apply.

Great for: Premium travel

Apply Now for The Platinum Card® from American Express

On American Express' Secure Website.

Terms apply

  • The high annual fee is justifiable for frequent travelers who can take full advantage of a deep bench of valuable perks, including the big welcome bonus, robust rewards, and lucrative annual travel credits. Read Full Review

    • Big welcome bonus offer
    • Substantial spending credits
    • Airport lounge access
    • Hotel benefits
    • Flexible travel points
    • Annual fee
    • Limited bonus categories
    • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
    • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
    • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. And if you fly, you can receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
    • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
    • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
    • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
    • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
    • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
    • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
    • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at select airports and stadiums.
    • $695 annual fee.
    • Terms Apply.

Great for: Travel card with no annual fee

  • No-annual-fee travel cards typically skimp on the sign-up bonus, but this card delivers with its intro bonus offer, unlimited rewards on purchases, and other wallet-friendly perks. Read Full Review

    • Big sign-up bonus
    • No annual fee
    • Competitive rewards rate on purchases
    • Great 0% intro APR offer
    • No bonus categories
    • Limited ways to use points
    • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire.
    • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
    • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
    • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
    • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases. After the intro APR offer ends, 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR will apply.
    • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
    • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
    • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Great for: Dining and U.S. supermarkets

Apply Now for American Express® Gold Card

On American Express' Secure Website.

Terms apply

  • The welcome offer, lucrative rewards at restaurants, U.S. supermarkets, and on travel more than justify the annual fee for most who spend in these categories. Read Full Review

    • Impressive welcome offer
    • Restaurants rewards
    • U.S. supermarket rewards
    • Travel and dining credits
    • High-value rewards points
    • Annual fee
    • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
    • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
    • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® Points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
    • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
    • Updated $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
    • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
    • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
    • Annual Fee is $250.
    • Terms Apply.

Great for: 0% intro APR offer and no late payment fee

Apply Now for Citi Simplicity® Card

On Citi's Secure Website.

  • With a long 0% intro APR offer, no late fees, no annual fee, and no penalty rate, this card is an unmatched pick. Read Full Review

    • Great intro APR
    • No annual fee
    • No late fees
    • No penalty APR
    • No rewards
    • Foreign transaction fee
    • No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
    • 0% Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer and 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases from date of account opening. After that the variable APR will be 16.99% - 26.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfers must be completed within 4 months of account opening.
    • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
    • Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges
  • Includes a big bonus in the no-annual fee category, a great 0% intro APR offer, and a flexible cash rewards program that enables you to earn premium cash back in a category of your choice. Read Full Review

    • Competitive sign-up bonus
    • Bonus cash back in a category of your choice
    • No annual fee
    • Great 0% intro APR offer

    • Foreign transaction fee
    • Limit on bonus cash back
    • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
    • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases.
    • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more cash back on every purchase. That means you could earn 3.75%-5.25% cash back on purchases in your choice category.
    • No annual fee and no expiration on rewards.
    • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers.
    • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
    • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Great for: Bank of America loyalists

  • The bonus offer, premium travel & dining rewards, and up to $200 in travel-related statement credits make this a compelling offer for travelers who can justify paying an annual fee. Read Full Review

    • Big sign-up bonus
    • Bonus travel and dining rewards
    • Travel credits
    • Consumer and travel protections
    • Annual fee
    • Receive 50,000 online bonus points - a $500 value - after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
    • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
    • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means you could earn 2.5-3.5 points on travel and dining purchases and 1.87-2.62 points on all other purchases, for every $1 you spend.
    • No limit to the points you can earn and your points don't expire.
    • Redeem for cash back as a statement credit, deposit into eligible Bank of America® accounts, credit to eligible Merrill® accounts, or gift cards or purchases at the Bank of America Travel Center.
    • Get up to $100 in Airline Incidental Statement Credits annually and TSA PreCheck®/Global Entry Statement Credits of up to $100, every four years.
    • No foreign transaction fees.
    • Low $95 annual fee.
    • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Great for: Long 0% intro APR offer

Apply Now for U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

On U.S. Bank's Secure Website.

  • With a 20 billing cycle intro APR offer for both balance transfers and purchases, this is one of the best low interest credit cards we've come across. Read Full Review

    • Long 0% intro APR offer
    • No annual fee
    • Cell phone protection
    • Free credit score monitoring
    • No rewards
    • Foreign transaction fee
    • Limited Time Offer!
    • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 16.74% - 26.74%.
    • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your U.S.Bank Visa® Platinum Credit Card. Certain terms, conditions, and exclusions apply.
    • Choose a payment due date that fits your schedule
    • No Annual Fee
    • Pay over time by splitting eligible purchases of $100+ into equal monthly payments with U.S. Bank ExtendPay™ Plan.
    • Terms and conditions apply.

Which credit card for excellent credit is right for you?

With excellent credit, you can get just about any credit card you like, which can make it hard to pick the right one from all the options. When comparing credit card offers, you'll need to consider what you want out of your credit cards.

  • Rewards: Think about the type of rewards -- cash back vs. points -- as well as the rewards rates. We like to choose cards that maximize our rewards on the things we purchase most.
  • Annual fee: Some annual fees are worth paying. Others aren’t. Consider what kind of value you’ll get from your card to make your decision.
  • Interest rates: If you have big purchases coming up, a long intro 0% APR card could be more important than even rewards.

Overview of the best credit cards for excellent credit

While folks with average or low credit scores are limited in the cards they can get, applicants with excellent credit aren't limited by their own creditworthiness. On the contrary, excellent credit means you'll pass muster for nearly any credit card you could want. Here's a look at just a few of the best credit cards available to you when you have excellent credit.

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Great for: Transferable points and benefits

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a mid-tier travel rewards card that earns bonus points on travel and dining purchases. Users earn Ultimate Rewards points, valuable rewards that can be transferred to Chase travel partners.

Read the full Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card review

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Great for: Travel rewards and perks

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is a premium travel rewards card that earns 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel and dining purchases. The card also comes with a plethora of travel perks, including an annual travel credit, airport lounge access, and trip insurance.

Read the full Chase Sapphire Reserve® review

Amex Blue Cash Preferred

Great for: U.S. supermarkets and streaming rewards

The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is one of the best everyday rewards cards around, offering 6% cash back on up to $6,000 in U.S. supermarkets purchases each year. You'll also earn 6% back on select streaming services, as well as 3% back on transit purchases and at U.S. gas stations. Terms apply.

Read the full Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review

Amex Platinum Card

Great for: Travel rewards and lounge access

The Platinum Card® from American Express is a top-rated travel card that offers high rewards rates on select hotel and airline purchases, as well as a ton of travel perks. Users get annual credits with Uber, access to more than 1,300+ airport lounges, and hotel elite status. Select enrollment required, terms apply.

Read the full The Platinum Card® from American Express review

Bank of America Travel Rewards

Great for: Travel rewards with no annual fee

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a no annual fee travel rewards card that provides unlimited 1.5x miles per dollar on purchases. However, miles can't be transferred; instead, they're redeemed for statement credit to cover travel and dining purchases.

Read the full Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card review

Amex Gold Card

Great for: Restaurants and U.S. supermarkets rewards

The American Express® Gold Card is ideal for foodies of all kinds, offering 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in eligible purchases), as well as 4x points per $1 at restaurants. Users also get annual dining and Uber credits. Select enrollment required, terms apply.

Read the full American Express® Gold Card review

Citi Simplicity Card

Great for: 0% intro APR offer and no late payment fee

The Citi Simplicity® Card packs in one of the best 0% intro APR offers we've come across for balance transfers. Other standout features are no late payment fee and no penalty APR.

Read the full Citi Simplicity® Card review

Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards

Great for: Choosing your rewards

The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card lets cardholders choose their own 3% cash back rewards category from a list of options that includes things like travel, gas, and drugstores. You'll also earn 2% back on groceries and at wholesale stores. Bonus rewards are capped at $2,500 in purchases each quarter.

Read the full Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card review

Bank of America Premium Rewards

Great for: Choosing your rewards

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card matches the competition well in its category, including rewards and a nice sign-up bonus. But where the card excels is with its travel-related statement credits and up to 25% to 75% bonus points for Preferred Rewards members.

Read the full Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card review

U.S. Bank Visa Platinum

Great for: Long 0% intro APR offers

The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card has the longest 0% intro APR offer we've come across at 20 billing cycles for both purchases and balance transfers.

Read the full U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card review

What is an excellent credit score?

In general, you can consider your credit score to be excellent if it falls within the top 10% of the range for the scoring model being used. That said, the exact definition of an excellent credit score can vary based on the model and lender.

Learn more: Complete Guide to Understanding Your Credit Score

The majority of lenders will use some version of a FICO® Score when evaluating your credit. Most FICO® Score models use a range of 300 to 850, with 850 being the highest possible score. So, a FICO® Score of 800 to 850 would definitely be considered an excellent credit score. However, in practice, any score over 780 will likely qualify you for most credit products.

Benefits of having an excellent credit score

An excellent credit score comes with a ton of benefits, many of which can save you money. Let's take a look at a few of them.

Easy approval for credit products

We’ve all had that edge-of-our-seats wait while a credit card or loan application is being evaluated. But having excellent credit means you have one less thing to stress about when you click "Apply."

It’s worth noting that excellent credit isn’t a guarantee of approval. Issuers could still reject your application for any number of reasons. If your income is too low to qualify for the card’s minimum credit limit, for instance. And some issuers will turn you down for a new card if you’ve opened too many other card accounts in the last year or two. (Chase is notorious for this!)

Learn more: The Chase 5/24 Rule

Lower interest rates and fees

Your credit score has a huge impact on the interest rate you're charged by various credit products, including:

The better your credit, the lower the interest rate you'll be charged. This can easily save you thousands of dollars over the course of a loan, especially long-term loans like home mortgage loans.

Learn more: How Credit Card Interest Works

Low or no down payments

Although we often associate credit scores with products like credit cards and loans, lots of places will check your credit before doing business with you. This can include:

  • Apartment complexes
  • Utility companies
  • Cellphone providers

With excellent credit, you're less likely to have to put down a deposit to open an account or obtain a rental. Even if you do need to make a deposit, chances are good it will be much lower than would be required if you had a lower credit score.

Larger credit limits and loan amounts

Your income certainly plays a role in how much credit you can get. However, having an excellent credit score will go a long way toward being approved for higher credit limits. This can mean higher credit limits on your credit cards, as well as the ability to get approved for larger loans.

Related: Best High-Limit Credit Cards

We’ve found reports of people getting credit card limits of $50,000 or more at approval. Excellent credit can help you after the fact, too. Improving your credit score can get you credit limit increases on your existing cards.

Learn more: How to Increase Your Credit Limit

What is the best credit card for excellent credit?

The credit card market is full to bursting with different types of credit cards, so there's no "best" credit card for everyone. The best card for you will depend on things like your spending habits and the type of rewards you want to earn.

Learn more: How to Choose a Credit Card

Happily, when you have excellent credit, you can take your pick of just about any credit card you want. This includes credit cards for good credit, as well as premium options reserved for those with the best credit scores.

For example, if you want to earn travel rewards, you could choose one of the top-tier travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the The Platinum Card® from American Express. On the other hand, folks who want to maximize their everyday purchases would likely enjoy the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express or the American Express® Gold Card.

Learn more: The Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards

How to get an excellent credit score

Building an excellent credit score takes several years of responsible credit use, including paying your debts on time every month, keeping low balances, and being conscientious about opening new credit. To get a better idea of what's involved in understanding your credit score, let's look at the five factors that go into your FICO® Score calculation:

  1. Payment history: Making your debt payments on time is the most important part of your credit score, and it is worth 35% of your FICO® Score. Any credit card or loan payment more than 30 days past due can be reported to the credit bureaus as delinquent, which will damage your credit score. To get full marks, be sure to make every credit card and loan payment on time, every single month. You can set up automatic payments on your debts to help ensure you never miss a payment.
  2. Amounts owed: This is worth 30% of your FICO® Score and it considers both how much total debt you have and your credit utilization ratio, which is the combined credit limits of all your cards compared to how much in total you owe on your cards. Your credit utilization ratio is calculated by dividing your balance by your available credit. For example, a credit card with a $1,000 balance and a $5,000 credit limit has a utilization rate of 20%: $1,000 / $5,000 = 0.2 = 20%. Ideally, you want your utilization to stay below 10%. At the very least, avoid maxing out your credit cards, as that will cause your utilization to skyrocket -- and your credit scores to drop.
  3. Credit history length: How long you've been building credit plays a big role in your credit score, weighing in for 15% of your score calculation. The longer your positive credit history, the better you'll do in this factor. Building credit early and keeping older credit card accounts open when possible are the best ways to improve this factor. Outside of that, it just takes time.
  4. Credit mix: The entire point of your credit history and score is to show lenders you can responsibly handle credit. One way to show this is with a healthy credit mix of different credit types, such as having both loans and credit cards. Even having multiple credit cards can contribute to your credit mix, as it shows you can handle several lines of credit at one time.
  5. New credit: Each time you apply for a new credit product, the lender will perform a hard credit check. These credit inquiries are logged on your credit report, as are any new accounts you open. Having too many hard credit inquiries -- or too many new accounts -- on your report can indicate you plan to take on a lot of new debt, which makes lenders nervous. The best way to keep this factor in good shape is to wait at least a few months between applications.

Summary of best credit cards for excellent credit by type

I have excellent credit. Why was my application rejected?

There is so much hype placed on your credit scores that it can seem like the only factor when it comes to applying for a card. But most of us in the credit card game have been turned down for a card at least once despite having great credit scores.

Why does it happen? Your credit score is just one of the things issuers consider when you apply for a new card. Many other factors can also play a role, including:

  • Your income: By law, an issuer has to confirm you can afford the credit line they give you. If the issuer thinks your income is too low to manage the minimum credit limit for a card, they’ll likely reject your application.
  • Your recent new accounts: Many issuers have policies in place that limit how many new credit cards you can have and still be approved. Chase, for instance, won’t approve you for a new card if you have five or more new card accounts opened in the last 24 months.
  • Your history with the issuer: Banks have long memories. If you ever had a default or other problem with the issuer -- even if your mistake was decades ago -- it could stop you from getting a card now.

Any of these things (or something else entirely) could be behind your rejection. In most cases, the issuer will send you a letter telling you why you were turned down. If you need more information, contacting the issuer may also shed some light on the situation.

The Picks
Card Rating Great For
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

Travel and points transfers

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

Travel and dining

Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas stations

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

Premium travel

Rating image, 5.00 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

Travel card with no annual fee

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

Dining and U.S. supermarkets

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

0% intro APR offer and no late payment fee

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

Bonus cash back of your choice

Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

Bank of America loyalists

Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
Great For:

Long 0% intro APR offer

FAQs

  • In general, an excellent credit score is one that falls into the top 10% of the scoring range. For FICO® Scores with a range of 300 to 850, an excellent credit score is typically a score of 800 or higher.

  • Having an excellent credit score unlocks a multitude of benefits, many of which can save you money. These can include:

    • Easy approval for most credit products
    • Low interest rates on credit cards and loans
    • Low or no deposits for rentals and utilities
    • Higher credit card limits and loan amounts

    Excellent credit can also be helpful when applying for various insurance products, though this varies by product and company.

  • You can have your pick of most credit cards when you have excellent credit, so choosing a card really comes down to what you need from your new card. You'll want to consider the type of rewards it earns, as well as the rewards rates and any cardholder perks. You should also look at the annual fee and interest rates.

    For example, if you travel frequently, you'll likely want to focus on cards that earn transferable travel rewards and that offer bonus rewards on travel purchases. On the other hand, if you spend a lot on groceries or dining, look for cards that offer high rewards rates on those purchases.

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