Beyond credit, a good credit score is an advantage when applying for a job or for life insurance. Employees with good credit are considered to be more stable (and employable), while insurance companies see them as lower risk than those in the fair or poor credit risk categories.
We’re going to discuss some of the different personal loan opportunities available to you if you have good credit. And we’re even going spend a bit of time touching on moving your good credit to the excellent credit range.
The best avenues to get credit when you have good credit
When you have good credit, you have a lot of loan options. That’s particularly true if your credit score is over 700. Even though that may not be considered excellent credit, it’s good enough that the majority of lenders will want to do business with you. But some lenders will be more anxious than others, while others are best avoided.
Banks and credit unions
These will be your preferred loan sources, since you’re practically guaranteed a loan approval with a credit score of 670 or higher. But what will be affected by your credit score is the rate you will pay on the loan. For example, you likely get a lower interest rate with the 720 credit score than 680. But in either case, you’ll get a loan.
Between the two, credit unions are usually the better source. That’s because they’re non-profit, and owned by their members—which includes you. For that reason, it’s very likely you’ll get a lower interest rate than you will at a bank. Credit unions are particularly beneficial when it comes to auto loans.
Home equity loans
With good credit, these can be excellent loan sources. They include both actual home equity loans, and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). You’ll generally get better interest rates than other types of loans, since they’re secured by your home. They also provide larger loan amounts than other loan sources.
Just be aware that home equity loans and HELOCs do put your house at risk. In addition, they include some provisions you’ll need to be aware of. For example, home equity loans often include a balloon payment. You may get a fixed rate for the first five or 10 years, with the payment based on 15 or 20 years. But at the end of five or 10 years, the entire loan balance maybe due. HELOCs may also include a balloon provision. But they’re also variable-rate loans, and the interest rate can rise with the prime rate.
There are also interest-only HELOC’s. They require that you pay only the interest on the loan for the first say, five years. But after that, you may be required to pay both interest and principal for the next 10 years. That can make for a very steep loan payment.
Other loan sources to consider
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lenders
The loans you get from these sources will often have higher interest rates and fees than what you’ll pay at a bank or credit union. But they still have certain advantages. For example, you can get a personal loan of up to $40,000 for any purpose. In addition, the loans are completely unsecured.
They can be particularly beneficial with large medical debts. But one area of special consideration is business financing. It can be difficult to get a loan for a business of any type. But if you’re trying to launch a new business, it will be virtually impossible to get one from a bank or credit union. Since P2P personal loans are made for any and all purposes, they can be a perfect source for new business financing.
P2P lenders to investigate include LendingTree and Prosper.
These aren’t direct lenders, but web platforms giving you access to potentially hundreds of different lenders. The big advantage is that they save you from having to shop around with individual lenders. You complete a loan summary request, and lenders will come to you with offers. You can select the one that will work best for you.
I want to point out an excellent option here for getting personal loans – Fiona (formerly Even Financial). You may want to give them a try and see if you can get a better deal than what you can at your bank or credit union as you can get a loan for anywhere between 1K and 100K, for between 24 and 48 months. Fiona has many different lenders, and you can find the ones that work best for you by completing a single application. So Even cuts out a lot of the leg work for you and helps you figure out what is the single best option for you.
Another company to check out is Credible. Credible operates much like Even. You’ll fill out a single form and you’ll be led to all of your loan options in one place. The good thing about Credible is that requesting interest rates with them will not affect your credit score whatsoever. And Money Under 30 readers who refinance their student loans with Credible can get a $100 bonus.
Getting a personal auto loan with good credit
If you have good credit, getting a personal auto loan is almost certain. The only time you might have trouble is if your credit history shows specific problems with a current auto loan, or if your income is insufficient to qualify for the loan.
Apart from those two issues, not only are you likely to be approved, but you’ll probably have plenty of options. Or, you can check out Fiona, a loan matching service that will find you the best rates—so it’s really just more of a convenience for folks with good credit.
It’s important to remember that auto lending is not as uniform as other types of lending, particularly mortgages. This is because auto lending is a diverse industry. There are banks, credit unions, and subprime lenders, and each have their own criteria.
If you have good credit, you should be able to get an auto loan from your bank or credit union at a very reasonable rate. At a minimum, get a pre-approval, then make the car dealer beat it with a better offer.
Your credit score still matters with personal auto loans even if you have good credit
Even though you have good credit, your specific credit score will largely determine the interest rate you’ll pay on your auto loan.
Check out our auto loan calculator to get an idea of what kind of personal loan rate you’ll get.
Whatever your credit score is, be sure to shop around. You can often do better with credit unions than banks, and certainly than dealer financing. For example, DCU Credit Union—which lends nationally—is offering auto loans as low as 2.74 percent APR. The minimum credit score they’ll accept is 650, which is actually a little bit below the 670 to 739 range normally considered to be good credit.
Getting a mortgage with good credit
Most mortgage lenders will give you a loan if your credit score is at least 620, and there are a few that’ll go down to 600 or even 580. The catch is you’ll pay a higher interest rate with a credit score that low. And those are all considered to be fair credit, which is in the 580 to 669 credit score range.
If you’re in the good credit score range—670 or higher—your likelihood of approval is much greater. And while you may not get the lowest mortgage rates available, the one you will get will be a lot better than if you were in the fair credit score range.
What’s more, if you have good credit, you’re less likely to have to get a cosigner, or to make a large down payment. Your credit will be good enough that it won’t need to be offset by a major compensating factor.
As far as which mortgage lender to use, there are no particular recommendations here. Virtually all mortgage lenders originate loans through either the FHA, VA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac. That means that while there’s some flexibility between lenders, they’re all following essentially the same guidelines.
Once again, you can use our mortgage calculator, you can determine the effect of credit score ranges on your interest rate and monthly payment for a mortgage.
Credit cards for people with good credit
While personal loans may work better for some, using a credit card to pay off your debt could be a better option.
Many balance transfer credit cards offer 0% interest for anywhere between 12-18 months. That gives you a year or more to pay off your debt with ZERO interest. So if you decide to make a big purchase – whatever it is – balance credit cards buy you time and therefore money. Also, if you have debt that you know you can pay off in that amount of time, going with a balance transfer card over a personal loan is usually a better choice.
Here are a few of my favorite balance transfer cards to check out: