Credit card expert Jason Steele contends that a stellar credit score did help him obtain an “ultra-low rate” of 2.875 percent on a 5-year adjustable rate mortgage. But that’s about it.

To get there, Steele didn’t apply for new credit in the three months before seeking the mortgage as he knew banks would be sensitive to any fresh applications. He also began paying off his card charges before the statement close date, since that’s when balances are reported to credit bureaus—a big deal since they’re considered long-term debt. He also charged less on his cards.There’s additional disappointment awaiting perfectionists who want an 850 in perpetuity: Credit scores fluctuate from month to month. Steele compares their obsession with the desire to keep a new Jeep or truck spotless. Good credit is meant to be used just like off-road vehicles are meant to get dirty.“You’re kind of missing the point,” he says of 850-worshippers. “The point is for you to use your great credit to apply for really high-end premium cards with excellent sign-up bonuses, and get the lowest possible rate for other loans.”

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.

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