You might think your credit score matters only when you’re ready to buy a house or car and the rest of the time, it’s not so important. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your credit score affects your life and finances every day. You might not notice it, but it happens. What usually brings your credit score to the forefront is when you get refused for something.
Do you need a new smartphone?
Smartphones are expensive. The latest iPhone costs around $1,000 if you want something with curb appeal. Even bargain phones can cost hundreds of dollars if you pay out of pocket, up-front, and in a lump sum. With the major phone carriers, you can walk out of the store with a shiny new phone in hand for low monthly payments attached to your cell bill, but only if you have good credit.
Are you job-hunting?
You might not think your credit score has anything to do with the search for your next gig, but it very well might. At one time, only those who worked in finance, like bank tellers and cash handlers, needed a good credit score to get a job. Increasingly, employers are checking credit on a wide array of potential employees to screen out candidates. It might not seem fair, but it’s a growing practice.
Looking for a new place to live?
You might think about your credit score and housing needs when you’re looking to buy a place, but it also matters when renting. Larger property management companies routinely check credit scores and will often refuse those with lower credit scores for an apartment. You might have better luck with a private landlord if your score is less than optimal, but you'll see limited options with a low score.
Are you trying to start a business?
If you own a small business or are trying to get one off the ground, you might not think your personal credit score matters, but it does. You may find you're short of cash or want to expand and need a business credit card or line of credit to stay afloat or make your next big move. Without a decent credit score, your entrepreneurship aspirations could die on the vine.
What does poor credit cost you?
In addition to being turned down for opportunities, a middling credit score can saddle you with higher expenses every month. Credit scores drive some utility rates--most natural gas providers check your credit and offer rate plans based on your credit risk even though that seems unfair. The same goes for some satellite and cable television providers.
Your car insurance and homeowners or renters insurance rates are also set based on credit score even though safe driving and credit risk don’t seem to go hand in hand. Some car rental companies run credit checks before they will let you use one of their cars, particularly if you want to pay with a debit card. Plus, you’ll find yourself cut off from opportunities if you don’t have a credit card.
When you use a debit card, rather than credit, to book a rental car, they block off a large security deposit which effectively (although temporarily) drains your bank account. Often, purchases aren’t insured or covered with debit cards as they are with credit cards. The same goes for buying gas at the pump when the store blocks off a large chunk when you swipe at the pump.
Improve your credit score today
There are countless reasons that you want (and need) a solid credit score. There’s no upside to having a low score. You might have the attitude that your credit score is just a number or that you don’t want to be part of the "system." But if you want a cell phone, a place to live, car to drive, and a job, you’re part of the system that rewards good credit.
To find out more about ramping up your credit, check out Credit Score Keys today.