Lenders view credit scores as an indicator as to how worthy of credit a specific individual is. High credit scores mean the person holding it has had few issues with previous loans or lines of credit. On the other hand, low credit scores are often caused by a lack of credit history or an inability to pay back lenders on time and in full.
However, credit scores are increasingly used in areas outside of loan approvals. This makes maintaining a good score or rebuilding a low one, more essential than ever. Whether you realize it or not, your credit score will impact your livelihood, even if you’re not requesting a loan.
Leasing an apartment can be a competitive practice. Not only do you have to spot the ideal apartment for your needs, but you also need to view it, apply for it, and receive approval for it before anyone else. Otherwise, you’ll need to find a different place to leave that may not offer the benefits of your ideal pad.
Property managers and landlords often use credit scores as a gauge as to how responsible their potential tenant is. A low credit score may make it more difficult to be approved for an apartment. If you are approved with a less-than-stellar score, you may find yourself needing to pay a larger upfront deposit.
Insurance companies, like lenders, judge their jobs based on risk. Lenders can reduce their risk on someone with a lacking credit score by charging higher interest rates, requiring a down payment, or asking the person requesting the loan to find a cosigner to share responsibility for paying it back. Each of these methods increases the odds of the lender receiving their money back.
Insurers do the same thing. While they don’t use your credit score to assess risk, they do use a credit-based, insurance-specific score that takes into account your credit history. If you have a documented reputation of paying back bills late or not at all, it can make it difficult to attain insurance at a reasonable premium.
Those with higher credit scores tend to receive reduced interest rates and more favorable loan terms. The lower interest rates can apply to auto loans, credit cards, lines of credit, personal loans, and mortgages. As a high credit score is built upon on-time payments and low debt, lenders feel more comfortable offering better terms to those with an established history of good credit.
Of course, the reverse is true. Those with low credit scores can still be approved for loans. However, their interest rates will be comparatively high. This can make it difficult to pay back the loan, which can cause further harm to your score.
Many professional roles require responsible behavior, especially when it comes to finances. So, it shouldn’t come as a shock that some employers use credit reports or scores as part of the application process. For jobs that require a security clearance, the HR department may scrutinize your debt to ensure you’re not vulnerable to blackmail.
Even if your job doesn’t require access to government or corporate secrets, your credit history can provide your potential place of employment with signs as to your behavior. You’ll always need to give permission for them to pull your report, though, so you shouldn’t be surprised if a question about bankruptcy or delinquency comes up during your interview.
It used to be that cell phone companies offered free phones to entice you to sign up for their plan. Today, though, the price of cell phones easily breaches the four-figure barrier. To purchase one, you may need financing from the phone company itself. As part of the process, you should expect them to pull your credit score and history.
If you have poor credit, they may deny the purchase of the phone or require a security deposit. It should be noted that a low score won’t prevent you from purchasing a more affordable phone without financing.
When you set up an account with your local utility companies, such as your electricity, gas, and water providers, they’ll probably check your credit score. They want to make sure that you’ll be able to pay your utility bill each month, even if there’s an expected price or usage surge.
Those with bad credit will likely have to pay a security deposit to set-up their account and get their utilities turned on. However, those with average or good credit probably won’t face this issue.
Also, check out our blog. We offer a variety of articles that provide insights on what goes into your credit score, how to improve it, and the importance of managing debt.