Your credit score is one of the most important numbers that can influence the financial success or failure of your life. This score, which comes as a result of your ability to make on-time payments on loans and credit cards, can have a disproportionate impact on your financial future. Here is a look at what items in your financial history it can affect, and why.
Your Ability to get Housing
For most people, their largest and most important expense is the mortgage they pay. However, it is important to note that you will not be able to get a mortgage if your credit score is too low, or if you have a history of missing payments or defaulting on loans. If this happens to you, you may be prohibited from owning a home, or at least from taking out a mortgage without having someone cosign the loan for you.
If this is the case, you may find yourself in a position where you need to rent, but this can also be a problem. Landlords can see your credit report and see if you have a history of not paying loans or evictions. If this is the case, you may not be able to get high-quality housing. Furthermore, your landlord may make you provide additional deposits in order to hedge against the possibility of you not making payments.
Your Interest Rates
Banks and financial institutions are all about reducing risk. They typically prefer loaning to customers who they believe will be able to pay their loans and will not be late on their repayments. That’s not to say that they won’t loan to you if you have a few dents in your credit score. However, in order to make the risk financially worth it to them, people with lower credit scores will pay higher interest rates. That’s right – if you have a low credit score, you’ll pay back more in interest rates.
Your Ability to Purchase a Car
A car, of course, is a major financial purchase, and one that usually involves some level of financing. However, just like a mortgage, if your credit score is bad, you may not be able to get a loan to get a car. This may force you to pay cash or get a car from a less reputable dealer. This will stop you from getting a vehicle of your choosing, and it may also stop you from being able to make a purchase from a high-quality buyer.
Your Ability to Get Any Number of Life Convivences
Your credit score isn’t just related to major purchases like a home or a car. It can also impact smaller ones. For example, a cell phone company may check your credit before deciding whether or not to give you a phone plan. If your credit rating is low enough, you may not get the plan, or they may make certain limitations on what types of plans are available to you. You may also have issues getting access to a check or savings account, because if you have a history of overdrawing a bank account or attempting to cash bad checks, a bank may be reluctant to extend their services to you.
Yes, you read that right. In some instances, you may not be able to get some types of jobs if you have a low enough credit report. Indeed, one survey found that, among employers who conduct background checks, 29% check an applicant’s credit history. This is typically limited to jobs in the security or financial sectors, but it does occur. In these instances, employers are checking to see if you are trustworthy and responsible with money. Any negative marks in these areas can absolutely hurt your ability to get a job.
The conclusion is obvious: Your credit score is more than just a random number. It is a statement on your overall credibility and one that will follow you for your entire life. As such, take credit payments seriously. Don’t overextend yourself financially, and make sure you manage your money well.