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Good Credit Score: Why does it matter?

If you’re striking out on your own for the first time or trying to recover from a bad financial spell, you should start with a good look at your credit report. Your credit rating can either be an imaginary financial halo deeming you a consummate consumer or it can be like a scarlet letter, branding you as a high-risk bet for creditors. To find out which one of these you are, keep reading.

Credit scores: Who needs them anyway?

Your credit score is more than just a number. It tells companies and financial institutions how much of a gamble they are taking by lending your money or credit. Because your credit score is a formula that includes factors such as how much debt you currently have, how well you have managed your debt obligations in the past, and what kinds of debt you have, every potential creditor from the phone company to the mortgage lending institution you’ll rely on to finance your home will base their decisions on your rating. Most of the things that you have or wish to have someday — a car, a home, and the financial opportunities you’ll need to enhance your quality of life — depend on those three digits.

The consequences of a bad credit score

You may think that a bad credit score will simply keep you from opening up that second credit card account, but in reality it can affect every area of your life. For example, when you go on a job interview, there’s a good chance that your potential employer will plan to run a credit check on you to determine how responsible you are. Add that to the long list of methods that employers use to weed out the thousands of applicants that they get for each job position.

You’ll also have to shell out more for necessities like insurance and rent. It is common knowledge that your credit score can affect your chances of buying the home that you really want someday, but it can also affect your chances of renting, as well. Many landlords deny leases to would-be tenants based on their low credit scores, and even if you do win that lease with a bad credit score, you’re likely to pay more of a security deposit. A low credit score can make changing addresses more financially draining in other ways, as well. For example, you may find yourself paying higher deposits for basic services like electricity and telephone service.

How to build or improve your credit score

The best way to build or improve your credit score is to pay all of your bills on time. This may seem like a simple enough task, but it is often the mishaps that we don’t plan for that keep us from doing so. To make sure that you can stay financially current, don’t wait until the due date to pay your bills, and remember to save for unexpected emergencies like home and car repairs so that you don’t sacrifice a monthly payment to cover it. You can also improve your credit score by practicing restraint. Don’t open too many lines of credit at once (or at all), and try to keep your debt load low. If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll make financial viability easier to attain.

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May 8, 2012 um 8:12 am
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