What Else is a Respectable Credit Rating Good For?

Much has been said about maintaining a good credit history and high credit score.  But often overlooked is the fact that it can affect more than your ability to qualify for a mortgage or get the best interest rates on credit cards or auto loans.  Here are a few other things your credit score can influence depending on where you live:

  • Insurance rates: In many states insurance companies can access your credit history and use it to help set your insurance rates.  A history of paying your bills on time can save you money on premiums.
  • Getting a job: With written consent from you, in many states, a potential employer can pull your credit history and consider it in their hiring decision.  While you can refuse consent, this refusal may also affect the hiring decision.
  • Buying or leasing a phone: Since the latest phones can cost well over $1,000 your credit rating may come into play if you you’d like to stretch the purchase over time or, if you like to upgrade often, if you’d like to lease a phone versus purchasing.  Poor credit can force a larger security deposit or result in outright denial for your phone purchase.
  • Utilities: If you’re moving into a new place and opening new utilities accounts (gas, water, power) you may be required, as with the phone, to pay a security deposit in order to get the lights turned on.

Need to improve your credit rating?  Besides paying your bills on time, monitor your credit utilization rate – the balances of your credit cards divided by their credit limits.  The best credit utilization rates are below 10%.  Anything below 30% is considered good.

There is no exact timeline for how long it will take to raise your credit score as it depends on the reason it is low to begin with but there is no time like the present to get started!

By Carolyn Rice

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