8 Surprising Reasons You Need a Good Credit Score, Check out # 8!
You probably know that a good credit score means a better mortgage loan rate, but there are other reasons to make sure you keep up your score too.
I am an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®), and I’d love to talk score improvement and home hunting strategies with you.
You know a strong credit score will help you get into your next home. To get specific, if you’re renting, landlords like to see a score of at least 650 before they start asking for extra deposits and guarantors. If you’re taking out a mortgage, a score that’s 760 or above is the magic number that will get you the best interest rate on a home loan.
But establishing and maintaining a good credit score isn’t just necessary for keeping a roof over your head. Here are eight other reasons you may need good credit, ranging from your career to your love life:
1. To lower your loan origination fee
You know that your credit score affects the rates you get on loans. But did you know that it also can affect the actual origination fee as well? The loan origination fee is the sum lenders charge you for pulling your credit, underwriting your loan, and various other tasks, explains Jacob Dayan, co-founder of Finance Pal, an accounting and tax service company.
He says having a better credit history can help lower this fee, as risky loans translate to higher lender fees.
2. To get your utilities hooked up
Utility bills are generally paid in arrears, which means you get your bill after you’ve used the service, explains Logan Allec, a Certified Public Accountant who runs the finance website Money Done Right.
So, in a sense, utility companies are making short-term loans to you and they want to make sure you are credit-worthy so that you’ll pay them back. If you don’t have a good credit score, utility companies may require you to put down a deposit before setting you up with water, gas, electricity, or internet, he explains.
The credit score you need to avoid deposits varies by municipality. For example, one municipality in North Carolina requires a 700 credit score to waive a $200 deposit.
3. To get car insurance
If you live in Hawaii, Massachusetts, or California, go ahead and skip this section as credit-based insurance scoring isn’t allowed in those states.
But, for all others, auto insurers use a specialized credit scoring system to determine your rates, and, according to Consumer Reports, they have no legal obligation to show you your scores. According to the brand’s 2015 analysis, single drivers with good scores paid $68 to $526 more per year than similar drivers with the best scores, depending on their home states. For example, for single drivers in Kansas, one moving violation would increase their premium by $122 per year, on average. But a score that was considered just good, not great, would tack on an extra $233 to the premium, even with perfect driving records. Poor credit scores could add an average of $1,301 to premiums.
Car insurance companies point to a 2003 study from The University of Texas that found those with lower credit scores had more car insurance losses and higher claims payouts. In order to know how much your credit score can affect your insurance rates, check out your state’s department of insurance.
4. You plan to turn your side hustle into a full-time job
Many people are surprised to learn they need good credit to start or grow their own business, says Priyanka Prakash, a credit expert with Fundera, a small business financial solutions marketplace.
“Especially when an entrepreneur is first starting out, lenders and investors don’t have any track record of the business to rely on,” Prakash says. “The only financial indicators of success that they have is the credit history of you, the owner.”
In order to qualify for business loans with the lowest interest rates, it’s best to have a credit score of at least 650, she says. Lower credit scores mean you might qualify for a smaller loan or have to opt for a more expensive online lender, according to Prakash.
5. To get a job
A good credit score and report can matter when you are in the running for a job, especially in professions in the banking and finance industry. You might be surprised that almost half of employers are conducting credit background checks on job candidates, according to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management. The report—which is from 2012, but is the most recent available—says the leading reasons for credit checks on job candidates is to decrease and prevent theft and embezzlement. The report doesn’t reveal the scores employers are looking for, but 80 percent of employers says they hired a candidate whose credit report contained negative information—so exceptions are being made.
Many states limit employer credit checks, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington, according to Demos, a public policy organization. Cities, including New York City and Chicago, have restricted credit checks as well.
6. To secure a government security clearance
Many government jobs require security clearances. In fact, four million Americans have some form of a security clearance, ranging from confidential to top secret. As part of the background investigation process for some of the higher level clearances, applicants fill out the SF86 form, which asks questions about any accounts in collections, charge-offs, foreclosures, and past due bills. The government doesn’t publicize what credit score they’re demanding of applicants, but financial considerations are the top reason clearance-seekers are denied.
The idea behind this? Living outside of your means could be seen as a risk for being blackmailed. Last year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced that the Department of Defense was continuously monitoring the financial status of service members with security clearances, meaning past-due bills or errors on credit reports could jeopardize clearances required for jobs.
7. To upgrade your phone
If you plan to finance a new device, expect a soft credit pull, says Nishank Khanna, chief marketing officer with Clarify Capital, which provides loans to small businesses. (A soft credit check means it will show up on your credit report, but it won’t affect your score—only hard inquiries affect your score). If your credit is poor, a co-signer might be required, Khanna says.
Many cell phone providers will also require a credit check if you’re opening up a new account. They’ll often ask for an extra down payment if you have poor credit. Sometimes this is a soft pull, others it’s hard pull, so if you’re worried about how it will affect your credit, ask what type of query it will be.
And no, cell phone providers don’t advertise the exact score they’re looking for, but if you think it’s a problem, there are also several companies that offer no-credit check, pre-paid plans.
8. To get a date
Last but not least, having a solid credit score might help you get into a committed relationship, says Ashley Dull, a credit strategist with CardRates, a credit card comparison site. A new study from Finder.com, a financial website, found three in four Americans consider too much credit card debt a romantic deal breaker. Other research by the Federal Reserve Board found that the higher your credit score is when you start a relationship, the less likely you are to break up after the first few years.
“When you marry someone, you’re marrying their finances, too, and the findings show the majority of people do not want responsibility for another’s debt,” Dull says.
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