3 Ways Your Credit History Affects Your Life
Your credit score and history obviously affect your ability to qualify for a low-interest loan on a car or a house, but they also influence other aspects of life.
Your credit can affect everything from your insurance rates to your ability to rent a home, and even your chances of landing that dream job. Fortunately, it's easier than you might think to keep track of your credit score for free with any of the three official credit bureaus — Experian, Transunion, and Equifax.
But in case you're not sold, you should know exactly how your life can take a turn as your credit changes. The more you know, the more prepared you are to handle whatever your credit report throws at you.
Renting a Home
When you apply for an apartment or other rental property, the owner of that property will likely review your credit history. After all, landlords want to know if you can afford the rent and pay it on time. With a good credit report, this part of the renting process will be a breeze.
However, poor credit might mean you don't get the apartment. And even if the landlord approves you for the property, they could decide to charge you a larger security deposit, or require you to find someone with better credit to cosign your lease.
These little steps can make renting and moving far more stressful and uncertain than it needs to be. But if you keep track of your credit score and build it by making regular payments against any debt you might have, you can avoid the headache.
Landing a Job
Potential employers will also look at your credit to see how dependable you are. The logic goes that a person who keeps track of their finances is more likely to keep track of their responsibilities at work — and less likely to steal from the company out of desperation. That said, one of the most common credit report myths is that all employers will check credit for every candidate they hire.
A credit report is part of some background checks — especially for jobs involving finances or other company assets — but it isn't necessary for all new employees. Many employers will take your credit history with a grain of salt, especially if the job you applied for doesn't involve a lot of financial work. If you do have good credit, though, it might give you a leg up over other candidates, especially as you move up in your career and reach for that dream job.
Insurance companies look at a lot of different factors when calculating your premiums. In some states, providers might use a credit-based insurance score to build your policy rates. These scores are different from consumer credit scores, but the idea is the same, making these scores one of the ways your credit history affects your life.
For example your credit history — along with factors like your age, your driving history, the value of your car —can determine how much you pay for car insurance. Good credit, with a history of paying bills on time might lead to more affordable premiums, while poor credit can give you steeper prices, compounding any issues you already have with your finances.
Don't let your credit hold you back from some of life's essential tasks and milestones. By learning more about your credit, you can make good decisions that safeguard your finances and set you up for success in all areas of life.