Yet, if you’re like many Americans, just knowing that you have a credit score may be just about all that you know. This is a bad situation, and you need to fix it, sooner than later.
“Why?” you ask. Well, your FICO score is, for better or worse, like your financial DNA. So, while you hopefully know that you have a credit score, you may not know just how important that score is to your life and livelihood. Unlike DNA, however, your score isn’t a number that just takes care of itself. No, you need to take care of it.
Here are just three reasons for making sure that you do.
Your credit score is somebody else’s business.
That’s right: big business. Your score is at the mercy of three privately owned mega corporations, whose business is rating you and your creditworthiness. In fact, it is these companies, or credit bureaus, that create your score in the first place. The “big three” of these national credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. This credit – or FICO – score that they assign you ranges anywhere from 300 on the low side to a perfect 850 on the high one.
Bad credit is expensive.
Your credit score can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in extra fees if it is less than excellent. You may have heard the saying, “Buy with cash, pay once; buy with credit, pay three times.” This refers to interest, or the cost of borrowing money. There are many other potential costs to bad credit, however. This can lead to hundreds and even thousands of dollars spent on higher premiums for your auto and home insurance.
Background checks aren’t all that potential employers pull.
Your credit score affects your ability to get a job. That’s right: your estimated ability to repay borrowed money (i.e., debt) also can be used to assess your fittingness for a specific kind of job. Although legislation has been introduced to limit the access of prospective employers to your credit score, these are just limitations, not universal exclusions.
Knowledge is power!
Hopefully, you’ve seen by now that your credit score is a big indicator of your financial health. Ignoring a low score won’t make it go away. However, proactively taking the proverbial credit bull by the horns and working at restoring or just raising your credit score is something that anyone can do. You just have to put your mind to it.