- Francesca Sacco
The Advantages of Keeping a High Credit Score
Financial experts all talk about the importance of building and maintaining good credit. But what exactly does this mean — and why should consumers care?
If you haven’t pulled a credit report or applied for credit recently, your credit score might not be at the top of your mind. But your credit score plays a crucial role in most major financial decisions you make, from buying a car and purchasing a home to managing debt and improving your financial stability over time.
A high credit score makes everything easier. Here’s a look at the benefits you can expect.
Higher Approval Odds When Applying for Credit
The biggest benefit is the most obvious: When you have great credit, it’s easier to get approved for more credit in the future. This goes for everything from credit cards to mortgages.
While that may seem counterintuitive to some consumers since people with high credit scores are less likely to have an urgent need for credit, it makes sense when you consider that lenders use credit scores to evaluate risk. When your credit score is high, your perceived risk as a borrower is lower, which will give you more options when seeking loans or other opportunities.
Lower Interest Rates on Credit Cards and Loans
Credit scores are factored in when determining the interest rate offered for most types of consumer loans. A higher credit score means you’re less of a risk to the lender, which can result in a lower interest rate and lower overall cost of financing.
If your credit score is too low, you may not qualify for credit, or you may only have credit options that feature exorbitant interest rates or excessive fees. The higher your credit score, the more affordable it is for you to take out credit.
Higher Credit Card Limits
As you maintain a high credit score and demonstrate prudent use of your credit cards, you may be eligible for limit increases. This offers two key benefits: First, it reduces the percentage of your total available credit that is being used at any time, which can keep your credit score high.
Second, a higher limit may also come in handy when financing major purchases and/or making ends meet in the face of a loss of income. Leaning on credit to cover expenses may not be ideal, but it’s much preferable to the alternative of finding yourself unable to pay your bills.
Improved Rental Application Approval Odds
Credit scores are a common piece of information used when evaluating rental applications. This benefit may apply to other situations as well. Insurance companies, for example, may use your credit score to raise or lower the cost of your premium based on your perceived risk level.
No Security Deposits for Your Utilities
If you have poor credit, utility companies may require a security deposit to open an account. With a strong credit score, you can avoid this extra hassle and keep more of your money in your bank account.
Increased Options for Managing and Paying Down Debt
Suppose you’ve racked up a little credit card debt — not a significant amount, but more than you can pay off in one or two months. Although this debt isn’t large enough to justify taking out a personal loan, the cost of interest paid while paying down this debt can still be significant, pushing consumers to seek out debt consolidation options.
One possible option is to open a new credit card that offers promotional APRs and/or fee-free balance transfers. These cards essentially function as a small personal loan to yourself, allowing you to move debt into a new revolving account where you won’t be charged interest for a fixed period of time.
If you have poor credit, your odds of approval for one of these cards may not be strong. But with a high credit score, you can likely lean on this option to minimize interest paid.
Resources From Your Local Credit Union
Whether you’re focused on maintaining a high credit score or building your credit score from the ground up, your local credit union can offer a number of financial products and educational resources to help you meet these financial goals. Ready to take advantage of these resources? Become a member by opening a checking account today.