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A high credit score can be a financial goldmine for American consumers. Though credit score calculations may seem like an impenetrable algorithm, almost everyone knows the scale and is striving for that sweet, sweet 850 score on their report (or at least a covetable 740).
An excellent credit score can be invaluable in landing a mortgage, but there are more benefits to raising your score that you may not have considered.
Here are just a few of them.
1. Lower insurance rates
To insurance providers, a high credit score implies a sense of responsibility. With this in mind, insurers set rates for potential customers based on a number of factors that, in many states, includes a credit check.
Insurance companies use your credit score as an indicator of your probability to file a future claim, and a good score can indicate a lower claim probability.
If you’ve recently worked to increase your score or moved from a “good” score range to “very good” or “excellent,” take advantage of your hard work and shop around for better rates. Your current provider may be willing to negotiate rates, or you may find a better offer from a competitive insurance company.
2. Financial security for your family
One of the least glamorous (but most important) facets of a successful marriage is financial security, which includes good credit.
When newlyweds apply for a joint credit card or mortgage, scores can influence the outcome, and a good score will make each process smoother. Mortgage lenders look at the median scores of both parties and use the lower of the two to set terms. When applying for a joint credit card, on the other hand, one partner’s good credit score can help boost the other to score a great card with a sufficient credit limit.
Your prime credit score becomes part of a financial safety net not only for you but for your family as well.
There are pros and cons to joint accounts, but if both partners have good credit, the shared responsibility can make for a healthy sense of balance and allow them to start their lives together on the right footing.
3. Credit card rewards
Some of the most sought-after credit cards are also the ones that require the best credit scores for approval.
From 4 percent cash back on dining and entertainment with the Capital One Savor card to double travel miles for every dollar spent with the Venture card, the biggest perks are usually tied to creditworthiness.
Keeping an excellent credit score can help ensure you’re getting the rewards most relevant to your lifestyle and that will save you the most money.
4. Being approved for housing rental
Even the most successful apartment or rental house searches are stress-inducing, but a great credit score can help ease some of the pressure.
Because good credit can indicate a history of timely payments and accountability, landlords often conduct credit checks on rental applicants. A high score may just be enough to move you ahead of other potential residents in a competitive market.
While bad credit may not disqualify you from renting, good credit can make the process go that much more smoothly.
5. Job opportunities
While it won’t guarantee you the job, your credit score may put you ahead of other candidates, especially in certain government jobs or the financial sector.
Some states ban employers from checking candidate’s credit, but in others, it may be a factor in the hiring manager’s final decision. Similar to landlords and insurance providers, hiring managers look for a history of responsible decision-making in potential hires.
Paying your bills on time and preferably paying your credit card balances in full each month or keeping them below 30 percent of your credit limit will improve your credit score and can show employers that you’re reliable in your personal life, which, in turn, may translate to your professional pursuits.
6. Deals on wireless plans
Whether your service comes from Verizon, AT&T or T-Mobile, most carriers pull a credit report on potential contracted customers. In fact, T-Mobile recently reported that half of Americans don’t have sufficiently good credit to qualify for their best wireless plans.
Bad credit can limit your carrier options to pay-as-you-go plans or lock you into a contract you’re dissatisfied with, which can mean losing out on discounted devices and flexible upgrade plans like AT&T Next or Verizon Edge that those with good credit benefit from. Keeping your score high not only ensures you qualify for the best deals on your data plan but makes you are eligible to upgrade as soon as Apple or other companies release new models.
Temporary discount offers advertised by service providers are also usually contingent upon credit scores, so if you’ve raised your score throughout your contract period, now could be a good time to switch. Shop around with competitor carriers for the best rates and plans. With a higher credit score, you’re more likely to be able to take advantage of these deals and save money on your cellphone plan each month.
Credit scores often won’t make or break your ability to rent an apartment or get a great deal on a cellphone plan, but they are an indicator of your fiscal responsibility. Great credit doesn’t only pay off when you’re searching for mortgages or car loans. The perks of prioritizing practices like tracking your score and paying account balances in full each month can benefit you in ways you didn’t expect.