From buying a car, a house or applying for a student loan, no other thing bears greater influence than your credit score. This three-digit number can affect pretty much anything you do – or cannot. Despite this though, not a lot of people know why their credit score is important.
In simple terms, getting a person’s credit score determines the likelihood of one paying back the money he or she owes. This is done through several and careful calculations based on payment history, its time length, current debts, credit type mix and frequency of applications among others. You can get your credit score through one of three major credit bureaus – Equifax, TransUnion and Experian (formerly known as TRW)
Sometimes, you will hear FICO score instead. FICO stands for the Fair Isaacs Corporation which is the inventor of the software that calculates credit scores. Both terms mean the same thing. The score a person may get ranges between 350 and 850, extremely high and low risk respectively.
Another thing is that a scale of 0 to 9 may also be used to rate your personal credit. This scale also uses letters “I” to indicate installment credit and “R” for revolving credit.
The importance of knowing your credit score comes to light when you apply for financing. It does not matter whether it is for a mortgage, a phone hook-up or a credit card. Credit reporting allows banks to issue credit or debit cards, stores to accept checks and corporations to manage operations. This is why it is a major requirement when you want to borrow money.
More credit risk makes adding a risk premium to the amount borrowed a necessity. Having a poor credit score does not mean lenders will shoo you away. Instead, you are lent money at a higher rate than someone who has a better credit score. Of course this means higher monthly payments and interest rates as well.
With this in mind, you want to be aware of what your credit score is. You should know that there are some things you can do to unwittingly harm it. The truth is that even a small error in your report can bring some nasty surprises once you head on to the bank. Play it safe and find out your credit report to be sure. You will only thank yourself later.
As you can see, knowing your credit score is very important. It is a good indicator of your financial well-being. Knowing the things that can improve your score should always be in your best interest.