I feel like I’ve spent the better half of this past year car shopping and I’m honestly worn out. I mean, I was totally enthusiastic and excited at first because of course the thought of a new car is thrilling. But then I got into the whole process—you know, that grueling task of searching online, trekking through dealerships, being hounded by salespeople, eventually not answering unknown numbers because you know its Antonio from some car mart calling about that one car you really didn’t like—and in the end, it’s exhausting.
But even once you’ve find a car and get approved for a loan, your credit score is not done being put through the wringer. It seems to be standard procedure these days to check credit scores when quoting insurance rates. I was surprised too. I guess it made sense when they asked me, but it was never something I thought about.
Right before I turned 18, my father sat me down and told me it was time to start thinking about applying for a credit card. He gave me the whole spiel on finding one with low interest and paying it off monthly so I could build good credit. His reasoning? So I could one day qualify for loans to buy a car and a house. But what he didn’t tell me was that credit was important for other reasons aside from loans. In fact, credit is important for reasons ranging from qualifying for a job, to renting property and even getting cable TV.
How can your credit make you unqualified for a job, lease or services like cable TV or even a gym membership? Many businesses operate on the belief that a higher credit score—indicating you are able to obtain credit and pay it off faithfully—means you are a more reliable, accountable person; and what business wants to hire some one they think may be irresponsible?
Landlords also use this idea as a general judgment because the property they rent to you is similar to a loan. Rather than money, they are loaning you a building to live in and they expect you to pay it back. Not to mention statistically, people with higher credit scores are safer drivers, more careful homeowners, and tend to live longer, making a good credit score important for lower insurance rates as well.
Your credit score also affects if and how you obtain services and utilities like cable, electricity, water and even cell phone contracts and gym memberships. While they may not deny you out right like a landlord or employer might, your eligibility may require a deposit that will certainly be much higher.
The reason you need good credit is because it acts as an indication of how you will handle future responsibilities. Even if you aren’t applying for loans or purchasing a cell phone plan, it is important to maintain good credit and know how it affects your every day life.