Why Your Credit Score Is Important

person's credit report displaying 540 credit score


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Your credit score and underlying history are some of the most vital parts of your financial life. Your credit score follows you forever and it will play a huge role in many major financial situations throughout your life. Many people think that a credit score only really matters when it comes to being approved for a loan or credit card, but it goes far beyond that.

Credit Report vs. Credit Score

Occasionally you will hear each of these phrases used interchangeably, but it is important to understand the difference between the two. Your credit report is actually a detailed history of your credit information. It will contain current credit information, balances, delinquent payments, bankruptcies, personal identifying information, and inquiries.

Your credit score is a three-digit number that is based on the information in your credit report. After taking into account all aspects of your report a mathematical formula is used to determine what your score should be, the higher the better. The leading credit score in the industry is FICO and ranges from 300 to 850.

Beyond Loans

We all know that if you have a low credit score that it will be more difficult to find a bank or credit card company to lend you money, but it goes beyond that. Not only does your score affect whether or not you can borrow money and at an attractive rate, but it can affect everything from insurance rates to employment opportunities.

Insurance Rates

Whether you are insuring your vehicle to purchasing homeowners insurance, your credit score will likely play a role in determining your premium. Insurers typically create what is called an “insurance score” that is largely based on your credit score, but with a few different factors. A poor credit score can cost you hundreds of dollars in additional premiums each year while a good credit score can actually qualify you for a discount.

Employers Can Check Your Credit

An increasingly common and somewhat controversial practice is taking place as employers check the credit of prospective new employees. The argument for doing this is that employers believe they can use credit history to determine responsibility. Clearly, there are situations where a bad credit history may be due to something completely out of an individual’s control, but this is still something to keep in mind.

Credit Score Resources

You may have to pay to get your credit score and/or complete credit history, but it will be worth it and could be the difference of you getting that loan or mortgage you are hoping to get. The below are a few places you can check out to get your personal credit information:

Have you recently checked your credit score? It is suggested that you do this annually, so if you are behind, be sure to check it out today. 

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Fair Isaac Corporation. "What Is a FICO Score?"

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