Good credit is good for you.Unlike countries where most of the citizens need cash to buy things such as cars and household furnishings, good credit is very important if you live in countries where goods and services can be acquired on credit. It means you can borrow, enjoy now and pay later. In Canada and the United States of America having good credit is like having another wallet that you can access whether or not you have the cash to buy goods or services. Just like governments or companies endeavour to maintain good credit, individuals can benefit greatly from having good credit. This article will briefly cover the importance of good credit to you as an individual.
- ACQUIRE ASSETS: With good credit you can qualify for a mortgage worth hundreds and thousands of dollars or even millions. You can also buy expensive vehicles and furnish your house as you wish. All this can be done when lenders check your credit report and like it. What will follow based on their faith in your credit report is simply for you to sign several papers and the assets become yours. If your credit checks out as excellent, you will likely borrow the money at a very low interest rate. Just like that, you now have the things you could have worked many years to acquire, had you needed to pay in cash.
- LOW BORROWING RATES: With good credit, you will be able to borrow at low interest rates. This means that you are using other people’s money and not paying too much in interest for it. High interest rates can eat away at the money you should be keeping in your pocket. Some people borrow to invest. This gives them the potential to make more money using borrowed money. If all goes well with the investment, they repay the lender the principal loan plus interest ands keep the profits from the investment. Therefore it is very important to ensure that you minimize the amount of interest you pay back (cost of borrowing).
- EMPLOYMENT: Whether you are looking for work or not, it is important to be aware of your credit score. Many employers check your credit before hiring you. Needless to say, if you have bad credit, you reduce your chances of being hired over someone who has the same qualifications, depending on the type of job.
- CREDIT CARDS: Many North American’s shop with credit cards. Credit card companies always approve and issue cards at different interest rates. The better your credit, the lower your interest rate and hence the more money you keep in your pocket.
- CREDIT CARD LIMITS: A credit limit is how much a lender is willing to allow you to spend on a credit card. Usually, the newer your credit record, the lower the credit limit. For example if you are a student with a small or no source of income, lenders may be willing to risk a credit limit of say $1,000. If you continue to use your credit card and make payments on time, the lender can approve a higher limit, therefore giving you the ability to spend more.
In Canada, the two consumer credit reporting agencies are Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. Once a year, you can get a free credit report sent to you by mail from either of these companies. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada(FCAC) protects and provides financial information to consumers. This is a good place to find plenty of information about consumer credit in Canada.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CREDIT:
- Pay your bills on time – Paying late, missing payments or letting some accounts get to a collection agency can hurt your credit. Therefore it is important that you keep proper records of what credit you have and when the different payments are due.
- Use it if you have it– Getting a credit card and fearing to use it often will hurt your credit. You are better off making sure you pay off in full whatever you charge on the credit card as soon as possible preferably within whatever grave period is allowed.
- Keep credit for a while – This allows lenders to look at your record over time. If they don’t have a long history to look at you come out as new and high risk.
- Don’t frequently apply for credit– The more inquiries you have on your report the lower your score will be.
- Mix it up – Don’t just get store credit cards or one type of credit product. Your ability to properly manage different types credit will improve your credit report.
In conclusion, you need to be aware of the health of your credit report and if it is not good, work on improving it. Some companies and governments have become wealthy by wisely managing and using large amounts of credit. The opposite is true of others that have failed to meet their debt obligations and gone bankrupt. There is alway the risk of poor management and coming accross conditions beyond ones control.
In my opinion, you should assess your needs, get some credit and manage it wisely. Depending on how well you do this and if no major unforeseeable circumstances drop in, you can become wealthy.