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5 Things Good Credit Can Get You

Gerri Detweiler

Need a good reason to get serious about reviewing, maintaining or rebuilding your credit score? We can give you five of them. These are all important things a great credit score may get you:

1. Great Rates

You don't need someone to tell you that your credit score will be a key factor in determining the rates you pay for most loans. But you may not realize how significant the savings can be. A 1% difference on the rate on a $200,000 mortgage, for example — the difference between a loan at 3.4% versus one at 4.4% — adds up to about $43,000 over thirty years.

And using this lifetime cost of debt calculator, it turns out that the difference in interest costs over a typical person's lifetime is about $160,000, when comparing someone with excellent credit to someone with bad credit.

Whether you are shopping for a mortgage, auto loan or car loan, a high credit score can help you snag the lowest rate and save money in the long run. It can also often get you a discount on your auto and homeowner's insurance rates.

2. Your Dream Job

While an unblemished credit report may not land you your dream job — you'll still have to have the experience or qualifications the employer is looking for — it can help you avoid the dreaded rejection letter that can come if the employer reviews credit reports and finds problems on yours. While employers review credit reports, not credit scores, they are essentially looking at the same information a credit score takes into account, and most don't want to see a record containing problems such as collection accounts, late payments or other negative items, especially in the recent past. (You're entitled to free credit reports once a year from each of the major credit reporting agencies.)

3. Opportunity

That house down the street — a hidden gem — goes up for sale, and the price is right. Your aunt wonders if you'd like to buy her well-maintained, low-mileage car (at a fabulous price). The perfect location for your dream business is finally available for rent. Whatever the opportunity — business or personal — if you have a good credit score, it will be a lot faster and easier to get the financing you need to make it happen.

Sure, paying cash is great, but if you don't have it, it can be painful to lose out on a great deal on something you need. Most lenders use credit scores to make fast credit decisions as well as to price loans. If yours is strong, you'll pass that part of the application process with flying colors and hopefully be on your way to getting the loan you need to make that important purchase.

4. A Happier Union

Plenty of studies have found a link between money troubles and marital woes, and increasingly a good credit score is one of the factors some individuals consider when deciding whether to pursue a long-term commitment. For example, half of married adults say that credit scores were important to them when choosing a spouse, according to a 2014 survey from Experian Consumer Services. In addition, 73% of women and 60% of men reported that having a spouse who is open about personal finances and credit makes him/her more attractive. And Credit.com's Marriage, Divorce & Credit survey released in February found that among married respondents, 51% said their credit scores were similar to their spouse's, while only 23% of divorced respondents could make that same statement.

5. Peace of Mind

Worrying about your credit can be stressful. About one in five (19%) people haven't applied for credit because they were afraid of being turned down, according to the most recent Federal Reserve's Survey of Consumer Finances. And a recent study found a strong relationship between low credit scores and poor cardiovascular health. In the study of 1,000 New Zealanders, each 100-point credit score increase was associated with a "heart age" that was 13 months younger. Poor credit doesn't cause heart attacks or strokes, but the survey findings suggested that poor credit habits do appear to be associated with poor health habits.

For most of us, though, checking our credit scores can be a positive experience. In the 2014 Credit.com Credit Score Awareness Survey, 66% of those who saw their scores said that they were satisfied with them, and pride was the most common emotion they felt after seeing their score. In fact, more than half (58%) said their score was about what they expected it to be, and 25% said it was higher than they thought it would be.

If you haven't seen your credit scores recently, you can get a totally free credit score from Credit.com. If that number isn't quite where you want it to be, you'll also get an action plan for making it stronger. There are plenty of good reasons to do just that.

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