You've been diligent about paying the your bills on time, took steps to clean up your credit report of errors, and have even paid down your credit card balances. Having a high credit score and good credit history can set you up for many perks and low-interest loans and offers in the near future. While you can still survive with poor or less-than-stellar credit, those extra points will end up saving you money in interest charges over time and can also give you some more negotiating power.
Whether you're moving to a new city, are ready to get your first mortgage, or just want to avoid some of the inconveniences of setting up a new account with a security deposit, having awesome credit will help you in more ways than one.
Here are just six benefits and rewards of having great credit:
1. Increased credit card limits. Your borrowing capacity can increase significantly when you prove to creditors that you're a responsible credit card holder and can handle more credit. You can request a credit limit increase or the credit card company will just increase your limit automatically and let you know that you've earned this perk. Remember that the ratio of your available credit to used credit also plays a role when calculating your credit score; raising the limit could add a few more points to your already-high credit score.
2. Attractive mortgage and refinancing rates. Lenders are more likely to extend an attractive rate for your home loan when you have a high credit score and clean credit history. You are their ideal customer when it comes to getting a mortgage or refinancing your home; your high credit score wins you points with the underwriting department and tells the bank that you are a responsible borrower. You might also have more negotiating power when it comes to closing costs and other fees. Since banks are competing for your business, it's in their best interest to offer you the best possible deal in town.
3. Lower financing rates on a car lease. If you're in the market for a new car and are thinking of leasing instead of buying, you might have some bargaining power when you flaunt your high credit score. Some dealers will be happy to offer you lower-than-average financing rates because they know that you will be paying back that loan on time. A clean credit history tells the dealer that you're a responsible borrower. If you can't negotiate a better rate, the dealer might be able to lower the price of your car instead. And don't forget about your insurance company; when they run the car's VIN through the system and review your insurance package, you may be able to get a better rate because of stellar credit.
4. Easy vacation home rental reservations. Planning an extended stay vacation and looking for a rental home? Talk to the rental agency about waiving fees or negotiate lower rates based on your credit history. Most rental agencies will run a credit check before extending a rate. You could end up saving a good amount of money on the rental property with strong credit.
5. Excellent credit card deals. Credit-savvy consumers know that it pays to use reward credit cards as long as they pay off the balance each month. The best rewards cards for people with excellent credit often provide the most attractive rewards points, free gifts, cash-back deals, and low introductory rates. While earning these bonuses is nice, make sure you don't overspend or carry a balance on these credit cards. Don't forget to stick to the smart spending habits that got you the great credit score in the first place.
6. More negotiating power. If you're applying for a personal loan from a corporate bank or a private loan from a privately held financial institution, having a high credit score could give you more negotiating power. You may be able to get a higher credit line, lower interest rates, or work out an attractive repayment plan just because you have such a solid credit history. Don't be afraid to use your credit score as leverage when negotiating a deal; the lender will consider your ability to pay back that loan on time when qualifying you for a certain amount.
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