Who is Checking Up on Your Credit Score?
How much do you know about your credit score? Most people think that a credit score is only needed for the important things in life, such as applying for a mortgage, personal loan or credit cards. You may not realise that a bad credit score can make it difficult for you to get insurance, a flat to rent or a mobile phone. It could even make it harder for you to get a job.
Why is your Credit Score So Important?It may not add up to much, but your credit score is an important little number. Your credit score is used to predict the mathematical possibility that you won't be able to pay your future bills.
From the age of 18 onwards your credit score plays a significant part in your financial life, but most young adults fail to appreciate its importance or the need to protect it. Most people also fail to realise the interested parties who gets to check up on your credit score. We list them here.
Lenders‘Never a borrower nor a lender be’ might be a well-worn phrase, but without financial institutions prepared to lend people money, the world would be a decidedly poorer place, and we would all have to get used to living within our means.
Having a good credit rating will help you to qualify for the lowest rates of interest on a mortgage, car loan or credit card and could even help you start up your own business.
Lenders therefore take credit scores extremely seriously as a demonstration of whether the person they look to lend to will repay the money with interest. In fact, not having a credit score can also make it difficult for people to qualify for a loan as they don’t have a credit ‘history’ with which to prove their worthiness.
Insurance CompaniesAlongside money-lenders, insurance companies are also keen to find out your credit score to determine your trustworthiness. Insurers use credit scoring to determine the rate of interest they will ask you to pay on a wide range of insurance policies, including your car insurance, home and contents and life insurance.
A recent consumer survey indicated that drivers with good credit scores were likely to pay almost a third less on their insurance premiums than drivers with average scores, while those with the worst credit scores were expected to pay more than 140 per cent more for the same policy.
LandlordsIt’s not just lending agreements and insurance policies that rely on credit scoring. Landlords have taken to using them too, as a useful indication of your previous renting history and whether you can be expected to pay your rent on time.
Many landlords who ask their tenants to submit to a credit reference check will expect any applicant who doesn’t meet the criteria to use a friend or relative to co-sign the lease, or pay a much larger security deposit.
EmployersIncreasingly, companies are putting their potential candidates through a credit check too. The reasons are simple, a bad credit score can demonstrate instability or irresponsibility, two character traits that most employers could well do without.
Some employers, for example within the financial sector or the police force, also claim that a poor credit history could make the potential employer a target for bribery or corruption.
Mobile Phone/Broadband/Utility ProvidersEven mobile phone companies now check their customers through credit scores. Most mobile phone or broadband contracts are subsidised, which means that your handset comes for free but you are expected to sign yourself into a monthly contract.
To make sure that you continue to keep within the terms and conditions of the contract, the providers will run a credit score and possibly offer you a more expensive tariff based on your results.
Kick-Start Your Credit ScoreEven if you don't plan on applying for a mortgage, loan or insurance policy in the near future, if you are over 18 it makes good sense to view your credit report from time to time to check it for any errors and to ensure that it is in healthy shape for whenever you need it.
Owning a single credit card, and paying off the full balance each month is the best way to make sure that you start to acquire your own credit history, and that it remains as clean as possible.
Keeping your credit score clean may not seem like much a priority when you are young, but over the course of your life it could end up saving you thousands of pounds. Failing to maintain a good score could end up costing you much more in terms of missed opportunities and quality of life.