Monthly budgets help people make the most of their money. While a person’s income will affect how much they can spend on housing, food and clothing each month, another, more abstract factor can have a big impact on monthly budgets as well.
Nearly every adult has a credit score, which can fluctuate daily. Various factors, including a person’s age and track record in regard to paying bills, combine to produce a credit score. According to the credit reporting agency ExperianTM, credit scores range from 300 to 850, though most consumers’ scores fall somewhere between 600 and 750. The Fair Isaac Corporation create what’s known as a FICO® Score, which is used by many lenders to determine prospective borrowers’ credit worthiness. FICO® scores are often characterized using five terms:
• Very poor: Scores between 300 and 579
• Fair: Scores between 580 and 669
• Good: Scores between 670 and 739
• Very good: Scores between 740 and 799
• Exceptional: Score between 800 and 850
Some consumers may feel that these are just numbers on a page. But in certain instances, such as when consumers attempt to buy a home, a credit score can have a dramatic effect on a person’s monthly budget. When borrowing to buy a home, borrowers with desirable credit scores may be eligible for considerably lower interest rates than borrowers whose scores fall into the “Very poor” or “Fair” range. Over the length of a standard, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, a low interest rate can save borrowers tens of thousands of dollars in interest fees.
In addition to paying more in interest fees, ExperianTM notes that borrowers with subpar credit scores may have to do even more to earn the trust of lenders. Borrowers whose scores fall into the “Very poor” range may be required to pay a fee or make a deposit when opening a new credit account, and some might not be approved for credit at all. Borrowers whose scores fall into the “Fair” may be classified by lenders as subprime borrowers, making it hard for them to open new credit accounts or secure loans without a cosigner.
Consumers can benefit from knowing their credit scores and how to improve them. Taking measures to improve low or subpar credit scores can put more money in consumers’ pockets, both in the immediate and distant future.