Your credit is one of the most important aspects of your finances. Your credit situation can mean savings — or costs. In fact, poor credit can cost you significantly. And the costs aren’t always in terms of money. While the most obvious costs of poor credit are financial, you also have to watch out for some of the other costs of bad credit.
Here are 5 ways that poor credit can cost you, financially and in other ways:
1. Pay More In Interest
Anytime you borrow money, you are required to pay interest. When someone lends you money, the goal is to earn, and that means that they charge you an interest rate. However, the interest you are charged is usually based on your credit rating.
Poor credit means that you present a bigger risk of not repaying the loan. The lender could lose some of the money it has put up. In order to mitigate some of that risk, you are charged a higher interest rate if you have poor credit. On a short-term loan of two or three years, the extra you pay might amount to a few hundred dollars. For long-term loans, though, like home loans, you could pay tens of thousands of dollars extra because of your poor credit.
2. Higher Insurance Premiums
In some cases, you might pay higher insurance premiums because of your low credit. Some studies link poor credit to other risky behaviors, such as car accidents. Your low credit could, in some instances, result in a higher insurance premium. This means that you could very well pay an extra $20 to $75 each month because of your poor credit. Over time, that can add up to quite a lot.
3. Inability to Access Some Products and Services
Your poor credit might actually cost you in terms of opportunities to get products and services. If your credit is poor enough, you might not qualify for a cell phone service. You might want a specific credit card to help you get back on track or ease your cash flow, but you might not qualify because of your poor credit.
In some cases, a bank will check your credit before allowing you to open an account. If you have poor credit, you might be denied a checking account or a savings account. You might have to use costlier services, such as check-cashing services, or prepaid debit cards. These can lead to fees that can cost you more than $100 a year. Over time, that adds up and your poor credit can mean that you are stuck in a financial services rut that is hard to get out of.
4. You Might Not Get Certain Jobs
Your credit history might be used as part of a background check for certain jobs. If you are applying for a job that involves access to sensitive information, or requires financial knowledge, your bad credit can be a hindrance. An employer might worry that you can be bribed to share sensitive information or participate in corporate sabotage. In some cases, there might be a concern about embezzlement. In any case, your financial situation could raise red flags with some employers and cost you a higher-paying job or a promotion.
While employers aren’t supposed to check your credit score, the story that your report tells might be enough to cost you a good job. This can be frustrating, especially if you are otherwise qualified.
5. Your Relationships Can Suffer
More on Bad Credit
In many cases, the things that come with poor credit — or that cause poor credit — add stress to your life. When you have a lot of debt and poor credit, and when you are worried about your financial situation and all the extra costs you are paying, it’s hard to maintain healthy relationships. Your stress and anxiety can make you irritable, and you might be reluctant to share the full extent of the situation with a significant other.
In these cases, relationships suffer. Whether you yell at your kids more, or keep secrets from your spouse, it’s not healthy for your relationship. Your mental and emotional health can also deteriorate as a result of the stress related to poor credit. If you aren’t careful, you could end up with costs that are even greater than the financial.
Miranda is freelance journalist. She specializes in topics related to money, especially personal finance, small business, and investing. You can read more of my writing at Planting Money Seeds.