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credit & debt

Why Your Credit Score Matters

Not only does it affect your mortgage rate but also less-obvious areas.

I know that my credit score affects my mortgage rate. But do I need to worry about my score when I'm not about to buy a house?

You sure do. Your credit score, the numerical summary of how much you owe and how promptly you pay your bills, makes a big difference in your mortgage rate. But it also affects other less-obvious areas of your personal finances.

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A good score can save you thousands of dollars on your car loan and credit card interest payments. But a low score can make it tough to get a loan, buy a cell phone, rent an apartment or get a job. It may reduce the size of the mortgage you qualify for, or require that you make a bigger security deposit when you open an account with a phone service or electric utility. And it can make a surprisingly big difference in your auto insurance rate because insurers discovered that people with low credit scores are much more likely to have claims than those with high scores.

For more information on improving your credit score, see Demystifying Your Credit Score.

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