This is the fifth blog post in our Financial Literacy Series, in which we discuss the relationship between your finances and your personal health and wellness—and aim to increase your financial literacy and understanding.
Just how influential is my poor credit score? How can poor credit affect my life, if at all?
A credit score is a three-digit number that allows lenders to determine a borrower’s potential risk for a particular loan or agreement. While the average Canadian credit score is 650—an average credit score on the sliding scale—20% of Canadians are below 600, which is either a poor, very poor, or terrible credit score.
Some factors that can affect your credit score are:
- Payment history: How often you pay your bills on time.
- Used credit versus available credit: The amount you owe on credit cards versus your maximum balance.
- Credit history: Your credit card statements and balances over a period of time.
- Diversity of credit: How many different types of credit you have (line of credit, credit cards, store credit cards, and so on).
- Bankruptcy: If you’ve ever filed for bankruptcy or faulted on loans.
- Inquiries into your credit score: Every time a lender inquires into your score, your score takes a small, temporary hit.
Who can access your credit score?
Your credit score cannot be publicly accessed, but any entity that has a genuine business need to obtain your score may have access. That could be:
- Financial institutions, banks, lenders, and creditors
- Insurance companies
- Potential and current landlords
- Utility companies
- Potential and current employers
How can poor credit affect your life?
Because financial institutions, creditors, lenders, employers, and landlords, for example, can access your credit, if you have poor credit, this could impact your future and chance to get jobs, loans, contracts, and so on.
How and where poor credit could affect your life:
- Loan approvals: If you’ve applied for a mortgage loan, student loan, line of credit, or business loan, and your credit score is poor, you may be outright denied or forced to pay a higher interest rate with a higher percent down.
- Insurance and interest rates: When it comes to loans and applying for things like insurance rates or utility fees, a poor credit score may mean that you have to pay more for deposits, fees, and overall insurance on your home, health, life, car, and so on.
- Employment, career, and partnership opportunities: Because potential employers, business partners, and investors could potentially have access to your poor credit score, it may affect their decision to hire or partner with you as you likely have a poor track record for paying loans, interest, and bills.
- Housing and rental approvals: Poor credit could affect your chance to enter into the housing market, for example, if your landlord denies you access to a rental opportunity or mortgage lenders deny your loan based on low credit.
Beyond poor credit affecting your chances of getting a loan or a lower interest rate with less money down, it can also affect your personal health and wellness. In a past blog post, we wrote about how avoiding credit (and bad credit) is costing you.
If poor credit is getting in the way of your financial dreams and future plans, it may be causing you unnecessary stress, anxiety, as well as many other negative health effects. It could also be hurting your relationships, your productivity, your career, and your focus or drive in life.
Don’t let poor credit affect your life any longer. Find out how Progressa can help you get back on a good financial track.