While the Federal Reserve's plans for raising interest rates are still up in the air, it's time for consumers to get their financial house in order.
Any increase in the federal funds rate will have an impact on products as varied as mortgages and home equity lines of credit, car loans and credit card offers. Some could rise faster than others.
While there are some concrete steps you can take to position yourself (check out the video above for a few ideas), experts say one of the most important is to boost your credit score. Under the widely used FICO scoring model, that three-digit number can range from 300 to 850, with the higher score, the better. It's what lenders use as a measure of your creditworthiness to approve loans and set interest rates.
"Regardless of what the Fed does and what happens to rates in response to whatever the Fed does, the interest rate you're going to be paying is still largely based on the quality of your credit," said John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education for CreditSesame.com. While you can't stop the rate on your variable-rate credit card from rising with that rate hike—that's why it's called a variable rate—a better score could help you qualify for a card with a lower base rate or a longer-term zero percent introductory offer.