When you have good credit and seem trustworthy to financial institutions, it can pay off in perks.
Many creditors use the FICO or VantageScore scoring systems, which combine financial data collected from major credit bureaus Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to determine your score. Each system ranges from a low of 300 to a high, or "perfect," score of 850.
Once you achieve an exceptional score, "you can reap the benefits" of that success, according to financial website GOBankingRates. "You'll be eligible for some of the easiest loan approvals, most attractive interest rates and best credit cards available. "
Here are three basic ways take advantage of your good fortune.
When you have good credit, "it's time to negotiate with your creditors for better interest rates," says GOBankingRates. The typical credit card charges more than 16 percent, according to Bankrate.
High interest rates have led some people, like billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, to ditch plastic altogether: As Cuban puts it, "the money I save on interest by not having debt is better than any return I could possibly get by investing that money in the stock market."
Still, while cards can end up costing you a fortune if you aren't careful, they are more likely to offer better interest and annual percentage rates to customers who have paid their bills on time and used their credit responsibly.
If you have a car and you aren't satisfied with your current plan, now might be the time to shop around for a better deal on insurance.
"Car insurance companies generally check credit scores to assess the likelihood of claims," reports GOBankingRates. "Contact your current provider, and others, to see what kind of premium rate reductions you can get with your impressive score."
If you're in the market for a car and debating whether to buy or lease, automobile aficionado Jay Leno suggests you take the plunge and become an owner: "I always think it's better to buy a car," he tells CNBC. "Everyone seems to lease now. Everyone thinks you can write off this and write off that, and to a certain extent, you can. But at the end of the lease, you don't have anything."
Your "prime" or even "super prime" credit score could help you with the financing.
You may be able to ask for and get a better rate on a home loan when you have good credit. "The more your score has improved," GOBankingRates says, "the better rate offers you'll receive."
While it's up to the lender to determine the specific interest-rate parameters attached to a home loan, for example, the difference of a few points on your credit score could add up. That's why personal finance expert Suze Orman suggests you aim for a score of 740 or above in order to get the best deal before you buy.
Overall, the higher your credit score, the better financial deals you'll get, whether you're buying a home or a car, renting an apartment or just going about your everyday life. That said, you don't "have to have a perfect score to get the best credit terms," Bankrate notes.
And no matter your score now, keep taking care of it. Be sure to pay your bills in full and on time. That means credit card bills and others that impact credit, too, including student loans. Details about your payment history, including late or missed payments, can stay on your credit report for years.
Keep an eye on your score by checking it regularly. Most financial institutions allow you to keep tabs on your score for free. And if you don't yet have a credit history, check out these tips on how to get started.
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Video by Beatriz Bajeulos Castillo