It has come to my attention that most of the interns hired by the bank have significant student loan debts and are struggling financially. These factors have resulted in low credit scores for most of you interns.
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I have further on discovered that most of you are unaware of the implications of low credit scores to your future employment opportunities with this bank.
I therefore wish to enlighten you on credit scores, their importance, and measures that you can take to raise your individual scores.
What are Credit Scores?
A credit score is a numeric number that represents your credit risk by summarizing your credit report and payment history. It is used by lenders to determine how likely you are to pay a loan when it is due.
Credit scores are determined by a mathematical formula that is used to forecast the probability that an individual will default on a loan or extension of credit.
If you have a lower score, then you have a higher probability of defaulting.
FICO scores are the gold standard when it comes to credit scores with 90% of the top banks in the US using these scores to determine the credit worthiness of an individual.
According to FICO, credit scores range from 300-850 with a high credit score being considered good while a lower one is bad.
Generally, credit scores that are below 600 are considered bad credit while 650 is an average credit. Good credits start at 700 with 850 being supreme and such ratings are of great importance.
Importance of Credit Scores
Influences your Employment Opportunities
Many employers consider credit scores during the recruitment process. While most potential employees do not know this, an employer can legally obtain your credit report and this will often be used to determine whether to employ you on a permanent basis or not.
Many employers see credit scores as a reflection of the individual’s personality. An individual who has poor scores is assumed to be a great risk since he is already unable to manage his credit.
Poor credit scores are also seen as indicators of poor job performance, irresponsibility, and questionable integrity.
Influences your Interest Rates
The credit score also determines the insurance rates one has to pay in many instances. For example, auto insurance and life insurance rates are set in part based on your credit standing and your credit score.
A person who has good credit will be offered a lower rate compared to one with poor credit who will be forced to pay higher premiums.
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Influences Borrowing Success Rates
A person’s credit score will also influence his ability to borrow money from financial institutes. Specifically, a good rating score will be helpful when a person is trying to get a loan.
Banks and other lenders are more willing to do business with people with high credit scores since such scores are an indication that they will recover at least the principal amount of their loan with little trouble.
How to Raise your Credit Scores
Obtain a credit score report
Getting a credit score with a report will be very helpful in raising your scores. As such, the first step to managing your credit rating is to get your FICO credit score. This will help you to know your credit standing and assist you take measures to improve it if it is poor.
If you do not know how to read these reports, you can contact me for further help. Learning how to interpret credit reports is an essential financial skill that you will use throughout your life.
Limit the number of credit cards you have
Credit cards present the illusion that a person has free money to use. This is not the case and credit cards should be viewed as borrowed funds that can be costly if one does not manage them properly.
Having a limited number of credit cards is therefore a good idea. Having two credit cards; one for regular purchases and one for emergencies, would be a good decision. You should then ensure that expenses remain within the card’s limits at all times.
If the limit is reached, avoid the temptation to apply for an additional card. Applying for multiple credit cards over a short period of time will also lower your credit score.
This is because lenders will perceive this as an attempt by the individual to spend more money than their current credit limits. Each new card will therefore have a negative impact on scores.
Make use of a Budget
Operating a monthly budget is a very important measure to help you control your credit debt. The budget will assist you to have a clear sense of exactly how much money you are earning and how much you are spending.
It will therefore help you manage your cash flow and achieve your financial goals including paying off student loans.
Pay your Bills on Time
Develop the habit of paying your bills on time every month. You should pay off the balance for every credit card you own promptly and make your monthly loans repayments on time as well.
This measure is of very great importance considering the fact that 30% of your credit score is based on timely payment of bills.
In addition to this, timeliness of bill payments will save you from the late fees and additional interest charges imposed on those who make their payments late.
Automate your finances
Many people forget to handle some of their bills on time since they have too many obligations and therefore overlook some. Having an automatic bank payment that credits the bills each month can be very useful.
You can also make use of programs that issue you with automatic reminders of bills that are due soon. Automation will ensure that your credit score is not reduced because of your own forgetfulness or disorganization.
Make use of a Financial Planner
While some people are capable of coming up with good financial management plans on their own, others are not. If you are overwhelmed by your financial obligations and unable to work out the best plan by yourself, you can make use of a financial planner.
This professional will assess your financial situation and help you to implement a spending plan that will result in financial health.
It is important to remember that once a low credit score has been established, increasing the score to a favorable level might take months or even years.
It would therefore be more prudent to avoid establishing a bad credit score at the earliest time possible.