It seems that everywhere I look on the personal finance blogosphere there’s a post on improving your credit score. Without a good credit score, apparently you’re doomed to a life of despair and destitute, most of it spent under a bridge.
While I agree that having good credit should be a goal, obtaining the goal is so simple that the bottle of water on my desk can figure it out. Pay (at a minimum) the amount the creditor wants you to pay, do it on time and don’t max out your cards. It’s not nearly as hard as everyone makes it out to be. Just don’t be an idiot and you’ll do fine.
I haven’t checked my credit since the middle part of 2008 when I got a mortgage on my house. Using only one credit card, I managed to accumulate a FICO score of 802. Guess how much effort I put into it? If you guessed absolutely none, you’d be very warm.
How important is credit score really? Want to rent a house? There are plenty of landlords that don’t bother to check credit. Just avoid the big companies and find an owner who only has a property or two. There’s no shortage of those guys.
It’s the same thing with having a credit card. Sure, having one is nice, but is it really necessary? I know people who don’t even have a debit card or a bank account. All they do is pay cash for everything. You can exist without a credit card.
Yes, when it comes to mortgages, there is a magical score that qualifies a borrower to get a better rate. I’m willing to say that if you just keep your nose clean, pay your bills on time and use credit responsibly, you’ll end up in that camp without even trying.
The only argument that I’ve heard about checking your credit score often that makes even a little sense is watching for identity theft. I won’t try to discount the hardship someone goes through when someone uses their identity against them. It’s terrible and wouldn’t wish it upon anyone. Although it’s terrible, it’s akin to winning the crap lottery. It might happen, it just isn’t very likely.
I want you to have a good credit score. I just want you to know that if you’re responsible with money you’ll have nothing to worry about.