7 Ways Good Credit Can Make Life Easier — and Save You Money

Good credit can help you borrow money more cheaply, qualify for credit cards, have lower insurance costs and more.
Written by NerdWallet
Profile photo of Kathy Hinson
Edited by Kathy Hinson
Lead Assigning Editor
Fact Checked

Many, or all, of the products featured on this page are from our advertising partners who compensate us when you take certain actions on our website or click to take an action on their website. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

There’s no way around it: Good credit is important.

A good credit history shows potential lenders that you have a track record of repaying borrowed money as agreed. That can reassure them that you're likely to do so in the future and are a desirable customer. A solid credit history can also be important to potential landlords, employers and, in many states, insurers. Here's a look at how good credit can benefit you.

1. Borrow money at a better interest rate

Scores above 740 typically qualify for the lowest mortgage rates available. Higher credit scores also can get lower interest rates on car loans. Lenders also consider things like your debt-to-income ratio, but in general, a good score and adequate disposable income position you well.

You can shoot for the highest credit score if you'd like, but it's unlikely to get you better terms than any other score in the excellent range.

2. Qualify for the best credit card deals

A strong credit history can help you qualify for the best credit cards, which include low interest rates, rewards and cash back. As well as helping you save money, these perks will encourage you to keep using your credit card — which can help your credit if you continue to pay on time and keep balances low compared to your credit limits.

A low- or no-interest credit card can also serve as a temporary emergency fund if the need arises, or it can allow you to take advantage of a business opportunity.

Earn up to $350 in rewards each year
With a Nerdwallet+ membership, it's easy to rack up rewards for the smart financial decisions you're already making.

3. Get favorable terms on a new cell phone

Smartphones or cell phone upgrades can be expensive. But a good credit score may allow you to finance a phone at 0% interest. For example, Apple offers new phone financing through its own credit card or a loan from Citizens One Bank. The card and the loan both require a credit check for approval.

4. Improve your chances of renting a home

Much like a potential lender, a landlord may want to check your credit. How you've handled credit and payments overall gives insight into how likely you are to pay your rent on time every month. If your record has too many negative marks, getting that dream apartment may be difficult. Even if you’re able to rent with bad credit, your landlord may charge a higher security deposit or request a co-signer on the lease.

5. Receive better car and home insurance rates

In order to predict potential losses on customers, some car insurance companies factor in credit-based scores when determining monthly premiums in states that allow this practice. You can't be turned down altogether on the basis of credit, but you're likely to pay higher premiums if your credit score is too low.

In most states, blemished credit can also make homeowners insurance and renters insurance more expensive.

6. Skip utility deposits

Before taking you on as a customer, a utility company might look at your credit report to get a sense of your payment history. If your credit history isn’t up to snuff, the utility company may require a deposit or ask for a letter of guarantee, in which a friend or family member agrees to pay your bill if you don't.

Get more financial clarity with NerdWallet
Monitor your credit, track your spending and see all of your finances together in a single place.

7. Get a job

In some states, employers can request your credit report as part of your job application. You will know if they do; your consent is required.

Because the effects of good credit can be felt in so many parts of your life, it’s important to do what you can to help your credit. Paying your bills on time is a big part of the recipe, as is keeping credit card balances to less than 30% of your credit limits, and lower is better.

Video preview image