by Stacy Francis, CFP®, CDFA
I spent the afternoon shopping with a friend, and received no less than six credit card offers from well-meaning sales reps. Back home, three more waited for me in my mailbox. Frankly, it is no wonder that a large number of Americans have so many credit cards, you could use them for a round of Texas Hold ‘em. The problem is, not only do these cards tempt you to overspend – every time you apply for a new card, your credit score goes down. This can affect your finances in many more ways than you would think. Below are just a few.
- The lower your credit score, the more expensive it is to finance anything – from your dream home to that sweet new car. When you have a low credit score, banks and similar institutions consider you a high-risk individual, so if you want a mortgage, be prepared to pay for it.
- A low credit score can make it expensive at best, impossible at worst, for you to get a loan, should disaster strike.
- Many landlords will only lease their apartments or houses to people in good to excellent credit standing.
- You may need to put down a deposit – lock your money up without earning any interest – even for things as ordinary as, say, cell phone service.
- Your credit score may cost you that job you want -- most notably any type of position where you work with money, be it in a bank or another type of financial institution.
I love discounts. Who doesn’t? But if you care about your financial future, it is better to shop on sale than to open three dozen store credit cards.