As we Millennials take over the workforce and continue to strive forward into adulthood, many indicators mark our evolution into certified ‘grownups.’
No, it is not being able to drink wine, watching Friends on Netflix, and eating ice cream for dinner whenever you want.
It is something far more alluring and glamorous. On top of many other additional responsibilities that come with age, perhaps one of the most important for future planning is understanding just what the hell a credit score is.
So no one told you life was gonna be this way! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
According to new data released by The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and Equifax, many residents in Victoria and Vancouver have figured it out and realized the value of having good credit.
It Pays to have Good Credit
Even though Canadians are in massive debt, it is clear that they are still paying their bills on time. “Victoria residents have the highest scores on average at 780, followed closely by Vancouverites at 776.” According to Eric Bond of the CMHC, the economy in BC has remained stable over the last few years. Perhaps, one of the primary reasons that residents feel the need to have stronger credit scores is because you need to have solid credit to buy in British Columbia.
Speaking as a Vancouverite myself, the price of housing is one of the most significant issues facing the city with competition between tenants at an all-time high. Any action one can take to put themselves at an advantage is made without hesitation. “The best way to improve your credit score is to make your payments on time each and every month…If you’re using your credit up to you maximums that does actually lower your credit scores.” says The Credit Counselling Society’s Greg Norris.
What is a Credit Score?
Credit scores assist lenders in determining who is more likely and able to pay back loans, as well as who may be more of a risk.
Lower scores may result in a borrower requiring a co-signer as well as having to pay higher interest rates. According to TransUnion, “650 is the magic middle number – a score above 650 will likely qualify you for a standard loan while a score under 650 will likely bring difficulty in receiving new credit.”
What Determines a Credit Score?
There are many factors considered in a credit score. Some factors include:
It is absolutely essential to pay your bills on time. Late payments or having your account sent to a collection agency reflects negatively and can have a fatalistic impact on your credit score.
Avoid maxing out your credit. If you do not require additional credit, you are more likely to get it. Contrastingly, if you do need more credit, then you are more at risk.
To quote a Canadian icon, “isn’t it ironic?”“Balances above 50 percent of your credit limits will harm your credit. Aim for balances under 30 percent,” advises TransUnion.
Too Many Accounts
Possessing an abundance of credit accounts, especially if a majority of them carry balances, is a red flag for financial distress. If a credit bureau believes that you have too many accounts, they will subtract points off your score.
Why is a Good Credit Score Important?
There is a multitude of reasons why one would wish to possess a solid credit score. Some include:
Applying for a Loan
Credit scores are a significant factor considered in determining whether or not someone’s application for more credit is accepted or rejected.
Looking for a New Job
A prospective employer may request permission to perform a credit check. Depending on what is discovered, they may err on the side of caution and choose not to pursue your application because of bad credit history.
Renting an Apartment, House, or Vehicle
Upon signing an application for a vehicle or housing, the landlord or rental company has the right to review your credit history. They do this to determine the level of risk that they may be taking on when loaning out their property.
Even though you are not applying for credit, per se, when you sign the documents, you are providing written consent to investigate your credit background.
Here are the credit scores for major cities across Canada:
- Victoria 780
- Vancouver 776
- Calgary 765
- Edmonton 760
- Regina 759
- Winnipeg 765
- Toronto 774
- Montreal 769
- St John’s 761