If you plan to take out loans for school, buy a home, open a credit card – just about anything that requires borrowing money – having good credit is vital. A long, positive credit history makes you an attractive borrower and can open the doors to more financial opportunities in life. Read more to learn why you need credit in the first place.

4 Reasons to Care About Credit

Whether you’re new to the credit game and haven’t built a history yet, or have made a few mistakes in the past and need to improve your credit, here are four major reasons why you should get started today.

1. Paying for College

Perhaps you’re pursuing higher education right now. Maybe you have children you someday hope to send to college. Considering that the cost of college is rising faster than inflation, it’s unlikely you will be able to foot the entire bill.

In 2016, the average U.S. household carried $49,905 in student loan debt;1 having good credit will ensure you qualify for student loans with the lowest interest rates and favorable terms, making it much easier to pay them back on time.

2. Buying a Home

For many, home ownership is the cornerstone of the American Dream. Unfortunately, those without good credit won’t qualify to turn that dream into reality.

The best mortgage interest rates and most affordable loan terms are reserved for borrowers with excellent credit scores of 720 and up. Although some FHA mortgage programs approve borrowers with credit scores as low as 580, anything under 630 – which is considered “poor” credit – will make obtaining traditional home financing very difficult, if not impossible.2

Even if you have no plans to buy a house, though, credit is still essential for finding a place to live. Many landlords require good credit in order to rent, and utility companies will often charge a security deposit to open an account with poor credit.

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