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How a Credit Score Downgrade Impacts Your Life

How a Credit Score Downgrade Impacts Your Life

By Marco Carbajo, Guest Blogger
Published: December 27, 2011 Updated: May 30, 2012

Why do credit ratings play such an essential role in our everyday lives?

Credit ratings are essential because they indicate how likely an individual, a business, a city, a county, a state, or even a country is able to repay a debt. Each one of these entities has a credit rating and depending on positive or negative factors, a rating can be upgraded or downgraded.

For example, the U.S. had always maintained a top tier AAA credit rating. But recently, one of the major credit-rating agencies, Standard & Poor, downgraded our country’s credit rating for the first time.

As a result, America’s cost of borrowing increased by billions of dollars per year, which inevitably impacts consumers through higher interest rates and borrowing costs.

It’s no secret that failing to address our long-term debt triggered America’s downgrade, according to S&P. While our country still has a very strong AA+ credit rating, this historic move has impacted our country significantly. 

As consumers, we have our own personal credit ratings to be concerned about. A downgrade of our personal credit scores can impact our lives tremendously.

In particular, FICO® scores are the most widely used credit ratings in the world. It is recognized as the standard measure of consumer credit risk among lenders and creditors. The FICO® score is a three digit number that ranges from 300-850. A score of 725+ considered the starting point for excellent credit risks.

A score is calculated each time it is requested by you or a lender. And each time it is calculated, it incorporates the information that is on your credit report at that time. So, any negative changes to your reports can trigger a downgrade.

How much your score changes depends by a variety of factors such as missing a payment, incurring excessive debts, filing for bankruptcy, excessive inquiries, etc.

Here are some examples of how a credit rating downgrade can impact your life:

  1. Expect to pay 20-30% more in premiums for car insurance.
  2. Interest rates for personal loans can be between 17-26%.
  3. Over 70% of major companies will check your credit rating as part of employment screening. A downgrade can impact your chances of obtaining a job.
  4. It can prevent you from obtaining housing since many rental property owners check credit ratings during the tenant screening process.
  5. You may be required to pay a deposit when opening an account for utility services.
  6. It can prevent you from getting a student loan.
  7. With a credit rating downgrade, you may be denied for a regular cell phone contract and be required to use a pay-as-you-go agreement.

As you can see, downgraded credit scores affect you in more ways than one. However, there are steps you can take to recover and improve your scores.

First, get a copy of your free annual credit reports from each of the major consumer credit agencies. Secondly, review your reports and initiate a dispute if you uncover any inaccuracies.

Finally, begin rebuilding your credit reports and review the booklet “Understanding Your FICO® score” to get a better knowledge of the credit scoring process.

Don’t get discouraged. You can reclaim your solid credit ratings as long as you take the necessary steps and put the time and energy required to make it happen.

Marco Carbajo is CEO of the Business Credit Insiders Circle (http://www.businesscreditblogger.com), a step-by-step business credit building system providing credit recovery, lines of credit, business credit cards, trade credit, and funding sources.

About the Author:

Marco Carbajo
Marco Carbajo

Guest Blogger

Marco Carbajo is a business credit expert, author, speaker, and founder of the Business Credit Insiders Circle. He is a business credit blogger for Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp, the SBA.gov Community, About.com and All Business.com. His articles and blog; Business Credit Blogger.com, have been featured in 'Fox Small Business','American Express Small Business', 'Business Week', 'The Washington Post', 'The New York Times', 'The San Francisco Tribune',‘Alltop’, and ‘Entrepreneur Connect’.