GET A GOOD MORTGAGE
Subprime mortgages were the foundation of the last housing crisis, and they haven't gone away. According to LendingTree, if you have bad credit (between 620 and 639) and take out a 30-year mortgage with the average purchase loan amount of $236,697, you'll end up paying $15,000 more than someone with excellent credit. While borrowers with the best credit could get an average interest rate of 4.89 percent, that jumped to 5.6 percent for those with the worst credit scores. A subprime mortgage requires a heftier down payment and lots more interest than a standard loan, which makes it perhaps the biggest downside of bad credit.
REFINANCE YOUR HOME
Drivers with poor credit can pay double or even triple the auto insurance premium of a driver with good credit, according to a study by InsuranceQuotes.com. Poor credit scores can also more than double homeowner and renter insurance premiums; even a fair credit score will cost 36 percent more for home insurance than excellent credit. "Many consumers are unaware that their credit history is being used to not only determine whether they will be approved for a new credit card or mortgage, but also to decide how much they pay for insurance," says Nick DiUlio, an analyst at insuranceQuotes.com.
FIND A CHEAP APARTMENT
You can get an apartment with bad credit, but you may have to increase your deposit, get a cosigner, and do a lot more paperwork than someone with better credit. A NerdWallet survey discovered that 23 percent of Americans had no idea that credit could affect their ability to get an apartment.
FINANCE A CAR
Bad credit? No credit? No problem ... for an auto dealership that's more than happy to take a larger down payment and a high interest rate. Banks and credit unions will likely give someone with bad credit a better deal, but that borrower may need to consider a shorter loan period or a cosigner. "If you have terrible credit (lower than 580), you might be looking at interest rates as high as 20 percent or even close to 30 percent," says Kate Williams at Consumer Affairs. "That can add up to paying thousands of dollars extra for an automobile with bad credit versus good credit."
Nearly half the singles in a NerdWallet survey (48 percent) said they flat out wouldn't date someone with bad credit, with that percentage jumping to 61 percent among those making $100,000 a year or more, and 63 percent among college graduates. A full 44 percent of women say a partner's finances are more important to them than their looks.
HAVE A HAPPY MARRIAGE
SIGN A CELLPHONE CONTRACT
GET A PROFESSIONAL LICENSE
GET A JOB
In 39 states and the District of Columbia, you can be denied a job because of bad credit, according to WalletHub. Roughly 47 percent of employers check some job applicants' credit, though 80 percent say they have hired despite a warning sign or two, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. While credit isn't a big factor in the job hunt, it is a factor employers might consider along with everything else you present.
Pay nothing for the first 12 months, you say? In many cases, that leads to deferred interest, which can be a steep average of 24 percent — and retroactive — once an interest-free period ends, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau notes. That cost consumers $2 billion in 2016, up 10 percent from a year earlier. Your other options, considering credit cards present a similar credit issue, are to either pay for jewelry purchase upfront or look for a cheaper or antique option.
GET A CREDIT CARD
GET LOW CREDIT CARD INTEREST RATES
The national average for a credit card's annual percentage rate is 17.55 percent. The difference can mean 15.18 percent APR on a low-interest card and 24.89 percent APR on "bad credit" cards. "Subprime credit cards are the fake metal jewelry of the credit card world: They might look like the real thing, but in the end, they can end up hurting you," says Kimberly Palmer, NerdWallet's credit card expert.
FINANCE PLASTIC SURGERY
SECURE A STUDENT LOAN
START A BUSINESS
TAKE OUT A PERSONAL LOAN
A personal loan from a bank or credit union can help you consolidate other debts and pay them off, but they also come with interest and lender fees that need to be paid. If your credit score is low and your debt-to-income ratio abysmal, you may be stuck with a high interest rate or refused a loan altogether. The latter may be preferable — the average interest rate for credit scores starting in the 600s range between 17.8 and 32 percent.
SECURE A LINE OF CREDIT
Looking for a home equity line of credit, a personal line of credit, or even a business loan? It helps to have a credit score over 700 and a good history of repaying your debts. A line of credit isn't a loan: It's a reserve that's there for you to tap into for specific needs. A lender wants to know that you won't just raid it when the mood strikes or clean it out with no intention of repaying.