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3 Biggest Downsides of Bad Credit

March 14th, 2022

Ideally, all of the decisions we make in life involve consideration of both the pros and the cons of the possible outcomes. For example, the decision to eat a piece of chicken past its expiration date should be based not just on the potential for a tasty dinner, but also the potential for a less-than-pleasant gastro-intestinal reaction.

In other words, most things in life have both upsides and downsides, and our actions should be – though aren’t always – predicated on whether the upsides outweigh the downsides. While many bad decisions can occur as a result of a failure to consider the downsides, just as many poor choices are the result of the failure to understand the downsides, rather than not considering them at all.

Most people know that irresponsible financial behaviors can give you a bad credit score, for instance, but many folks tend to underestimate the many downsides of having bad credit. To help put things in perspective for your next financial decision, here are three of the biggest downsides to having bad credit.

1. You Have a High Chance of Being Rejected for New Credit
At its heart, having bad credit is basically like walking around wearing a sign that says, “I can’t handle debt.” At least, that’s how most creditors are going to interpret your poor credit history and low credit score when you come asking for a line of credit.

That’s because lenders use your credit reports and scores as a means of determining your credit risk, or how likely you are to repay what you borrow. So, if you have a history of missing payments or defaulting on debt, lenders aren’t going to want to give you more money, and they will reject your application for new credit.

Think of it this way: If you loan your neighbor your lawnmower in June but they never return it, how likely are you to lend them your snowblower in December?

Since most major banks have a fairly low risk tolerance, bad-credit consumers are left with limited options for finding a credit card or loan. Namely, you’ll be looking at lists of subprime lenders who specialize in bad-credit, high-risk applicants – lenders who aren’t exactly known for their affordability or top-tier rewards. Which leads us to the next big downside to bad credit: the expense.

2. Creditors, Landlords, and Utility Companies Will Charge You More
It took a few tries, but you finally found a subprime lender that will work with you. Great, hard part over, right? Wrong. Lest you think that qualifying for new credit is the only big downside to having bad credit, just take a look at how much that credit is going to cost you.

As we mentioned, your credit score is what lenders use to determine your credit risk. High-risk applicants are the most likely to default on their debt (not pay it), so lenders willing to work with bad-credit consumers have to find some way to balance the risk. They do this by jacking up interest rates and adding on extra fees.