If you’ve managed to eliminate debt for your life, good for you! But before you cut up ALL your credit cards, we have something you may need to think about.
Leaving without credit can actually have a negative impact on your credit score. If you don’t have any debt, your credit will simply disappear.
Why is that a bad thing? Without a credit score, you may wind up pay higher rates for things like auto and home insurance. You may have trouble leasing a car or singing up for cable, internet or cell phone service. And you’ll have real trouble should you ever need something like a car loan.
Experts recommend that you keep at least one card and use it regularly for smaller purchases, such as gas or groceries. If you pay off the card promptly, you won’t amass any debt, plus you’ll keep your credit score high.
Interest rates can work for us (when we’re saving or investing) or against us (when we’re buying cars or using our credit cards).
Here are some quick tips to make sure you getting the best rates in either case.
Car Loans: The rate you pay when you pay things like a new car depends on your credit score. If your score is above 740, you should be able to qualify for the lowest rates. Check your score (many credit card companies now furnish your score every month along with their invoice).
If you want to improve your score, visit MyFICO.com for helpful suggestions.
Mortgages: If it’s been a while since you last checked, find out what rate you’re currently paying. If you’re paying 1% or more over the rates banks are currently offering, it may be time to get with your bank or other lender and see if refinancing might lower your rate.
Credit Cards: If you’re a disciplined shopper, it can pay to take advantage of those 0% interest offers on balance transfers that credit card companies frequently offer. Just be aware that the transfer typically involves an up front interst charge, usually 2-3% of the balance being transferred. But if you can pay it off in the time allotted in the offer, you’ll still save far more interest.
Also it pays to shop around when getting credit cards as they can charge asignificantly different rates. To research rates and what card(s) might be best for you, visit credit.com or cardratings.com.