As a Recession Looms, Don’t Miss This (Often Overlooked) Money-Saver

Stacey Tisdale
June 7, 2022
5 mins

Chances are your wallet is feeling a little thinner lately. We’re in the midst of economic inflation – which means higher grocery bills, fuel costs, and prices across the board. 

One way the Federal Reserve combats inflation is by raising interest rates. Unfortunately, while increasing the cost of credit can help control runaway prices, it can also trigger an economic recession. 

Recessions are economic downturns marked by decreased consumer spending and rising unemployment rates. Nearly half of Wall Street professionals believe a recession is around the corner – and eight out of 10 small business owners agree.  

Should you be nervous about a possible recession?

Recessions are a normal part of the economic cycle, but they can still disrupt our lives. Rather than panic, you can get prepared with smart money moves like growing your emergency savings, paying down debt, or picking up a side-hustle to diversify your cash flow.

One powerful strategy, however, is often overlooked: improving your credit score. In an economic recession, good credit helps save you money and bolsters your financial resilience. 

Why does your credit score matter?

Lenders use your credit score to determine your “creditworthiness,” or how likely you are to pay your debts responsibly. The more positive your borrowing history, the higher your credit score – and the more likely a lender is to work with you. 

Credit scores generally range from 300-850. According to FICO®, the most popular credit scoring brand used by lenders and credit scoring development companies, credit scores rank from “excellent” to “poor” as follows:

A breakdown of credit score ranges and what they mean.

How can good credit help during a recession? 

Lenders are more selective about to whom they extend credit during times of economic downturn. Should you need a new loan or credit card throughout this recession – good credit helps increase your approval odds. Good credit can also help you lock in the lowest interest rates possible as the Fed raises rates across the board. 

Explore: Good credit can lessen the impact of inflation on your household budget

How does a higher score save you money?

Whether you’re opening a new credit card, taking out a mortgage, personal, or auto loan, or even applying for a private student loan – good credit helps you access lower interest rates. 

Variations in interest rates may seem negligible. But when we look at the numbers, it’s clear: good credit can save you serious cash during times of financial uncertainty.

Take credit card interest. The following chart shows how increasing your score by less than 100 points can save you more than $3,000 in interest over the course of repaying a moderate balance of $6,000.

Explore: 7 Consequences of Having a Low Credit Score

An example of the high costs of having poor credit

What are some ways to build credit quickly?

It’s possible to build credit quickly, even with a young or poor credit history. The following strategies are a great place to start:

  • Pay On Time: Repayment history has an outsized influence on your score, so do everything you can to pay on time each month (at least your minimum payment). 
  • Get Current: Lenders can’t report delinquent accounts until they’re 30+ days overdue, so get caught up on late bills. If they’ve already hit your credit report, get current anyway. Delinquencies hurt your score less the sooner you pay them, and carry less weight over time. 
  • Pay Down Debt: Carrying a high balance relative to your total credit limit indicates financial instability. Paying down your debt reduces your interest payments and gives your credit score a quick boost.  
  • Use Credit-Building Tools: If you have few lines of credit, use credit building tools to build credit without taking on new debt. Tools like Stellar. 

ExploreLearn how to build credit fast (even if you have none)

Can you build credit without a credit card?

You don’t need to open a new credit card to improve your credit. In fact, since it’s harder to access favorable payback terms with poor or non-existent credit – opening a credit card can be a risky credit-building move. Tools like StellarFi help you build credit with your existing expenses instead of taking on additional debt.

The bills you pay should pay you back

Good credit can help you ride out the looming recession without compromising your financial stability. StellarFi is on a mission to make the benefits of good credit available to everyone, regardless of their credit history. 

Getting started is simple. Just sign up, link your monthly bills – and blast off to better credit. 

The StellarFi blog is intended to serve as an informational resource. While StellarFi can help you build your credit, we do not provide financial, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult a trusted advisor for financial, legal, or accounting guidance as needed.

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On-time payment history can have a positive impact on your credit score. Nonpayment may negatively impact your credit score. StellarFinance, Inc. will report your on-time payments to Experian®, Equifax® and TransUnion®. Impact on your credit may vary, as credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus based on a number of factors including the financial decisions you make with other financial services organizations.