When making a major purchase like a house or a car, it's general knowledge that your credit score figures prominently into getting a loan. However, when it comes to other investments related to home ownership, like a security system to protect your home and family, your credit score isn't quite so conspicuous a topic. In fact, when you contact home security companies like Frontpoint, LiveWatch, ADP, Protect America and Vivint to get a free quote, your credit rating probably won't come up in the initial discussions, unless you bring it up. Customer service reps will initially focus on the services you will need and the required equipment. Around the time you're looking to invest in an installment plan your credit score will come into play, because they'll have to see if you qualify.
Why They Care
A good credit score is important to a home security company because it gives the company solid evidence you can be relied upon to make payments on time. This is especially important for a home security company because, even if you are paying cash for setup, most of the costs for equipment and other expenses happen over time as part of the general contract. Only a fraction of the equipment and other expenses is included with upfront costs, which is a big reason most companies require a minimum contract period of 36 months. While you don't need perfect credit to invest in a home security system, a good credit score certainly helps. As with a home loan, if your credit is poor, you may not qualify, but you shouldn't let that prevent you from trying.
Power On Despite Credit Concerns
In tough economic times, credit scores for people in all factions of society can take a hit. Even if you have no credit or less-than-perfect credit, you can find home security options that work for you. The majority of home security companies have reasonable activation fees, commonly ranging from $100 to $300. Some companies offer DIY installation options, to defray upfront expenses, as well as free lease on equipment as long as you can keep up with the monthly fees. But be warned, low upfront costs can, and usually do, result in higher monthly fees.
Protect America is a good example of a company that makes home security more affordable for people by minimizing startup costs. Some companies require pretty hefty down payments and out-of-pocket expenses to set up a security system. Protect America, however, provides a variety of protective measures, with 15 security devices, while waiving the initial fees and offering an easy self-installation option. This does result in increased monthly payments and a minimum contract period of three years, but that is quite common.
If you have a credit score of 600 or better, you have a good chance of qualifying, but even if it's much lower than that, it doesn't hurt to try. Often home security companies do what is called a "soft inquiry" when doing a credit check. This means that they only check with one of the three credit bureaus and won't look into your credit history, current creditors or credit delinquencies. A soft inquiry won't impact your FICO as much as a full inquiry would, and your chances of being accepted increase.
If you have thought seriously about getting a home security system and are concerned about a low credit rating or don't have credit to speak of, you shouldn't let that prevent you from looking into it. Credit checks are important for home security companies because they need to know they can trust customers to make payments on time. But borderline credit scores are not always a deal breaker. If home security is a high priority for you, checking into various plans is a good idea, despite your credit rating.