FICO scores are used to gage the risk to potential creditors when lending money. A high score is better than a low one meaning that you pay your debts and obligations on time or early and you don't carry more debt than you should. Insurance companies use it as a way to gage the risk of insuring someone with the idea that if you have a high FICO score you are responsible and less likely to act in a way that would require insurance pay outs. Many employers will use it as part of the assessment in determining whether or not to hire certain applicants.
Working in the accounting field I know credit scores were checked when hiring staff for the simple reason that if you didn't manage your money well or had declared bankruptcy you probably shouldn't be helping clients manage theirs. Salespeople need to have a high score so their employers know they aren't risking their business or its assets, especially if that person carries inventory or company property.
When renting an apartment landlords check credit scores to determine if potential tenants are likely to pay their rent. They can also check to see if they have had any claims or lawsuits settled against them for nonpayment of rents or any property damages. Once again someone with a high FICO score demonstrates responsibility.
Mostly FICO scores are used for borrowing money and if you have a high score you are more likely to get the loan you have applied for, but also a lot of lenders will offer better interest rates. This is especially true in the case of mortgages, automobile loans and credit cards. Short term loans that offer no interest for certain time periods are becoming more prevalent as well.
My FICO score is quite high and as a result I am able to use lender monies quite often with no interest as is the case with my recent car purchase. My money stays in my savings account while I use Nissan's for free. I've similarly done this multiple times with short term 0% interest financing with Home Depot for appliances and building supplies for our home, PayPal for furniture and supplies for our home and credit card offers to help eliminate debt or finance larger purchases.
Most importantly my FICO score tells me how well I am doing managing my credit. I watch it regularly to make sure it remains high. I love that with that high score I'm in a really good bargaining position to negotiate fees and interest rates and even prices. I love that I feel confident I can walk into any financial situation from really strong position. And I never have to worry about the embarrassment or distress from being told no. I never like to be told no, no matter what the situation. But especially when it comes to money and my goals.
Do you know what your FICO score is? How do you view your credit health?