Do men in the South have lower scores than women in Wisconsin?
By Jodi Helmer | Published: June 19, 2012
You know how important good credit is, so you watch your credit-related activity closely. You limit credit inquiries, maintain a respectable debt-to-income ratio and -- of course -- pay the bills on time.
But know this: The credit industry is watching right back. If you've checked your credit report, you can see it tracks your individual behavior, but did you know it tracks how we behave in groups? In search of ways to identify the most creditworthy customers, the industry and academics have studied where we live, who we are, how we behave -- and how these traits relate to credit scores.
So, the studies say, a pack-a-day smoker from Harlingen, Texas, is likely to have a worse credit score than a very patient woman from Wausau, Wis.
Hold the e-mails, though -- these unexpected traits that go along with lower credit scores are just correlations, not causations. It's not cause and effect. "None of these things are factored into your score, but have been studied alongside credit scores," explains Michele Raneri, vice president of analytics for Experian.
Keep reading to learn about five things that tend to go along with a lower credit score.
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