Men were more likely than women to incorrectly indicate that age, marital status and ethnicity are credit score factors
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Women understand credit scores better than men, despite men’s beliefs to the contrary, according to a new survey by the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore.
In a national telephone survey of 1,000 U.S. adults, 61 percent of men said they consider their credit score knowledge to be good or excellent. Only 54 percent of women said the same. But a higher percentage of men incorrectly said that a person’s age (47 to 41 percent), marital status (48 to 38 percent) and ethnic origin (17 to 13 percent) are credit scoring factors.
Additionally, a higher percentage of women (66 percent) than men (59 percent) correctly identified three actions a consumer can take to raise a low credit score or maintain a high one. Women (67 percent) were also more likely than men (63 percent) to have obtained a free credit report in the past year. Plus, more women (72 percent) than men (64 percent) understand the importance of checking their credit reports for accuracy.
Lack of knowledge grows
“I wish the results were more positive,” Barrett Burns, CEO of VantageScore, said at a June 26 news conference. “Credit scores and credit reports are almost ubiquitous in today’s credit-driven economy.”
Credit scores can be also used by other noncredit entities, including insurance companies, employers and landlords.
Consumers’ understanding of scores is lacking in other areas as well. Since the last survey was done in 2016, fewer consumers are aware that a low credit score can increase auto loan charges by more than $5,000, and that credit scores represent the risk of not repaying a loan. A smaller percentage of consumers know that individuals have more than one credit score and that it’s important to check your credit reports at all three credit bureaus for accuracy.
The survey was conducted by landline and cellphone by ORC International and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.