A recent 2013 Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore Solutions survey of 1022 Americans uncovered that many adults don’t know much about their credit scores. The results revealed that between roughly one-quarter and two-fifths of the survey subjects were unable to correctly answer credit related questions ranging from who collects credit information to what affects credit scores.
So if this were a battle of the sexes, who scored better, men or women?
The survey results showed that women consistently answered more questions correctly than the men. Overall, according to the survey, women have a better understanding of what contributes to credit scores and the importance of checking them.
For starters, more women (74%) than men (68%) realized that credit bureaus are responsible for collecting consumers’ information for credit scores. And when it came to the factors that these credit bureaus use to determine credit scores, only 38% of women believed that age affected their scores, while 48% of men thought that age had some value. Similarly, just 34% women thought that marital status could contribute to one’s score compared to 46% of men who believed marriage played a role.
Just to get the facts straight, yes, credit bureaus report consumers’ information, but they do not use age or marital status to calculate the scores. Typically, the only way that a couple’s marriage will affect their individual credit scores is if they have joint accounts. Missed payments and current balances on a joint account will appear on both of their credit reports.
As for identifying a good credit score over a bad credit score, 36% of women were more in the know than just 29% of men who understood the differences. Generally credit scores range between 300 and 900, depending on the scoring system, but the higher the credit score, the better the score.
Although the women took the lead in correctly answering the majority of questions, the men did have better luck than women when questioned about credit repair companies. Only 32% men believed in the legitimacy of credit repair agencies compared to the 40% of women who saw these agencies as helpful. Men, more than women, understood that consumers need to remain skeptical of the services that credit reporting agencies offer.
Regardless of whether the women outdid the men or not, these statistics are rather alarming considering how much consumers’ credit scores can affect their financial lives. The results of this survey reveal that both men and women need to brush up on their credit scores and realize the importance of maintaining good credit scores.
[Editor’s Note: I have to stand up for my fellow men here who thought that age had some value in a credit score. Credit scores take into account the age of credit accounts. This means that younger people are at an inherit disadvantage and that disadvantage is reflected in a lower credit score on average.
Also it’s interesting that when the men perform better, it’s attributed to “luck.” Grrrr…]