Do you know your credit score? Nearly 30% of people in a recent MoneyTips survey admitted that they didn't know this important financial metric. In addition, more than half of the people surveyed earning less than $30,000 annually didn't know their score at all.
MoneyTips conducted an exclusive online survey in June of 410 people on the topic of credit. 71% of the respondents said that they knew their credit score, while 29% admitted that they didn't know. Less than 53% of adults under 30 said they knew their score, as compared to more than 75% of older adults. And 52.9% of those making $30,000 or less annually didn't know this key number.
"It's no surprise that the youngest demographic aren't completely on top of their credit scores," remarked National Financial Educators Founder and Chief Education Officer Adam Carroll. "Many recent college graduates are being granted forbearance and deferment on student loans, which creates a 'kick the can down the road' mentality on that obligation. The effect on their credit score, meanwhile, can impact what they pay for car loans, whether or not they get apartments, and sometimes if they get the desired job offer. It's a critical number to know at this (or any) stage of your life."
Those surveyed were asked the last time they checked their credit score, and more than 4 out of 10 (43.9%) said they had checked it within the last month. The complete results:
While 71% said they knew their credit score, less than 65% had even checked their score within the last 6 months! Since scores can change frequently, it's hard to imagine that all of those people who said they knew their scores truly did.
"You should check your credit report quite frequently, because it's a constantly changing thing," recommends Personal Finance Expert and Author Jordan Goodman. "You can't say, 'Oh I saw my score six months ago, so I am fine.'" You can check your credit score and read your credit report for free within minutes using Credit Manager by MoneyTips.
The only age group in which more than half checked their credit score within the last month was the oldest. 51.2% of the people 70+ were diligent about checking, compared to less than 40% of the 18-29 year-olds. While none of the seniors admitted never checking their credit score, a whopping 21.8% of the 18-29 group did.
"Taking care of that credit report and those credit scores are important throughout your life, because as you do business every day it can come into play," says Rod Griffin, Director of Public Education for Experian. "When a young person is 17 or 18 years old, they are about to go out on their own, it might be a good idea to help them begin to establish a credit history." Griffin continues: "Establishing it early will help ensure that ... they'll be able to get the apartment they need, they'll be able to buy that car to get to and from work, all of those things that a credit report will be helpful for."
When asked, "For those who don't check regularly, why not?" respondents were given the choices:
While more than half said that they did check scores regularly, 15.4% believed it wasn't important, 13.2% weren't sure how, and 11% believed it was too much of a hassle. An additional 8.3% believed that checking your credit score lowers it, which is not correct. More than 23% of adults under 30 weren't sure how to check their credit scores. Although a recent Experian survey revealed that women have better credit habits than men do, more than 16% of women weren't sure how to check their credit scores, as compared to less than 10% of men.
Concluded Adam Carroll, "With rampant credit card fraud schemes occurring today, the likelihood of something derogatory showing up on your credit report is significant. Even erroneous filings to your credit report can cause your score to plummet if left unchecked. Making sure your report is clean and clear from any errors could save you tens of thousands in the long run."