Credit Score 2016 Survey: How We Really Feel by John S Kiernan – WalletHub

The free-credit-score website WalletHub today released its 2016 Credit Score Sentiment Survey, which revealed that 34% of consumers think their credit scores and reports are public information! We clearly need all the help we can get financially, which brings us to today’s other big news: the launch of the WalletHub app for iPhone. We’re hopeful that WalletHub’s award-winning services can provide consumers with peace of mind and savings wherever they go.

After all, anyone can find value in the first and only app to offer free credit scores and full credit reports that are updated on a daily basis, not to mention customized credit-improvement tips, personalized savings alerts and 24/7 credit monitoring.

You can find more juicy takeaways from our survey, followed by additional info about the app, below.

  • 34% of people wouldn’t date someone with bad credit, while 49% wouldn’t marry someone with such a rating.
  • 32% of people would get a tattoo that reads “I Love Credit Scores” in return for excellent credit for life, while 11% would clean Chipotle’s toilets for 3 years and nearly 2% would even join ISIS for 3 months.
  • 71% of people would take bad credit over bad sex.
  • People would rather go bald, be overweight or prefer to have bad eyesight than have bad credit.

Credit Score 2016 Survey: How We Really Feel

Everyone knows that credit scores are important…to a point. Some of us value these three-digit representations of financial responsibility far more than others, due in large part to the combination of our varying financial literacy levels and inconsistent monetary pressures.

But to what extent do our knowledge of and opinions about credit vary, and along what demographical lines do they do so?

In the hope of answering those question and thus learning more about the relationship between consumers and credit scores, WalletHub conducted a nationally representative survey of 1,000 individuals, asking questions such as what organizations have the right to check an individual’s credit score, how much people would pay for an excellent score and even whether folks would date and marry someone with bad credit. You can find the results displayed in the infographic below, followed by a panel discussion about the findings with leading credit experts.

Credit Score 2016 Survey: How We Really Feel - WalletHub

Ask the Experts: Dissecting The Survey Results

To gain an even deeper understanding of the broader implications of our survey results, we asked a panel of leading credit-industry and consumer-studies experts to weigh in. You can find the experts’ bios and responses to the following questions below:

  1. What is your reaction to one-third of survey respondents believing that anyone can access their credit score/report, as if it is public information?
  2. Why do you think 49% of people would not marry someone with bad credit?
  3. Why is money our leading societal stressor?
  4. Why do you think people would prefer to be overweight, to have bad eyesight and to be going bald than to have bad credit?

David A. Friedman

Associate Professor of Law at Willamette University, College of Law

What is your reaction to one-third of survey respondents believing that anyone can access their credit score/report, as if it is public information?

Many people lack an understanding about consumer credit and the role of credit agencies. It wouldn’t have shocked me if that number was higher. People might know how quickly bad credit can affect them, so they might assume that it’s freely accessible by powerful third parties, like banks and insurers. There’s also a lot of publicity about individuals being able to access their credit scores and reports for free (once per year). Knowledge of this right is a good thing, but I wonder if people conflate that right with the notion that access to your report is open to all.

Why do you think 49% of people would not marry someone with bad credit?

We all know people should marry for love, but fundamentally, some people with good credit don’t want to share the burden of other people’s bad credit. More important, if you find out late in the game that your partner manages credit poorly, it may reveal unknown underlying traits about behavior, or secret-keeping. Before getting married, people should be open about their history, whether about bad marriages or bad credit. Of course, half the population, according to this survey, remain romantics — or have credit problems themselves.

Why is money our leading societal stressor?

Money is security and freedom. Foremost, it secures us food, shelter, and transportation — and keeps our families safe. Money enables us to retire. If you worry about money, you are stressed out about the fundamental things in life. Often, stress about money emanates from insecurity at work, so there’s a stress spillover.

Why do you think people would prefer to be overweight, to have bad eyesight and to be going bald than to have bad credit?

It’s not easy, but losing weight is a transparent process in your control. Eat less, exercise more — it’s up to you, most of the time, unless there are other medical issues. Likewise, bad eyesight can be mitigated and controlled and is not mysterious. Credit scores are the product of mysterious formulas and seem more out of our control than the former two problems, so there’s a great need to demystify creditworthiness.

Santhi Hejeebu

Associate Professor of Economics and Business at Cornell College

What is your reaction to one-third of survey respondents believing that anyone can access their credit score/report, as if it is public information?

I’m pleased that two-thirds of respondents still have enough information literacy to know what’s protected and what’s not. Yet when consumers hear the never-ending news about data breaches and identity theft, they feel vulnerable. The survey results reflect their perception that information is not secure.

Why do you think 49% of people would not marry someone with bad credit?

Couples are slower to marry than ever before and they know that financial problems are a key driver of divorce. Why marry a person when long-term, live-in relationships are socially acceptable and free of the negative spillover from one partner’s bad credit?

Why is money our leading societal stressor?

Money is a social stressor because for the vast majority of households, future income streams seem unlikely to grow. On the consumption side, major expenditures – car, college, home, and retirement – truly seem to be beyond reach. This reflects the typical consumer’s lived experience of money and, very sadly, his main source of financial knowledge.

Why do you think people would prefer to be overweight, to have bad eyesight and to be going bald than to have bad credit?

Excess weight and hair loss won’t stop you from fishing or joining a bridge club. You can still enjoy time and companionship with your friends. Bad credit increases the pressure to devote more of your limited time into income-generating activities. That’s painful.

David Reiss

Professor of Law and Research Director of the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship at Brooklyn Law School

What is your reaction to one-third of survey respondents believing that anyone can access their credit score/report, as if it is public information?

Given the complexity of the consumer finance industry, it is not surprising that many consumers

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