Over the Past Four Years, an Increasing Number of Consumers Have Obtained Their Credit Scores and Know Much More about Credit Scores Than Others Do

The eighth annual credit score survey, released today by the Consumer
Federation of America (CFA) and VantageScore
Solutions, LLC, clearly shows that those recently obtaining their
credit scores know much more about scoring than do those who have not
obtained their scores.

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The survey also reveals that, over the past four years, the percentage
of consumers who have recently obtained at least one credit score has
risen significantly. The proportion who said they “obtained or received
any credit scores” in the past year, has risen – from 49 percent in 2014
to 57 percent in 2018.

According to the survey, potential borrowers are more likely to have
obtained their score than non-borrowers. Seventy percent of those who
intend to purchase a consumer or mortgage loan in the next year,
compared to 57 percent who were not planning to borrow, said that they
had obtained a credit score in the past year. And not surprisingly,
these potential borrowers know somewhat more about credit scores than
non-borrowers, with scores on individual questions that are typically
5-10 percentage points higher.

“The rising percentage of consumers who have obtained their credit
scores is encouraging because those who have accessed their scores know
much more than those who have not,” noted Steve Brobeck, executive
director, CFA. “It is also encouraging that those who plan to borrow are
more likely to have obtained their credit scores and know more about
scores than non-borrowers,” he added.

To improve their credit knowledge, nearly 200,000 individuals have taken
an online credit score quiz (www.CreditScoreQuiz.org)
developed and maintained by CFA and VantageScore.

“CreditScoreQuiz.org is one of the only resources that is free from
commercial conflicts and created with both industry and advocacy input,”
said Barrett Burns, president & CEO, VantageScore Solutions. “Whether
you are an educator or a consumer, it’s a terrific resource that can
enable financial empowerment.”

Other key survey findings include:

The survey was commissioned by CFA and VantageScore and undertaken by
ORC International, which from May 31 to June 3, 2018, interviewed 1005
representative Americans by cell phone and landline. The survey’s margin
of error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Those Recently Obtaining Their Credit Score Know Much More About
Scores Than Do Those Who Have Not

Those who say they have obtained at least one credit score in the past
year are much more likely to say that their knowledge of scores is good
or excellent than those who have not (68% vs. 45%).

In fact, those obtaining their scores recently do know more, as the
table below reveals:





Consumer Understanding of Factors Used to Calculate Credit Scores and
How They Can Raise a Lower Score Is Incomplete

Large majorities correctly identify three key factors used to calculate
credit scores – missed payments (86%), high credit card balances (81%),
and personal bankruptcy (79%).

But significant minorities also incorrectly think that age (41%) and
marital status (38%) are used in this calculation. And majorities
incorrectly believe that tax liens (64%), medical collection accounts
less than six months old (62%), and civil judgments (63%) are used in
the computation of credit scores.

Similarly, majorities correctly identified individual actions that help
raise a low credit score or maintain a high one – make all loan payments
on time (89%), keep credit cards balances under 25 percent of the credit
limit (72%), and do not open several credit card accounts at the same
time (66%). Yet, little more than half of respondents (56%) correctly
identified all three factors.

And, only 21 percent know that on a $20,000, 60-month auto loan,
borrowers with a low score would typically pay more than $5,000 in
interest charges than would a borrower with a high score.

How Consumers Can Raise Their Credit Scores

In brief, consumers can raise their credit scores or maintain high
scores by:

Consumer Federation of America is an association of more than
250 non-profit consumer groups that, since 1968, has sought to advance
the consumer interest through research, education, and advocacy.

Solutions, initially developed by America’s three national
credit reporting companies (CRCs) – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion –
is the independently managed company behind the VantageScore scoring

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