Survey Shows An Increasing Number of Consumers Have Obtained Their Credit Scores and Know Much More About Credit Scores · Consumer Federation of America

Other key survey findings include:

  • A large majority correctly identify key factors used to calculate credit scores but have an incomplete understanding of all the factors.
  • Similarly, a large majority correctly indicate some, but not all of the ways to raise credit scores.
  • Over the past four years, even though the percentage recently obtaining their credit reports (versus their credit scores) in the past year has increased (from 29 percent in 2014 to 36 percent in 2018), the percentage who say it is important to check these reports has declined (from 72 percent in 2014 to 67 percent in 2018).

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:

Obtained ScoreDidn’t Obtain Score
Credit card issuers use scores94%76%
Mortgage lenders use scores93%74%
Missed payments lower scores94%80%
High credit card balances lower scores88%74%
Consumers have more than one score80%53%
700 is a good credit score91%74%

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.

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