RIVERWOODS, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Want to improve your credit behavior? Checking your credit score regularly may be a good start. A recent consumer survey commissioned by Discover found that a high percentage of those who reported regularly checking their credit score during the prior year said that checking their score helped improve their credit behavior.
Survey results show that 73 percent of regular checkers – those who checked their credit score seven or more times in a year – said that checking their score had a positive impact on their credit behavior, such as paying bills on time, paying down loans and maintaining low balances on their credit cards. Whereas 44 percent of those who checked their score once during the prior year felt similarly.
In addition, many survey respondents who said they checked their credit score during the prior year also reported improvements to their score. According to the survey, 76 percent of those who checked their score seven or more times during the previous 12 months said their score improved greatly or slightly over that same time period. A similar number, 72 percent, of those who checked their score four to six times throughout the year reported improvements to their score. While just 38 percent of those who checked their score once over 12 months said their score improved.
“Checking your credit score is one of the simplest things that anyone can do to get on the path to understanding their credit health,” said Julie Loeger, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Discover. “But checking is just the first step. One of the reasons we launched Discover Credit Scorecard is to help people stay on top of their credit by gaining more knowledge of key factors that go into their score.”
Everyone can check their FICO® Credit Score and personalized credit profile for free, including those who are not Discover customers, by going to Discover.com/CreditScorecard.
Many underestimate the broad impact of their credit standing
The survey also shed light on consumers’ understanding of how credit impacts their lives. The majority of those surveyed, 74 percent, said their credit standing was important to them. An even greater number, 82 percent, said they were aware of their credit standing, if not their specific credit score. Just over half, 54 percent, felt their credit standing had an impact on their day-to-day life.
While most respondents, 81 percent, said their credit standing had a large impact on their ability to purchase a home, fewer thought it had as big of an impact on other important matters that could be affected by one’s credit.
- Getting a job: 64 percent thought their credit standing had little or no impact
- Getting a favorable insurance rate: 47 percent thought their credit standing had little or no impact
- Renting an apartment: 47 percent thought their credit standing had little or no impact
- Getting a personal or student loan: 32 percent thought their credit standing had little or no impact
- Getting a credit card: 29 percent thought their credit standing had little or no impact
- Buying or leasing a car: 25 percent thought their credit standing had little or no impact
Credit is personal to millennials
Millennials, ages 18 to 34, who took part in the survey reported having a more personal connection to their credit compared to other generational groups. Nearly half of millennials, 46 percent, said they associate their credit standing with their self-worth, compared to 43 percent of generation X, ages 35 to 54, and 30 percent of baby boomers, ages 55 to 69. In addition, 64 percent of millennials said they associate their credit standing with their sense of freedom, compared to 56 percent of generation X and 40 percent of baby boomers.
Millennials also reported checking their credit score more frequently than their generational counterparts. Among those surveyed, 40 percent of millennials said they checked their score at least four times within the past year, compared to 30 percent of generation X and 25 percent of baby boomers who checked as often.
The majority of millennials who checked their credit score within the past year, 57 percent, said the biggest motivator to check their score was to improve or maintain it, compared to 47 percent of generation X and 37 percent of baby boomers who were similarly motivated.
“We believe these survey findings are in line with trends and behaviors we’ve seen since 2013 when we became the first major credit card issuer to offer FICO® Credit Scores for free to our cardmembers on their monthly statements and online,” said Loeger. “Familiarity with your credit score could have a meaningful impact on your credit behavior. With Credit Scorecard, we’ve made it possible for everyone to check their FICO® Score for free.”
For more information about Credit Scorecard, visit Discover.com/CreditScorecard.
About the Survey
The national survey of 2,000 consumers ages 18 and over was commissioned by Discover and conducted in March 2016 by Toluna, an independent survey research firm. The maximum margin of sampling error was ±5 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence. The results were based on consumers’ self-reported estimated credit scores. The survey was not based on FICO® Scores.
Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America's cash rewards pioneer, and offers private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit through its direct banking business. It operates the Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation's leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance in more than 185 countries and territories. For more information, visit www.discover.com/company.
FICO® Credit Scores provided by Credit Scorecard are based on data from Experian and may be different from other credit scores. See Discover.com/CreditScorecard to learn more. FICO® is a registered trademark of the Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.