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Washington, DC (Profitable.com) With Halloween around the corner, consumers applying for credit could be in for a scare. A new survey from the American Bankers Association found that most U.S. consumers don’t know their own score, despite its importance not only in determining whether they can get credit cards, auto loans and mortgages, but also in employment and insurance decisions. The survey found that only 42 percent of consumers know their credit score.
“People might have a scare when they apply for a loan and discover that a low credit score could mean a higher interest rate or no loan at all,” said Nessa Feddis, ABA’s senior vice president and deputy chief counsel for Consumer Protection and Payments.
The annual survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted for ABA by Ipsos Public Affairs, an independent market research firm, Aug. 8-13, 2013. Fifty-six percent of respondents indicated they did not know their credit score, and 2 percent did not answer the question.
Credit scores represent a person’s creditworthiness and can be obtained from the major credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Lenders use a consumer’s credit score to decide whether to lend them money and at what rate. Credit scores are also used by organizations for screening employment, insurance and other applications. A consumer’s credit report, which indicates whether a person pays their bills on time and how much of their available credit they use, influences their credit score.
“There is no overnight fix for a low credit score, but there are steps you can take to improve it over time,” said Feddis. “Paying your debts on time and demonstrating that you can manage credit responsibly can help you gradually rebuild your score.”
Below are tips from the ABA to help consumers improve their credit scores:
About the Survey
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted August 8-13, 2013. For the survey, a national sample of 1,000 adults aged 18 and older were interviewed by telephone. Weighting was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been if the entire population of adults aged 18 and older in the United States had been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.