Is Credit Score a Fair Way to Choose a Mate?

When considering who to date, you likely consider traits like looks and personality. It’s frowned upon to rule out someone based on his or her bank account… But what you actually need to assess, though, is an objective rating system, such as a credit score. But is that a fair way to judge someone?

What does a credit score actually tells us about a person?

Just in case you aren’t privy, a credit score is a number that tells how reliable a person is in regards to credit - so, the higher the score, the higher the chances that a creditor will get its money back. Individuals actually have a number of credit scores - one for each of credit reporting agencies that collect information on people. These credit reporting agencies (CRAs) are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

The most widely used score is the one generated by the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) with help from Equifax. Another score, called the VantageScore is a FICO competitor and was generated with help from all three of the CRAs. The CRAs collect information regarding bill payment history, the amount of debt, the age of credit history, the percentage of new debts, and types of debt that a person has. All of these factors affect the score, but some carry more weight than others.

The credit scores are generated using algorithms developed from predictive statistics. That is, by continuously collecting information from the large population of the genreal public on financial factors and their impacts on financial outcomes, patterns of behavior are developed. Using the patterns, experts developed algorithms - computer systems that set rules - to create calculations. By considering an individual’s credit history, these calculations produce scores that are used rank a person's creditworthiness.

Credit scores can reveal much about a person’s decision making, which is useful when choosing a life partner. What is not included, however, is a person’s race, color, religion, national origin, sex and marital status, age, work or salary information, credit counseling participation, or any unreported financial activity. So, the credit score is objective, but it is not all inclusive.

Credit Score Ain't Nothin' But a Number - Or Is It?

Credit scores can tell lenders whether or not an applicant is a good catch, but does a person’s credit attractiveness factor into his or her love life? Like potential lenders, potential landlords, insurers, and even employers review credit reports. They have become a way to predetermine a person’s discipline, honesty, and overall character.

For much the same reason, credit scores are compared to nonfincanial factors and are then used to predict other life factors, such as health and relationships.

For example person who doesn’t show discipline with his money likely doesn’t show discipline with his health. This is evident by the strong relationship found between cardiovascular health and credit scores. Of course, one doesn’t cause the other, but a person who lacks certain qualities like self-control, future planning, and perseverance will tend to make decisions that bring forth poor credit and poor health.

These are also qualities that may affect love life. Partners need self-control for fidelity, future planning for family planning, and perseverance for handling conflicts.

Studies also show that credit scores are also directly related to romance. First, people tend to hook up with others who possess scores in the same range, likely because people tend to be attracted to others with similar values to their own.

Additionaly, higher credit scores are assciated with long-lasting relationships, unlike lower scores. People with financial health are more able to use their money to solve stressful life problems, and this, in turn, prevents stress from negatively affecting relationships. It’s also likely that qualities like honesty and commitment play a role in both credit score and romance.

What Are the Consequences of Dating Someone with Bad Credit?

If you’re already involved with someone who has less-than-desirable credit, you should first know that a person’s credit score is only a record of facts. It does not factor in intentions, identity theft, or one time problems like medical debt or job loss. A person with poor credit may very well possess appealing traits like responsibility and trustworthiness.

Communication is important for any relationship, but especially when you’re thinking about joining lives or co-signing for big purchases.

Furthermore, if your potential mate’s credit score is a result of irresponsibility, take comfort that their score will only affect yours if you join accounts and they continue to make spotty financial choices.

If you are thinking of linking up with someone on a serious level, be sure to discuss money history. It might be easier to ignore the conversation because it seems like an invasion of privacy, but that can affect you negatively in the future.

People with poor credit scores may be refused for loans, or only approved with high interest. Not only that, but low credit scores can also lead to being charged hefty down payments on rentals or cell phone plans. Additionally, those with poor credit scores may have trouble finding new employment or getting car insurance.

In a long term relationship, which often entails large joint purchases, these can add up and cause quite a bit of stress.

Is it a Fair Way to Judge a Partner?

Judging a person’s romantic fortitude is absolutely not the purpose of a credit score, and it may even be an unfair judgment to make on his or her character. As true as that is, though, it’s also true that the predictors of the score are quite telling, and you may be doing yourself a disservice to ignore it. So, next time you need a pick-up line, ditch the zodiac questionnaire, and just ask, “Hey, what’s your score?”