Despite the easy availability of credit reports these days, it seems that an alarming number of consumers do not actually know their credit score.
This is particularly true of the younger demographic.
It is very easy, these days, to see your credit report so it should come as quite a shock that a lot of people do not know their own credit score.
As a matter of fact, a recent survey from Harris Interactive conducted on behalf of Coupon Cabin, a savings site, shows that nearly half of all adults are completely unaware of their credit score.
To be more specific, the survey showed that 42 percent of consumers aged 35 and higher are ignorant of their own score but numbers for the 18-34 demographic reached an alarming 60 percent.
In order to better understand these statistics one need only observe that roughly 10 percent of consumers do not even know how much credit card debt they actually carry altogether.
Furthermore, about 21 percent stated that they were carrying more than $5,000. In addition to this more than 50 percent of consumers carry more than one credit card with 35 percent carrying three or more and 7 percent carrying at least six cards at the same time.
Jackie Warrick, President and Chief Savings Officer at Coupon Cabin, puts it like this:
While some credit card users report they are keeping their debt in check, others struggle with high interest payments and looming deadlines. In fact, more than one-third of people we surveyed said they are concerned about how long it will take to pay off their cards. Keep your swiping in check and always have a grasp on the number of cards you have and how you’re using them.
Staying on top of your credit is very important, obviously, but not everyone understands just how important. Knowing your credit score is just the beginning of responsible credit management, but it does set a strong foundation for making better decisions regarding your credit.
As a matter of fact, poor credit habits can dramatically affect your credit score, but it is also even more important to note that bad habits will never help you improve your credit over time.
The reality of the situation is that poor credit habits result in two negative effects on your personal finances. First of all, irresponsible or lazy credit management will increase the amount of debt you have because of higher and higher interest rates, finance charges, and penalties.
Obviously, this is the exact opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. Secondly, though, poor credit management will cause lenders to believe you are a high credit risk so you may have to face more restrictions or pay more in account fees as you open new accounts in the future. Both of these results will require you to pay more money just to have and use your account.
This is of particular interest when you also note that creditors have been more apt to lend to subprime borrowers over the past few years and particularly in the last few months.
These types of accounts usually end up costing subprime borrowers more in the long run than accounts they might be able to get were their credit scores much better.
At the end of the day, then, it is the responsibility of the individual consumer to make sure that they know their credit score. You can figure out your credit score very easily by using readily available web-based applications that will expose you to weaknesses on your credit report or, of course, you can simply contact the credit bureaus for your free annual report.