When it comes to men and women, which sex can claim top honors for their credit scores? A recent study by the credit bureau Experian revealed some interesting differences about men and women when it comes to managing their credit and knowledge about how scores and reporting work, and it may not be what you expected.
Experian pulled the data on credit scores, average debt, utilization ratios, mortgage amounts and mortgage delinquencies of men compared to that of women. The conclusion? According to the Experian study, men had an average Vantage credit score of 674. And women….drum roll please…opening the envelope…had an average Vantage score of 675, one point higher than their male counterparts.
The Experian study concluded that:
48% of men incorrectly believe that marital status factors into credit scores, compared to only 38% of women who mistakenly think the same thing. 46% of men mistakenly think marital status is a factor in scoring, versus only 34% of women who get that wrong. 74% of women understand that the credit bureaus collect the information that’s used for scoring, while only 68% of men realize that. More women (36%) know what number of range of score is considered good than men (29%.) Women are also more apt to know when scores are free (65%) than men do (60%), know when lenders are mandated to discloses scores (53% to 46% for men), and better understand the importance of regularly checking and monitoring their credit reports (77% to 72% for men.) The study offers encouragement that the gender gap is closing when it comes to finances, at least for credit. Other studies have revealed that men also have 4.3% more debt than women, have a 2% higher credit utilization ratio (not good), and pay late on their mortgages 7% more than women. Additionally, women tend to be more diligent when it comes to identity theft and protecting sensitive financial data. A study conducted by BankRate.com found that 83% of women were likely to properly dispose of sensitive financial information, as opposed to only 69% of men who did the same. However, despite evidence that women are better educated and more disciplined when it comes to some facets of credit score and finance, there are still areas where they fall short. Even when their credit scores are the same, women pay higher mortgage rates than men, possibly because they are more reticent to shop around for the best rate. Women also had more open credit accounts then men despite having less total credit because they were more apt to open up store or retail credit cards. But despite those facts the general trend is that women are taking better care of their credit…and have a one point advantage when it comes to scores!