EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- One of the latest trends in dating is all about your credit score! That three digit number is becoming more and more valuable. For Hello Wisconsin's Valentine’s Day Week, financial professional Mike Kojonen with Preserveyourdollars.com sat down with Tyler Mickelson with tips for financial compatibility and ways to raise your credit score. The question and answer session is below.
Tell us about this recent survey... that people want to know someone’s credit score on one of the first dates?
Mike Kojonen, "4 in 10 people say knowing someone’s credit score would affect their willingness to date that person. (source if you choose to use stat: Bankrate.com) It’s actually a more important factor for women (43%) than men (32%) and college graduates (47%) than those with a high school education (29%)."
Do you think it’s wise to ask a potential mate their credit score before getting seriously involved?
Mike Kojonen, "I do. Asking for a person’s credit score is not the same as asking about a person’s salary. A high credit score can show that a person is responsible and reliable with their finances. (Of course, someone with a low credit score could still be responsible with money and pay all the bills on time, but may just have some unexpected medical debt.). Dating someone with poor credit can have real implications. Banks remain wary of making loans to borrowers with tarnished scores. And low scores can deny one access to a mortgage. And, as many of us know, money is one of the leading causes of conflict in marriage. It would be nice if you can start off as a good financial match."
So do you believe that credit score opposites can’t have successful relationships?
Mike Kojonen, "Not necessarily, but their relationship will likely be more challenging. In fact, a study that shows that couples with high credit scores - above 750 - are more likely to stay together. (source if you choose to use stat: Federal Reserve Board). Couples with lower-than-average scores - below 600 - are up to three times more likely to separate than those with average scores. (source if you choose to use stat: Federal Reserve Board). It’s important that you communicate openly and honestly about what led to the low score and work on a plan to improve it."
What are some ways to raise your credit score?
Mike Kojonen, "Know your score. One of the most important things is to know what your score is. 30% of Americans say they have never checked their credit reports. (source if you choose to use stat:Bankrate.com).I recommend that everyone check their credit report at least once a year. You can get a free report from each of the three credit bureaus. I have a link on my website, preserveyourdollars.com to get your free report.
Dispute errors. Once you get that report, look at it closely. If there are errors like late payments, charge-offs or collections, or if your credit limits are reported as lower than they really are, it is usually worth the effort to correct it with the bureaus.
Watch your ratio. Your credit score depends a large part on the ratio of credit used to credit available. Ideally you want to be using less than 10% of your available credit. If you are using more, work on paying down that debt. One way to do that is to make micropayments throughout the month.
Use your cards lightly. Racking up big bills on your credit cards can hurt your scores- even if you pay them off each month! Try to limit your charges to 30% of a card’s limit. You can set up text or email alerts with your credit card company to help you keep track.
Keep cards active. You can also boost your credit score by keeping your cards active. The older your credit history, the better- so it is good to keep an older credit card active as well. If you stop using a card, the company may stop reporting it to the credit bureaus.