Focus on Credit Score Paying Off for Millennials

More than 8 in 10 have checked number in past 3 months; generation sees FICO Score boost
A happy millennial on their laptop

While many millennials are admittedly consumed with their tallies of social media followers or YouTube subscribers, their credit score tied as the second most important score to them. Furthermore, their efforts to improve their scores appear to be yielding dividends.

Credit reporting agency Experian surveyed 2,000 adults ages 23 to 38 to see how millennials feel about credit. It learned that 82% of millennials have checked their credit score in the past three months.

The attention millennials are paying to their credit score appears to be working in their favor. According to Experian, millennials have seen their average FICO Score grow by 21 points over the past five years, moving from an average of 647 in the second quarter of 2014 to an average of 668 in the second quarter of 2019. That is the largest increase of any generation during that time period, Experian said.

Survey respondents noted that social media and online numbers such as followers and likes are also important to them. In fact, 19% of respondents said they are obsessed with such numbers. Almost half of the respondents said their number of Instagram followers was the most important rating they wanted to increase, while 41% said they most wanted to increase their number of Twitter followers.

However, 59% said their credit score is the most important score for them to improve. More than half (53%) reported that they have taken steps to improve their credit.

Credit scores do spark some concerns, as 51% said they sometimes worry about their credit scores, while 52% said they would be disappointed if their numbers dropped.

That concern often translates into millennials checking their credit scores more frequently. As we noted, 82% of respondents said they had checked their credit scores in the past three months, tying the percentage who said they had checked their number of Facebook friends. It slightly edged out the 81% who said they checked their number of Instagram followers during that same period.

One reason millennials check their scores so much could be that they get an emotional payoff for doing so. Among survey respondents, 56% said they feel most excited when they see that they have a high credit score. Comparatively, 49% said they feel the most excited when they see that they have a high Yelp rating and 48% said they feel that way with a high number of YouTube followers.

Monitoring your credit score is key to maintaining financial health. If you don’t know your credit score and how it compares to the scores of others, you will have no idea how lenders perceive you or how much borrowing money can cost you. If you’re unhappy with your credit score, take comfort in the fact that it’s only a temporary score that measures this particular moment in time. By taking steps to improve your credit, you can increase your score and likely command lower interest rates on loans and credit cards.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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