Annual CFA survey shows gaps in consumer credit scoring knowledge

Date: June 23, 2020

What do consumers know about their credit scores? Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore Solutions team up to find out

Consumer Federation of America (CFA), in partnership with VantageScore Solutions, announced the results of a third-annual survey that measured consumers’ credit-scoring knowledge at a media-only teleconference on May 13. CFA is a nonprofit association of nearly 300 consumer groups founded in 1968 to advance consumer interests through research, advocacy and education.

Opinion Research Corp. (ORC) administered the 18-question survey to more than 1,000 representative American consumers. The survey followed two similar studies that VantageScore Solutions and CFA commissioned from ORC in 2011 and 2012.

The results show large percentages of consumers incorrectly answered wide-ranging questions about credit scores and their impact. For example, 38 percent of survey respondents did not know credit card issuers use credit scores in decisions about credit availability and pricing, and 40 percent did not know mortgage lenders use credit scores in decisions about credit availability and pricing. Two-fifths incorrectly believe that personal characteristics such as age (43 percent) and marital status (40 percent) are used in calculating credit scores.

This year’s survey also included a question related to co-signing for a student loan. The survey found between one-third and two-fifths of respondents do not know that the credit scores of student loan cosigners are affected by that loan — improving if payments are made on time (38 percent) and declining with one late payment (31 percent).

As part of their educational partnership, VantageScore Solutions and CFA launched www.CreditScoreQuiz.org, a consumer-focused website that mimics the survey. It lets consumers test their credit scoring knowledge and provides correct answers for each question as they progress through the quiz. The website is completely free and does not display any advertising or collect any personal data. Useful resources and real-time nationwide results are provided. Both the online quiz and a companion brochure are also available in Spanish at www.CreditScoreQuiz.org/Espanol.

“We are once again pleased to partner with VantageScore Solutions in order to better educate consumers about credit scores,” said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of CFA. “We encourage all consumers to take the credit score quiz and learn how to become better managers of credit.”

The full results of the survey are available on CFA’s website. News articles generated as a result of the survey announcement include:

Funny Money: Hobo or Boy Scout? Credit quiz tells the score
Chicago Tribune
20 May 2013

What’s in a Credit Score? Few Know.
Bloomberg News/BusinessWeek.com
16 May 2013

What you don’t know about your credit score can hurt you
NBCNews.com
15 May 2013

Nuances of Credit Scoring Still Elude Consumers
NYTimes.com Bucks Blog
14 May 2013

Five Credit Score Misconceptions That Can Cost You
Forbes.com
13 May 2013

Study Shows Widespread Ignorance on Credit Scores
American Banker
14 May 2013