Your credit can make or break your finances — something at least women understand.
At least, young women compared to young men. That’s according to a study of college students ages 18-30 from U.S. Bank.
Students were asked true or false questions about what credit is used for, and female students responded correctly more often than male students.
That’s despite female students being included in family finance discussion less than male students. When it comes to budgeting day-to-day finances, almost half (48 percent) of males said they are involved, compared to 45 percent of females.
Forty-five percent of male students compared to 35 percent say they’re involved in long-term planning and large purchases within their family. Thirty-nine percent of males say they participate in taking out loans/lines of credit with their family, while only 27 percent of female students say the same.
Higher credit, but lower earnings
In a Lending Tree survey, women were less likely to be homeowners, earned less money, and accrued 30 percent more debt, but overall had better credit.
On top of this, millennial women (ages 22-37) have higher credit scores than men, says LendingTree, despite having 30 percent more debt than millennial men of the same age.
Thirty-six percent of women have a credit score of 700 or higher, while only 30 percent of men do. Fifty-seven percent of men earned an annual income of $50,000 or higher, while only 42 percent of women earn that income or higher annually.
Despite women’s leg up when it comes to credit, men are more interested in increasing their income and reducing unnecessary spending. Twenty-seven percent of men said they wanted to increase their income, while only 20 percent of women do.
Funnily enough, men may not know they don’t understand credit as well as women do. The Consumer Federation of America’s annual survey of credit understanding found that 54 percent of women said they considered their knowledge of credit scores to be good or excellent, compared to 61 percent of males.
After being quizzed on their credit knowledge, it turned out women knew more. More women (72 percent) understand the importance of checking the accuracy of their credit report than men (64 percent).
More men replied incorrectly to questions about factors used to calculate a credit score. Forty-seven percent of men said a person’s age affected credit (when it doesn’t), while only 41 percent of women agreed.
More men (47 percent) thought marital status mattered compared to women (38 percent), and men (17 percent) were more likely than women (13 percent) to say ethnic origin was factored into calculating a credit score. Neither of those things is a factor.
Using credit more carefully
A report released last year from Experian showed women had higher credit scores, less debt, and fewer late payments than men.
Their study revealed women were 23.5 percent more likely to have more open credit cards than men. On average, women had a credit score of 675 compared to men with a 670 score. Women also had 3.7 percent less debt than men on average.
Women’s average mortgage rate was 7.9 percent less than men’s. Women also had a lower incident rate of late mortgage payments by 8.1 percent.
“Even with more credit cards, women have fewer overall debts and are managing to pay those debts on time,” says Michele Raneri, VP of analytics at Experian. “Men appear to be taking on a bit more than women, specifically when it comes to the homes and the cars they buy, which could be affecting their credit scores.”
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