Why Women Underestimate Their Creditworthiness While Men Overestimate Theirs

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When it comes to creditworthiness, women are less sanguine about their credit scores than men when in fact women’s credit scores are higher. Overall, 51% of Americans think they have excellent credit scores, but by gender, 58% of men believe they have excellent credit compared with 45% of women.

The reality is somewhat different. On average, according to a new study, women’s credit scores are better than men’s: 675 compared with an average of 670 for men. Both averages are well below what banks and credit scoring companies consider an excellent credit score of 750 or higher. Both men and women, it appears, suffer from a disconnect between perception and reality.

The average credit score in the United States is currently 695, an all-time high, but there remain significant differences based not only on gender but on age, education, geography, home ownership and number of children.

Among the women included in the survey, 16% said they had poor credit scores compared with just 10% of men. That may be due largely to the fact that the U.S. workforce is presently consists of 51% women who earn just 79% of men’s average weekly pay.

Simply stated, the less money someone makes, the more likely that person is to believe that his or her credit score is low. There is some truth to that perception. Americans earning 50% or less of the country’s median family income of around $52,000 have a median credit score of 664 while a family with an income of 120% of the median has a median credit score of 775.

The online study was conducted by Harris Poll from September 21 to 23, 2016, among 2,008 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among which 1,555 have personal credit card(s), and reported by CardRatings.com.

Other reported findings of the study include:

When it comes to age, the older you are, the more likely you are to believe that your credit is excellent. Americans ages 65 and older seem to be the most confident: 73 percent of this group describe their credit score as excellent compared to just 37 percent of 18- to 34-year olds. Millennials (ages 18-34) are more likely than older adults ages 65+ to describe their credit score as Limited/No credit history/score (14 percent vs. 0 percent) or say they are not sure about their credit score (10 percent vs. 4 percent). Adults who are not parents to a child under 18 are more likely than parents of children under 18 to believe they have an excellent credit score (56 percent vs. 40 percent) – possibly because they may not have the financial burden of paying for child care costs or college tuition bills.

See CreditRatings.com for more details and additional survey results.