Checking Your Credit Regularly Helps You Improve Your Scores, Survey Says

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For some people, checking their credit is like stepping on the bathroom scale: a necessary evil, albeit one that pushes them to take charge of their health. Perhaps that’s the same thinking that drives consumers to regularly check their credit. In fact, according to a new study commissioned by Discover, a high percentage of those who regularly checked their credit over the past year said it helped them improve their behaviors. (You can view two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

Here’s a look at the study.

Methodology

Discover — which began offering free FICO scores to all consumers in May — surveyed 2,000 consumers in March 2016 by the independent research firm Toluna. The survey was not based on FICO scores but self-reported estimated credit scores, and the maximum margin of sampling error was plus or minus 5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

A Positive Impact

Of those who checked their credit scores seven or more times in a year, 73% said doing so improved their behavior. Not only were they motivated to pay bills on time, one of the main factors credit agencies use to determine their score, they also paid down loans and aimed to maintain a low balance on their credit cards. In contrast, 44% of those who checked their credit scores once a year saw the same impact.

And 76% of those checking their scores frequently (i.e., seven or more times in 12 months) saw their scores improve dramatically or slightly over the same time frame. Meanwhile, 72% who checked their scores four to six times during the year noted credit improvements. Only 38% of those who checked their scores once in the previous year saw their credit scores rise.

Knowledge Is Power

To continue the health analogy, identifying problems is the first step to solving them. This was especially true of millennials, or adults ages 18 to 24, who mostly (57%) told Discover that the biggest motivator for checking their scores “was to improve or maintain it.” Compare that to 47% of Generation X (ages 35 to 54) and 25% of baby boomers (ages 55 to 69) who checked just as often. Perhaps the younger generation is onto something.

At publishing time, Discover products are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Image: AndreyPopov

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