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Older Consumers' Attitudes Toward the Use of Credit Scores

Attitudes and beliefs about credit scores are examined in this Data Digest by Sharon Hermanson and Ann Jackson of the AARP Public Policy Institute. The Data Digest reports results of a national random sample of respondents age 18 and older. Only 39 percent of those age 65 or older (compared to 67 percent of those younger than 65) were either somewhat or very familiar with the use of these scores. Respondents not much familiar with the topic were not further queried. The remaining respondents were asked for their attitudes concerning the potential advantages and disadvantages, as well as the accuracy, of credit scores. More than half (56 percent) of respondents reported having seen their own credit scores, with those age 65 and older much less likely (34 percent) than younger respondents (58 percent) to have done so. Three fourths (74 percent) of whites and less than one-half (48 percent) of blacks believed their own credit scores accurately represent their credit worthiness. The survey also found that respondents were most likely to believe that credit scores were appropriately used to qualify applicants for mortgages and car loans, and least likely to believe their use appropriate in setting rates for electricity and phone service. (6 pages).

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