Interesting question, isn’t it? Can financial behavior and credit scores be attributed to gender? Is there research of how men vs. women handle their credit differently?
I dug around to see if I could find answers on how these two genders battle it out against each other with regard to their credit scores and credit history.
Credit Scores and You
Before comparing whether men vs. women have better credit scores, you’ll need to know what credit scores are and their impact.
If you’re not familiar with credit scores, you may be surprised at how much of an impact they have on your financial and personal life. They have an affect on the interest rates you pay on loans and credit cards, insurance rates for your car, and in some cases, a factor of your employability (depending on which sector you work in).
You have 3 credit scores, calculated from each of the major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). Credit scores are based on several factors, including:
- Payment History (35%): What your credit report says about your payment patterns matters a great deal. Staying on top of your payments is a plus while being chronically late or having several past due accounts have a huge negative impact on your score.
- Amount Owed (30%): Maxing out your cards is not the way to get a good score on your credit card. The proportion of your total credit lines that you’re using counts for about a third of credit scores.
- Credit History(15%): The length of your credit history assists credit bureaus in analyzing past credit patterns. Managing your credit card for several years with a little or no balance says more about you than owning a card for a few months.
- New Credit (10%): Opening new lines of credit and the frequency of credit inquires can have an impact on your score.
- Types of Credit (10%): The score takes into account the types of debt you have — mortgage, car loans, and other lines of credit.
Now the question is, do men and women differ greatly with their credit scores? The findings were enlightening.
Credit Scores of Men Vs. Women
What’s interesting is seeing how credit scores differ from men vs. women, and what they can learn from each other. One of the credit bureaus, Experian, did an analysis based on gender-specific data and found the following points regarding the credit scores and credit histories of men vs. women:
- Amount Owed: Men typically have more debt than women at $12,953 versus $11,486, respectively.
- Accounts Opened: Women had more open credit accounts than men with a 5 to 4 margin.
- Credit Scores: Women had slightly higher average credit scores than men, at 682 for women compared to 675 for men.
While there are differences between the genders, they are relatively small disparities — nothing to suggest a massive triumph for either gender over the other. What was fascinating, however, was that even if the credit scores were the same, women had a tendency to have higher mortgage loan rates than male borrowers. One suggestion of why this is so is that women may not shop around for the best interest rates as often as men do.
Couples who know each other’s credit scores and credit history reports can work together towards increasing their scores, which can be financially and emotionally rewarding. Doing so can result in better interest rates on loans like on a mortgage, saving you tens of thousands of dollars or even more over the life of the loan. Then, the money saved on interest charges can be directed towards other financial goals.