Is a bad credit score a romantic deal breaker?

Survey shows credit history affects romantic future

DETROIT – When you are looking for the love of your life, there are some qualities you just cannot live without.

With many surveys showing money troubles can lead to big problems in a marriage or romantic relationship, it seems more and more people are thinking with their heads, instead of just their hearts.

When you're dating someone, you look for clues to see what kind of person that might be.

How do they treat their parents? Are they on time? Do they call when they say they will?

These days, how they handle money is moving to the top of the list for more people.

A recent survey by FreeCreditScore.com found some people feel financial responsibility is just as important as physical appearance or partner compatibility, when looking for a long-term partner.

"A credit score is going to take you further than their looks," said Shelby Township's Misty Machasic.

"The credit score being a level playing field, it doesn't necessarily mean wealth, but what it indicates is financial responsibility," said Ken Chaplin, Experian Consumer Services Senior Vice President.

According to the FreeCreditScore.com survey, one-in-four people surveyed said a partner's bad credit score would be a deal breaker. Breaking the numbers down further, 30 percent of women surveyed said a bad credit score would be a deal breaker, opposed to 20 percent of men who said they might break up with someone who was bad with money.

"I think it would affect my relationship if they had a bad credit score, and I was always expected to maybe provide for them," said Alex Conway of Royal Oak.

Some people worried a partner with bad credit might make it difficult to get a home loan or auto loans.

"If your credit is low, you can't get apartments, car, bank loans," said Lawrence Jimerson. "You need a credit reference to make it. I don't care how good you look."

"I'm getting ready to buy a new house, so of course, it plays a big factor," said Susan Dettloff of Warren.

Others worried about the friction that financial problems could cause in a relationship. So if you are one of those people who consider the lack of financial responsibility a deal breaker, what can you do?

"You may not be aware of your partner's financial responsibility. So, what we hope this will do is encourage the conversations earlier in a relationship knowing that its such an important factor in longevity of a partnership," said Chaplin.

"Not on a first date, but early in the relationship," said another woman from Detroit, who wants to know her partner's financial situation.

If the relationship progresses, you can gently ask that person to share their credit score for your own protection.

It is also important to remember that by law, consumers are entitled to one free credit report each year from the three major credit reporting agencies.

The three credit agencies that you can get your credit score from are Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. You can also check your annual credit report by clicking here.

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