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Lenders use your credit score to predict your risk as a borrower when you are in the market for a new credit card or a loan. But on a few online dating sites, potential suitors have been using credit scores to calculate a different type of risk—the risk of heartbreak.
Online dating sites like creditscoredating.com and datemycreditscore.com have received media attention for the niche services they offer to singles looking for love on the Internet. To be a member of creditscoredating.com, for example, you must post your credit score range. Then you can search for potential dates by their credit scores.
“Too many relationships fall apart because of finances,” says Niem Green, owner of creditscoredating.com, which launched in 2007 and now has more than 10,000 users.
By asking members to select their credit score range (with some members choosing to post the actual score in their profile), the dating site helps its members achieve financial responsibility and compatibility in their relationships, Green says.
Creditscoredating.com works like most other online dating sites. Users sign up and then create profiles with their personal characteristics and interests. However, the site ups the ante by bringing credit scores into the mix.
“We can have a conversation about anything, but as soon as we bring credit into it, you know I’m serious,” Green says, adding that the site caters to singles who are looking for more serious and long-term relationships.
Often, people who have had their credit or financial lives ruined by previous significant others want to be sure off the bat that they’re dealing with someone who’s financially responsible.
“I would like to have at least a ballpark idea of someone’s credit score,” says Ben R., from Phoenix, Ariz. “I might worry if it’s extremely low.”
On the other hand, credit score dating might not be the path to romance for everyone.
“It’s a niche,” says Eric Resnick, the owner and lead dating coach at ProfileHelper, which helps online daters create profiles and communicate with love interests.
“Are there people who want to check into [credit score]? Absolutely,” Resnick says. “There will always be people who need that level of reassurance on who they are dating before they really start meeting.”
Other daters aren’t concerned. Jessica D., a 27-year-old woman from Chicago, says she would not want to know someone’s credit score before starting to date because the information is none of her business.
“People can have bad credit scores for a number of different reasons—it doesn’t always mean they are financially irresponsible,” she says.
If you’re looking for love, now may be a good time to pretty up your credit score for your potential mate. Even if you’re loving the single life, it can’t hurt to get your financial house in order.
Although there is no magic remedy to fix your credit score, consider these five tips to make your credit more attractive to potential mates (and lenders):
1. Pay your bills on time.
Your payment history is one of the factors that helps determine your credit score, so it’s important that you stay on top of your bills. Paying bills in full and on time should reflect positively on your credit history. Remember that one delinquent payment that is 30 days late can remain on your credit report for up to seven years.
2. Pay off debt.
If you have any collections or credit card debt, make a financial plan so you can get it paid off as quickly as possible. The debt-to-available-credit ratio is another factor that impacts your credit score—it’s more positive to have a high ratio of available credit to debt. By paying off some of your current debt, you may open up some of your available credit.
3. Look for new credit opportunities.
You may have a lower credit score if you have a small credit file, meaning that you don’t have much credit or your credit history is short. You don’t want to take on debt you don’t need, but you can build a more positive credit report if you open more lines of credit. Consider opening a retail, gas, or low-interest credit card in order to build a positive credit history.
4. Check your credit report regularly.
It’s important that you regularly check your credit report so you know where you stand. Doing so can help you keep track of any debts that need to be paid down, collections that need to be paid off, or inaccurate information that needs to be corrected. You are entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the three national credit reporting agencies through annualcreditreport.com. To access your credit score, you will need to pay about $9.
5. Correct any errors.
Inaccuracies in your credit report, such as if a credit company has not correctly reported your payments, could impact your credit score. If you spot an error when reviewing your credit report, you can dispute the error with the credit reporting agency. At Equifax, you can file a dispute online, by mail, or by phone. You can also directly contact the creditor involved with the error to resolve the dispute.
Cleaning up your credit file will take a little work, but following these tips may help you snag the mate—or the credit score—of your dreams.
What about you: When do you want to know your future mate’s credit history?
Joslin Woods is a researcher, writer, and Web producer at Think Glink Publishing, with a background in print and digital media. Previously, Joslin worked as a news reporter for the international news agency Agence France-Presse and as a freelance reporter for the Sun-Times News Group. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.
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