Millennials Are Confident About Their Credit. Should They Be?

Millennials are more comfortable sharing their credit score with others than Americans in older generations, according to the Chase Slate Credit Survey, but such confidence might be misleading — millennials are also the least likely to have looked at their credit scores, and they have lower standards for what they consider a “good” credit score.

The Chase Slate Credit Survey includes responses collected Feb. 27 through March 11 from a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6%. The margin of error is larger (and not specified) for the generation subgroups.

More than half of millennials (59%) said they’d be comfortable telling their parents their credit scores, compared to 35% of Gen Xers and 27% of boomers. The willingness to share could be a social difference among generations, but it could reflect the differences in understanding credit scores and what’s considered good credit.

People who have previously checked their credit scores gave a higher number for what they think a good score is — consumers who check their scores think 719 is a good score, while those who haven’t think 668 is good. To be clear, there’s no standard “good” number, and there are different ranges of excellent, good, bad, etc., based on the credit scoring model (of which there are hundreds). The scale used for the free FICO score Chase Slate cardholders receive is 300-900.

On average, boomers consider 726 a good score. Gen Xers say 712 is good, and millennials say 695 is good. They’re all in the right range, but being on the high end of “good” gives you better odds of credit approval and favorable rates, which is something boomers and Gen Xers may know from years of experience with the credit system.

The only way to know if you have a good score is to check it and see how it falls on the scale of whatever model you’re looking at. You can get two of your scores for free on every 30 days, with comparisons to your state and national averages.

Most Gen Xers have checked their credit scores (only 4% haven’t), but 19% of millennials haven’t, neither have 13% of boomers. Given all the resources out there on credit scores and the opportunities to see your scores for free, there’s no good reason to not check. Reviewing your credit and requesting a credit score doesn’t hurt your credit. In fact, once you start paying attention to your credit and gain a better understanding of what impacts it, you may improve your credit behaviors and see your scores improve over time as a result.

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This article by Christine DiGangi was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.