Just 21% of Consumers Know What Factors Contribute to Credit Scores, Yet 27% of Americans Spend 4+ Hours per Day Worried About Debt
Managing Debt is a key to Managing Your Finances
Norwalk, Conn. — December 20, 2011 — 'Twas a week before Christmas and just 21% of Americans 18+ know the factors that contribute to their credit scores according to a fourth quarter survey by FreeScore.com. The top five credit factors are as follows:
- Payment history: 35%
- Amounts of money owed: 30%
- Length of credit history: 15%
- New lines of credit: 10%
- Types of credit used: 10%
The same FreeScore.com survey revealed that 11% of consumers spend more than 10 hours a day worrying about debt. On average, consumers spend four hours a day, or 17% of a full day, worrying/thinking about debt.
According to Carrie Coghill, director of consumer education for FreeScore.com, "To build an excellent financial history, one must first manage a budget and manage debt. And payment history is very important in this day and age. So, while many people might be frozen in regards to managing debt, a great starting point is consistent credit card payments and paying off credit cards."
Coghill recommends that consumers in debt must create a plan. She suggested that those with multiple credit cards pick one card with the lowest amount owed and pay that off first — while making minimum payments on the other cards to keep your credit payments current. When the first card is paid off, apply those payments to second card and pay that off.
"This is called snowballing," Coghill noted. "The key is that a consumer can see progress of ridding him or herself of a debt. Plus, he or she will pay off debt and help build consistent payments. But, most of all, avoid building up more debt this holiday season. You can be frugal, but don't be Scrooge. A tin of cookies you bake for $10 might be nicer than that $50 gift in the store window. Be thoughtful and think about a budget," she concluded.
If people need more help, Coghill suggests consumers contact these agencies:
- The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC)
- Information on credit and loans for consumers from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- ControlYourCredit.gov is a website geared toward educating consumers on how to maintain good credit.
Coghill added, "Of course, a good place to start is to know your credit scores."
About FreeScore LLC
FreeScore.com is the leading online consumer credit service, providing members with affordable, unlimited access to all three credit scores and their complete credit profile. For more information, go to FreeScore.com. FreeScore.com is a service of FYI Direct, Inc.