Many people know that having a good credit score is integral to making some of life’s biggest purchases. Without one, it’s challenging to qualify for a loan to buy a house or a car someday.
However, even though credit scores are really important, they’re also a bit of a mystery. Not a lot of people know what makes up a credit score, how to improve them, or even how to check them!
So, below I’ve compiled 10 surprising things you probably didn’t know about the elusive credit score, including the fact that credit scores really haven’t been around that long at all.
1. Credit scores didn’t exist until the 1950’s
Before credit scores existed, you’d have to go and sit down and talk with a banker before getting a loan. So, the process was a little subjective. If the banker didn’t like you or think you were trustworthy, you weren’t going to be approved. In the 1950’s two statisticians named Bill Fair and Earl Isaac founded FICO, but it took until the 1970’s for the FICO score to be seen as integral to lending as it is now.
2. Your credit score may predict how long you’ll be married
The Federal Reserve conducted an interesting study where it followed couples for 15 years to see how credit scores affected those in committed relationships. The study found that “the initial match quality of credit scores is strongly predictive of relationship outcomes in that couples with larger score gaps at the beginning of their relationship are more likely to subsequently separate.” To put it another way, the closer your credit score is to your other half’s credit score, the more likely you are to stay together.
3. TransUnion started as a railroad leasing company
The credit bureau, TransUnion, started as the Union Tank Car Company in 1968. In 1969, it acquired a business called the Credit Bureau of Cook County, which had millions of consumer card files located in 400 different cabinets. Eventually, it became the TransUnion we know today after spending 40 years collecting consumer data and developing technology that helps people and companies around the world.
4. Employers cannot get your credit score
There is a pervasive myth that employers can screen you by finding out your credit score. This myth likely arose because people get the phrases “credit score” and “credit report” mixed up. Some employers do request permission to see your creditreport, but it’s typically a different version than the one you see and is used specifically for employment screenings.