The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Looking for love? A poor credit score can make you less attractive in the dating scene.


Forget the power of pheromones.

Want to make yourself more attractive to a potential mate? Make sure you have a good credit score.

Turns out that having a great credit history is sexy to some people. And an online dating site is betting that hooking people up — in part based on their credit scores –will score lots of users.

In creating a dating profile, requires users to disclose where they fall in a range of credit scores. In a drop down menu here are your choices (the higher the score, the better credit risk you are):
— 801-850

— 751-800

— 701-750

— 651-700

— 601-650

— 600 or below

But the reporting is on the honor system.

“The site does not check the accuracy of the scores,” reports Mia Taylor for

The site’s founder, Niem Green says a series of questions can help determine if people are being honest. (As if they couldn’t lie in their answers).

As Taylor writes, “The questions cover topics such as delinquent accounts in the past and what they would do with a sudden cash windfall. The answers are included on each user’s profile, alongside other pertinent dating information like age and hobbies. In addition, the information gleaned by the algorithm, which Green said has a 92 percent accuracy rate, is used to match compatible site users.”

For it’s survey, wanted to know if a bad credit score could hurt people’s chances of finding a partner.

It might.

Almost two in five U.S. adults said knowing someone’s credit score would affect their interest in dating that person, according to the report released this week.

And which sex is more likely to consider a credit score a major influence in their dating decision?

It’s women.

Fifty percent of women said a certain credit score might have them think twice about dating someone, while just 35 percent of men said it would factor into the appeal of a date, according to the latest Bankrate Money Pulse survey, which was conducted April 20-23 by Princeton Survey Research Associates International with a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults living in the continental U.S.

Here’s some additional data from the survey:

— Older millennials (27 to 36) are the most likely to be concerned about credit scores.

— Younger millennials (18 to 26) are most likely to say it has no impact at all.

— Nineteen percent of Americans think credit scores are never an important factor in a relationship.

So when is a good time to reveal your credit score while dating?

Six percent of the survey respondents thought that people should share credit scores within the first few dates.

That’s way too soon to share such intimate details of your financial life.

Thirty-seven percent of the survey participants said people should share credit score information after dating a few months, and the same percentage said swap scores after getting engaged.

Keep your personal finance details to yourself until you’re serious. What you should be sharing and finding out during the dating period is the financial values the person has.

Is he a good saver?

Does she think having a lot of debt is no big deal?

How generous is the person?

“It’s probably not a great idea to ask for someone’s financial history on the first date,” said Mike Cetera, credit card analyst at  “However, it’s better to know if a potential partner has a history of bad financial decisions before the relationship goes too far, especially if you plan on making large purchases together or sharing bank accounts.”

You should not be making large purchases with someone you are dating or sharing bank accounts until there is an, “I do.”

Just saying.

Color Money question of the week
How soon should dating couples share information about their credit score? Send your comments to Please include your name, city and state. In the subject line put “Dating and Credit Scores.”

Live chat today

Join me at noon (Eastern) for a live discussion with Erin Currier, director of financial security and mobility for The Pew Charitable Trusts. Currier will be discussing recent reports by Pew on income volatility and financial shocks.

Twin reports by Pew show many families are economically fragile

To join the discussion click this link.

Last week’s question

I asked: Would you or should you marry someone with a lot debt?

Kyle Kinstedt from Irvine, Calif., wrote, “I am currently dating a law school student. We have been dating for three years and are pretty serious.  In one year, she will graduate with approximately $150,000 in debt.  I have no debt thanks to the GI Bill and currently work as an engineer. For millennials, I believe financial competence is as important as speaking the same language.  As we enter the work force and look to start families, we are paid entry-level salaries that would be manageable with the cost of living three to four decades ago.  We have no choice but for both partners to work.  Real income growth has been replaced with access to credit.  Knowing how to utilize access to that credit without getting in over your head in debt is vital for living a middle-class life in America.  Excessive indebtedness can damage your life almost as much as any substance addiction.”

Henry in Montgomery County, Md., a widower and a retired Federal employee, wrote: “I have agreed to marry a wonderful woman who has a lot of debt.  We are not yet officially engaged, but we have agreed to marry in the near future (likely next year).  I postponed actually marrying until I could work with her creditors to settle her liabilities because I did not creditors to try to attach our marital property or take my assets into account when we tried to settle. Bottom line is there is no one ‘right’ answer.  One needs to learn and understand why the other person incurred such debt, how that person now handles his/her finances, and if or how you can work together to reduce and hopefully eliminate such debt and not incur more such debt in the future.  In my case, after very careful review and analysis I concluded all the indicators were very positive.”

Linda Marler of Colfax, Wash., wrote: As a retiree in my late 60’s, I am viewing this as a happily married woman.  At my age, however, dating someone with debt would make no sense at all. We’ve worked, budgeted and invested carefully, and if I were widowed, I wouldn’t be willing to risk my financial security on someone with debt. If I follow my parents, I could live to be 90. That will require some money!”

“I see many seniors, male and female both, looking for nurse or purse, to pair up with someone that can afford them, take care of them physically and/or financially,” DeAnn wrote. “They squander their income having a good time, not saving, not investing or just plain poor money management and want someone else to finance their retirement. I’m 62. My house is paid off.  I have no loans, car notes, HELOCs.  I use credit cards but don’t generally get over $2,000. If I did not already have my partner, whose only debt is a mortgage and one credit card, I would not take up with a man in debt for other than [if he had] a mortgage. A variation on that equally yoked theme.  Anyone with 40 years of work under his or her belt should have something to show for it. I want a partner, not a project.”

Megan of Alexandria, Va., wrote: I married my husband in 2015 and he had about $54,000 in student loans. I’d been blessed to have parental support, inexpensive schooling and scholarships that allowed me to graduate college with about $1,000 in debt to my folks. We sat down together, and decided that paying off the debt was a priority. He would try hard to find a new job, and we would live frugally and put a little extra money toward his federal loans every month to get them paid off as quickly as possible. We agreed on a budget, a very small amount of money we could each spend for entertainment each month, and the amount of money that we could spend without consulting each other (miniscule.)  We ate a lot of meals at home, and entertained in-house, rather than going out.”

And the result?

Megan writes, “He was worth every penny and all the stress of his debt.  Within three months of marriage, he had a job paying twice what he’d been making with benefits! We doubled down on the student loan payments (just after starting a 401(k) for him). I had a comfortable emergency savings, so we put half his remaining funds into the loan one month, and another half the next month.  Once we had about 6 months of living expenses saved, and thanks to some fortunate bonuses at work, and a new job for me, we were able to pay of the last of his loans in August 2016, and took a celebratory delayed honeymoon in September. Obviously we couldn’t have done this without some pretty fortunate windfalls, or the support of my parents, but I feel extraordinarily grateful that with budgeting, hard work, love and cooperation we were able to be debt free so quickly, even from such a staggering amount of debt. I think as long as the couple is agreed on priorities and commits to a plan, debt is a surmountable obstacle.”

Stephen Woloshyn of Kingston, Ontario, wrote: “If potential partners have significant levels of debt, that may be a sign of problems in the future. It may be that one partner knows the difference between “wants” and “needs” and the other doesn’t.”

C. Vass, Silver Spring, Md., wrote: “Should you marry someone with a lot debt? One word answer: NO. Debt and poor spending habits (or I guess excellent spending habits; poor saving habits) are the #1 reasons for arguments in the relationships of our family and friends. The inability to find a middle ground that provides financial stability and satisfies each partner has led to divorce in that same crew. Please, avoid the heartache for yourself and the headache for your friends and family. Make sure you are financially compatible with your partner WELL BEFORE you get married.  Is it romantic? NO. Is it a relationship building block that will ensure a lifetime of happiness (and allow others to keep you on the invite list for BBQs)? YES.”

Color of Money columns this week

Knowledge isn’t power. The right knowledge is power.

Stay informed about your money. Read and share my columns for this week.

Let’s face it, your millennial is still really a financial rookie

Understanding why families struggle financially would make for better policy

Have a question about your finances? Michelle Singletary has a weekly live chat every Thursday at noon where she discusses financial dilemmas with readers. You can also write to Michelle directly by sending an email to Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read more Color of Money columns, go here.