What’s Hot on the Dating Scene? Good Credit

The hottest prospects on today's dating scene don't just have great abs; they have a great credit score.

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Tall. Brunette. Active. Likes running, tennis, traveling, and sipping tea in front of a roaring fire. Great credit score.

Wait a minute. Wha? Great credit score?

Yes, good credit is an attribute that has become worth shouting about on dating websites. That, anyway, is the theory behind creditscoredating.com and datemycreditscore.com, matchmaker websites addressing the concerns of the fiscally prudent lovelorn.

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Never mind that these sites don’t appear to be attracting a lot of traffic. They wouldn’t exist at all if not for a burgeoning trend where mate seekers long for a peek under your balance sheet before they peek under anything else. This is especially true of young people, who may bring tens of thousands of dollars of student debt to a relationship. That is such a turn-off.

The New York Times interviewed more than 50 daters under 40 from around the country and found that many of them regarded a good credit score as a prerequisite for a good date. As the Times reported:

“‘Credit scores are like the dating equivalent of a sexually transmitted disease test,’ said Manisha Thakor, the founder and chief executive of MoneyZen Wealth Management, a financial advisory firm. ‘It’s a shorthand way to get a sense of someone’s financial past the same way an S.T.D. test gives some information about a person’s sexual past.’”

Is this taking the beau-vetting process too far? I don’t think so. Landlords and lenders may look at your credit score to help determine if you are worth taking a chance on. Even employers may do a credit check on you. Why not a prospective mate? How you handle money says a lot about your ability to be organized and responsible. Why would anyone with options risk falling for someone likely to bring heavy debt and poor spending and saving habits to a union?

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Your credit score is a complex calculation based on your debts and payment history. A low score can keep a bank from lending you money for a house or car, or be the basis for charging a higher interest rate. Any score below 660 is a red flag; anything above 800 is considered stellar. In general, you’re fine with anything at or above 750.

If your credit is poor, there are steps you can take to fix the problem. One irony is that you must use credit to build a decent credit score. A simple but critical part of this process is using a credit card—but never charging more than 30% of your card limit—and then paying down or paying off the balance in a timely way. That’s not just a smart practice; on today’s dating scene, it’s downright sexy.