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Lending

5 ways to evaluate your date's FICO score

Dating sites using credit reports may miss the mark

January 22, 2014
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Forget about impressing the loan officer — your credit score can now determine whether you have a date this weekend.

Several dating sites, including creditscoredating.com and datemycreditscore.com, use your credit report and the magic FICO number associated with it as part of their matching formula.

Can eHarmony be far behind?

"Single, 750, with no slow-pays, seeks 760 or above for long walks on the beach and cash-only dinners. Must Haves: solid payment history, more than three years at the same job. Can’t Stands: high-balance credit cards, accounts in collection.”

Lenders, employers and landlords have been judging consumers on this information for years, but also take into account their income, work history, types of credit, etc., when making their determination. Potential dates? Not so much.

From the home page of datemycreditscore, there’s this comment from a site user: “can u (sic) truly love someone with a 500 credit score? … stop kidding yourself, the answer is no.” Or the tongue-in-cheek dating guide on creditscoredating that says 700-750 is a "fixer-upper" and anything below 500 is "RUN because they won’t even get a car loan".

Talk about truth in lending.

On the plus side, it’s probably good that people are more aware of getting and maintaining good credit. On the down side, dating-site “underwriters” looking for a number to gauge a person’s trustworthiness face the same conundrum as loan originators — it’s way more complicated than that.

So in the spirit of helping, here are some strategies from the world of loan origination that could be applicable to dating due diligence:

  • False or misleading statements put the whole process in jeopardy.
  • Red flags mean more digging is necessary. A letter of explanation may be required.
  • Past problems are not necessarily deal-breakers, if the person’s recent history shows progress and they have a significant down payment.
  • Stop counting bad debt after seven years.
  • True-value appraisals will help ensure the buyer is a good match for what he is trying to get.

Risk mitigation involves gathering all the data you can and using predictive models to sort out the good risks from the bad. In that process a FICO score is merely a starting point, even for the person whose score is 500.

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