Score another victory for women in the battle of the sexes. When it comes to managing credit, women are in better shape than men, according to Experian, a global information services/credit scoring company.
Experian's latest credit trends study, released at the end of May 2013, compared the financial differences between men and women in the way that they use credit. The company analyzed credit scores, average debt, utilization ratios, mortgage amounts and delinquencies of men and women in the U.S. It found:
“When looking at our data and cross-referencing it with other data sources, we see that women working full-time in the United States earn approximately 23 percent less income than men but that women are taking steps to manage their finances better than men,” said Michele Raneri, Experian’s vice president of analytics.
Geography played a part in the disparity between credit scores. In cities like Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the average credit scores for men and women were the same. Medford-Klamath Falls, Oregon, had the biggest gap between credit scores for men and women (three percent), with average credit scores of 687 for women and 667 for men.
Women didn’t come out on top in every geographic region, however. In Columbia, South Carolina, men had the better average score of 655, compared to women’s scores of 633. That’s a 3.36 percent difference.
Raneri said the most notable difference between men’s and women’s credit is that men are taking out bigger individual mortgage loans than women. “But it would appear that they are having a slightly more difficult time making those mortgage payments on time,” she added.
Experian found that 72 percent of consumers have joint mortgages; the other 28 percent have individual mortgage loans.
Women with independent mortgages account for only nine percent of the mortgage market in Hawaii and South Dakota, but account for more than one-quarter (27 percent) of the mortgage market in Washington D.C.
While it’s interesting and entertaining to look at the difference between men and women’s approach to credit, there’s one thing that’s common to both sexes: they need to pay close attention to their own credit situation.
“What’s most important is understanding the value of building a good credit history. How you manage credit and debt is critical to your financial well-being,” said Maxine Sweet, Experian vice president of public education. “Paying attention to what’s in your credit report, never missing a payment and keeping your utilization rates low are three key steps to financial success.”