By Brian J. O'Connor, Tribune Media Services
9:30 AM EDT, September 30, 2013
It's one of the most important numbers influencing life on this planet, and I don't mean your ZIP code, dress size or how much you spent on Mother's Day gifts for your wife. I mean your credit score, which, besides determining how much credit you get and how much you pay for it, also dictates your insurance rates, ability to rent an apartment and very likely what version of Windows you can purchase.
But a survey from the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore Solutions, a credit-score provider, shows that many consumers don't understand credit scores any more than they can comprehend the baffling reality that "Grey's Anatomy" keeps getting renewed. (Seriously, seeing all those doctors run around with earnestly pained expressions makes me wonder: Don't they have access to things like Xanax or Klonopin? Or at least Tylenol?)
You can test your pain tolerance, as well as your knowledge of credit scores, at http://www.creditscorequiz.org, or try my handy-dandy version right here.
(Choose the answer that doesn't apply.)
Which of the following might use credit scores to evaluate you?
--Credit card issuer
--Hot blonde from speed-dating
Your credit score includes which of the following factors:
--Missed loan payments
--Credit card balances
--Whether you are a "dog person" or a "cat person"
Your credit score is based on information collected by:
--Guy at the liquor store who sells you Powerball tickets
Which action helps a consumer raise a low score or keep a high one?
--Make all loan payments on time
--Keep credit card balances under 25 percent of the credit limit
--Avoid opening several new credit card accounts at the same time
--Beat the spread on Sunday's Red Sox vs. Royals double-header
Co-signing a student loan would affect you in what way?
--Your credit score is likely to decline slightly because your score is pulled and a credit inquiry is reported.
--Your credit score is likely to improve if the student makes all payments on-time.
--Your credit score is likely to decline if the student makes one late payment.
--Your drinking is likely to increase if Junior majors in medieval art.
A credit score typically measures:
--Attitude toward consumer credit
--Amount of consumer debt
--Resources to pay back loans
--Likelihood you get all your investment tips from the E*TRADE baby
--Four or more correct: You are a Boy Scout who pays every bill early and only borrows the neighbor's hedge clippers.
--Two to four correct: It probably would be better if you let your spouse handle all the money from now on.
--Less than two correct: You are probably a musician, a hobo living down by the river or, possibly, the E*TRADE baby.
(Brian J. O'Connor is an award-winning columnist for The Detroit News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.funnymoneyblog.com.)
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