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Experian surveyed 1,000 single and committed Generation Z and millennial consumers about dating and credit. Survey conducted January 26, 2024. Sample was collected using a third-party company and was not from Experian's consumer credit database.
Whether young people are single, in a committed relationship or married, the romantically inclined are as concerned with their potential (or actual) partner's credit, perhaps even as much as their personality and other assets, according to a 2024 Experian survey.
To set the demographic stage: We asked 1,000 millennials (ages 28 to 43) and adult Generation Zers (ages 18 to 27) if they were in a committed relationship. Among those under 25, about half of survey respondents said they were in a committed relationship, as did about two-thirds of older millennials. We then asked both the singles and the committed their thoughts about romance and credit, past and present.
For Many, Discussing Finances Is TBD
Discussing finances is admittedly not much of an ice-breaker. However, according to our survey, many may be putting off money questions indefinitely. Indeed, more than half of those in the dating pool (56%) say they're going to wait until they commit to someone before either prying or opening up their own financial books.
Question: At what stage in a relationship do you feel comfortable discussing detailed financial matters (like credit scores) with your partner?
At the other end of the spectrum, only 4% of singles would like to either ask some financial questions or receive some financial answers before that first meetup. The rest, about 39%, bring up finances at some point between the first coffee and deleting the dating app.
In addition, most singles don't think a person's finances will sway their decision in either direction. Only 13% say that knowing someone's credit score would sway their decision about that person.
By the way, financial shyness may noy just be a singles-only issue. When posed the same question, those already part of a relationship or marriage suggested they would be about as curious or incurious about their current partner's finances as singles are about their date.
How Couples See Their Credit Scores
A recent Experian study found that couples today are co-mingling their finances less than in prior years. There are fewer couples with joint accounts than in previous years, and more married couples are choosing to file taxes separately.
So it's not surprising that sometimes a couple's credit scores aren't similar either. Among committed respondents, only a third of respondents said they had about the same credit score as their partner. Another third said their credit score was better and another third said their partner's score was better.
Question: Whose credit score is better, yours or your partner's?
Men were more likely than women to claim they were the partner with a better credit score: 41% of men claimed they were the one with the better credit score, while only 31% of women asked said they were the partner with the better credit score.
"Claim," however, is the key word here. With far more men claiming their credit score is better than their partner's, this survey result may be a byproduct of male ego. Previous Experian data shows men and women in fact have similar credit scores.
Who Pays? The Answers You've Been Waiting For
The check arrives. You're asked to take your time. Your mind may be more concerned with other things than who picks up the tab, but most still have a preference over who should pay on the first date. Let's drill down.
Among all 1,000 respondents, replies are evenly distributed among four possible replies to the matter of who picks up the check.
If you share a meal on a first date, who do you think should pay?
Again, by far the greatest differentiator among respondents is gender. The data overwhelmingly suggests that men are the group most likely to identify themselves as the one who should pay for the first date. It's more of a differentiator than region, age, income status and employment status. The chart below notes the top results for each category.
Percentage who answered "I should pay" to "If you share a meal on a first date, who do you think should pay?"
If you've perhaps gotten your first grown-up job or have above-average income, you're somewhat more likely to pick up the check, according to the Experian survey. But the preference is lukewarm at best. Region and age show almost no difference in who buys.
Can Good Credit Be Cute?
Finally, we asked a simple yes or no question that most appear to agree with: Is good credit attractive? Four out of five singles say yes, according to this year's survey. While we're not suggesting including your credit score in your dating profile, it's a pretty short walk from good credit to higher confidence, one of the most tried and true approaches to relationships we have.
Methodology: The analysis results provided are based on an Experian-created statistically relevant aggregate sampling of our consumer credit database that may include use of the FICO® Score 8 version. Different sampling parameters may generate different findings compared with other similar analysis. Analyzed credit data did not contain personal identification information. Metro areas group counties and cities into specific geographic areas for population censuses and compilations of related statistical data.
FICO® is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.