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Credit scores are hot, cool cars are not

Brady Porche

If you have a high credit score and you’re single, you’re ready to mingle – even if you drive a ’92 Ford Taurus.

The latest in a string of surveys supporting the sex appeal of the credit score superstar comes from Discover and Match Media – owner of dating sites Match.com and OKCupid and the Tinder dating app. The study found that 58 percent of online daters find a high credit score to be more attractive than driving a nice car.

To anyone who grew up in the U.S. in the late 20th century, that seems hard to believe. Before Uber and fixed-gear bicycles, the coolest guys always drove Corvettes, Trans-Ams, Mercedes-Benzes and Escalades. And cars weren’t just a tool for men to attract women. Recall the famous scene from “National Lampoon’s Vacation” in which blonde bombshell Christie Brinkley zooms by the station wagon driven by road-weary dad Chevy Chase in a red Ferrari.

However, Discover’s survey and current dating trends suggest no one is picking anybody up, figuratively speaking, in a car these days. All you need is a smartphone that has location services and a camera with flattering filters. And if you have a credit score over 700, that helps big time.

As with just about any other piece of information about yourself, it’s good to be strategic about when you tell a potential mate your credit score. Discover’s survey found that 69 percent of respondents are shy or uncomfortable discussing credit scores on a dating app or website. But you can play it cool by following some basic rules:

When do I reveal my awesome credit score?
Depending on how high your score is, you might be tempted to blurt it out before the drinks come on your first date. That’s a little forward, though a woman we spoke to a few years back caught the vapors when her date bragged about his 793 credit score on date No. 2.

Best advice: Date No. 3 is a good balance between too-soon and a missed opportunity. By that point, your new friend has probably either decided he or she really likes you and wants to take things further, or you’re hanging by a thread. News of your high credit score could either seal the deal or save you from a permanent left-swipe.

What if my credit score is just so-so – or kind of bad?
Suppose your date volunteers his or her credit score before you get the chance to. What if it’s embarrassingly superior to yours? Do you quickly change the subject and hope it never comes up again, or be honest and upfront about your relative lack of financial acumen?

Best advice: If you think your low credit score might be a deal breaker, check your credit report and score for free at CreditCards.com and look for potential areas of improvement. Have you ever missed a payment? Are you using too much of your available credit? Do you apply for new cards as often as you meet new people on Tinder? Any of these habits could depress your credit score and, if Discover’s survey is to be believed, dampen your dating prospects.

When you meet someone new, remember to be yourself, ask polite questions, make just the right amount of eye contact and don’t drink too much. To get your credit score date-ready, make your payments on time, use a minimal amount of credit, keep new card applications to a minimum and monitor your credit report for errors.

And don’t take out a big loan to buy a flashy car. No one’s interested.

See related: Zero to 750: What’s the fastest route to a high credit score? It’s not you, it’s your credit score, The key to lasting love? Your credit score.

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