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What Do Women Want? A Good Credit Score Is a Start

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- More and more, women measure the attractiveness in a man by his credit score .

That's the scoop from a survey taken by Freecreditscore.com, the Costa Mesa, Calif., consumer credit ratings site.

"Our survey shows most people consider a partner's ability to manage money before saying 'I do,'" says Ken Chaplin, senior vice president at Freecreditscore.com. "Women are clearly more focused on this than men, but a lot of guys say they are thinking about things like the future co-signing of loans or how one partner's bad credit score may impact the other. It makes sense in this economy that we see increased scrutiny from both men and women; a low credit score is a warning of potential problems down the road, after vows are exchanged."

In the survey, 96% of women say financial stability is a big attraction, as opposed to 87% of women who say physical appearance is a genuine turn-on. Men reported slightly lower numbers in the financial category and higher ones in the "looks" category. In fact, credit scores are "significantly more important to women than to men" by 75% to 57%.

Women see a strong credit score as a huge boost to the long-term potential of a romantic relationship, largely because it takes one big issue off the table -- they know a guy with a strong credit rating isn't a financial risk, and they won't have to worry about him taking big financial risks, not paying bills and hurting his ability to land a mortgage or a car loan over the long haul.

Men care about those issues, too, but they're more inclined to let things slide if they think they're landing a physically attractive romantic partner. Not so with women:

  • 76% worry that a man's credit score could crimp their ability to buy a new home.
  • 59% of women say they're worried about managing a joint credit account with a partner saddled with a low credit score.
  • 56% say they're concerned about having to deal with higher interest rates due to a partner with a low credit score.
  • In the survey, 95% of women say "being financially responsible" and 92% say "paying bills on time" are the top financial attributes in a potential romantic partner. But both men and women say spending beyond one's means and accumulating high debt are the least attractive financial traits of a potential love partner.

The survey says that women are "much more likely" to plug credit health into a dating decision -- about half discuss the issue right away with a guy they're either dating or thinking about dating.