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College Students Practice Responsible Credit Behavior — Wary of Credit Reports

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Nearly 70% of college students have one or more credit cards, and a slightly higher percentage pay off their own balances in full each month. 

According to a 2016 Equifax survey many college students are practicing responsible credit behavior, they are also less likely to take advantage of free credit reports.

The survey found that fewer than half (43% of respondents had actually checked their credit scores, while 62% of respondents indicated they knew they could receive a free copy of their credit reports.

The survey found that the majority of respondents who had credit cards actively use them for a variety of purchases. In fact, only 16% of respondents said they relegate credit card usage to emergencies only. The good news is Generation Z is not racking up unpaid credit card debt at high rates: 72% of the survey respondents said they paid off their credit card balances each month, and 18% responded their parents paid off their balances each month.

The majority of survey respondents (59%) who do not pay off credit card balances each month, plan to do so within a year.

Simultaneously, survey respondents were somewhat informed about the factors that may impact their creditworthiness. When selecting factors that may impact credit scores, survey respondents accurately selected:

• Paying bills on time (73 %)

• Amount owed on credit cards/loans (66%)

• Types of credit cards/loans (59%)

• Length of credit history (55%)

• Opening a credit account (51%)

When selecting factors that may impact credit scores, students inaccurately selected:

• Being denied credit (40%)

• Interest rate of credit cards/loans (37%)

• Personally checking your credit report (22%)

• Participation in credit counselling (14%)

• Changes in hourly pay or salary (11%)

• Driving record (10%)

• Gender (2 %)

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