"What's Your Number?" Get a Credit Score By The Third Date
Written by: Kristy Welsh
Last Updated: September 25, 2017
There is nothing wrong with wanting to know how a potential partner handles their finances. And there's nothing wrong with asking about it during the dating phase. But is it really okay to ask for a credit score on the first date? Many people are doing just that these days. There's even an online dating site — CreditScoreDating.com — that incorporates credit scores into compatibility results.
With 30 percent of women and 20 percent of men saying they will not marry someone who has bad credit, it's definitely best to get to the credit score sooner than later. But if you're planning to ask about their credit score, do yourself (and your date) a favor and give yourself until the third date.
First Date: Avoid the Ask
Let's face it. First dates are a dime a dozen. Whether you met online, a chance encounter, at work, or through a friend, you never know what the chemistry and communication between you will really be like until you're in "date mode." Why muddy the already murky waters with any extra pressure to perform?
The fact is, there are plenty of other reasons to weed out a first date mate besides their credit score. Fortunately, these are qualities you can assess through observation alone, and they need your full attention.
How's your chemistry? Your conversation? Do they make you laugh? Do you have interests in common? Would you look forward to spending time with this person again?
Of course, these aren't questions you need answered on the date itself. They're things to reflect on after the fact when you're not face-to-face trying to like them, but back on your own considering him or her from an objective, level-headed perspective.
In other words, you may not know whether you even want a second date until the first one is over, making the credit score ask on the first date most-assuredly premature and, in turn, unnecessarily uncomfortable.
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Second Date: Be Open To It
You've already broken the ice and found yourselves on at least one of the same pages — you like each other enough to go on a second date. Granted, this is still a discovery period, but it does imply potential interest in pursuing other dates down the line. After all, the first date went well, and hopes are high the second date will go even better.
What you've reached at this point is a level of comfort that may include room for an exchange of your credit scores. But don't force it, and don't count on it. Instead, try focusing on things that should help give you a good idea of their financial life in general.
Do they rent or own their home?
If they're renting that will tell you less about their finances than if they own. It's possible they rent because they don't have the credit to get a home loan, but they also may have stellar credit and just not be interested in owning a home right now. On the other hand, if they own their home, it's probably safe to assume their credit is good.
Do they drive a brand new car or an old clunker?
This one should be considered within the context of other financial clues. Driving a brand new car probably means they have good credit, but it could also mean they live way above their means. You should know by now what they do for a living. Do the two add up? As for the old clunker, plenty of people with great credit drive their cars until they just won't drive anymore, which could be a sign of a saver.
Does it seem like they're spending money in a manner meant to impress you?
There's nothing wrong with a date spending money on you. In fact, the nicer the places you go, the more likely their credit is good. But as with the brand new car, it's always possible they're spending (i.e., charging) beyond their means. You probably have no real way of knowing this yet, but when a date goes out of their way to show off how much they can spend, it could be a sign of spending habits that would mean trouble down the line. Again, it may be helpful to consider this within the context of what they do for a living.
Third Date: Bite the Bullet
If a bad credit score is a deal-breaker in your book, get it out of the way on the third date. By now you know mutual interest is high. To move to a fourth date is to move into pre-relationship territory. So before you let it get that far, cut to the chase.
There is no one right way to ask your date their credit score, but here's one way to do it, which you can edit according to whatever feels appropriate and comfortable.
Somewhere in the middle of your third date, say something like, "I've been having so much fun with you and am really excited about getting to know you better. One thing that's really important to me is financial compatibility, so I was wondering if we could talk about that for a little bit." Then leave room for your date to talk, as they will hopefully share a similar interest. The conversation will likely unfold pretty naturally. If they don't bring up their credit score first, share yours and they likely will too. If not, ask.
Note, if at any point in the conversation about finances your date becomes defensive or aggressive, and unwilling to talk about it, let it go. Whether they have shady finances they'd rather not share, or they simply aren't comfortable discussing finances at this point, you're both best-served continuing your search for someone with more similar sensibilities.