ATLANTA, April 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to credit behavior and financial literacy, almost all U.S.-based consumers understand paying your bills on time impacts creditworthiness, according to a recent survey conducted by Equifax. To commemorate Financial Literacy Month, Equifax commissioned a blind survey of American consumers to determine their knowledge of myriad personal finance topics, especially as these topics relate to credit.
Respondents to the online survey included a total of 1,008 consumers from across the country.
Throughout the year, Equifax works to educate consumers about the importance of credit and the factors that affect a consumer's creditworthiness. The Equifax Finance Blog features articles focused on personal finance and the issues consumers may face when it comes to credit, identity theft, retirement, insurance, tax, and real estate. Additionally, Equifax offers key educational information on resource pages covering credit scores, credit reports, credit monitoring, and identity theft.
"Reviewing your credit report regularly is a great first step when it comes to improving financial literacy," said Diane Moogalian, vice president of operations for Equifax Personal Information Solutions. "Getting into this healthy financial habit may provide consumers with insight into factors that may need to be addressed and could possibly help one address identity theft."
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) provides consumers with access to free copies of their credit reports every 12 months from each credit reporting company at www.annualcreditreport.com. Most survey respondents (81 percent) were aware that they are able to check these credit reports for free.
Respondents of the survey also indicated they believe credit has impacted their ability to:
Obtain an interest rate for a new loan (19 percent)
Rent an apartment (7 percent)
Turn on utilities in a new apartment or home (5 percent)
Get hired at a new job (4 percent)
When it comes to establishing responsible behavior toward credit, here are some habits to consider:
Get current and stay current; pay off debt vs. transferring the balance to another account;
Re-establish your credit history if you have had problems. Opening new accounts responsibly and paying them off on time may help in the long term;
Apply for and open new credit accounts only as needed and only if you understand how doing so may impact your unique financial situation;
Keep balances low on credit cards and other revolving credit.
"Consumers have more power than they realize when it comes to their credit," said Moogalian. "The good news is most consumers understand the key factors that impact their creditworthiness, including the critical importance action of paying bills on time."
Equifax powers the financial future of individuals and organizations around the world. Using the combined strength of unique trusted data, technology and innovative analytics, Equifax has grown from a consumer credit company into a leading provider of insights and knowledge that helps its customers make informed decisions. The company organizes, assimilates and analyzes data on more than 800 million consumers and more than 88 million businesses worldwide, and its databases include employee data contributed from more than 5,000 employers.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., Equifax operates or has investments in 21 countries in North America, Central and South America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. It is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index, and its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. Equifax employs approximately 9,200 employees worldwide.
Some noteworthy achievements for the company include: Ranked 13 on the American Banker FinTech Forward list (2015); named a Top Technology Provider on the FinTech 100 list (2004-2015); named an InformationWeek Elite 100 Winner (2014-2015); named a Top Workplace by Atlanta Journal Constitution (2013-2015); named one of Fortune's World's Most Admired Companies (2011-2015); named one of Forbes' World's 100 Most Innovative Companies (2015). For more information, visit www.equifax.com.