Pelican team member writing Credit vs. Character on paper with a Pelican pen

Credit vs Character: The Hidden Truth in Your Credit Report

For more than 40 years, most financial institutions have relied on the Fair Isaac Corporation’s credit scoring system, most commonly known as FICO, to evaluate borrowers’ creditworthiness. Credit unions and banks have even used credit scores and reports to assist them in determining whether or not to hire a potential employee.

Now, over 70% of all companies use credit reports as a factor in hiring employees. Insurance companies, utility providers, cell phone companies and landlords are also using credit reports to assess deposits and premium rates.

So, what does this diverse group have in common? What does the credit report actually reflect? Could creditworthiness and trustworthiness be one in the same?

Despite the industry, one of a business’ primary goals is to be successful. They realize their company’s success is intertwined with the individuals they employ as well as the people they serve.

The expectation is that their employees, members, customers and/or clients possess good character. Trustworthiness, integrity, commitment, consistency and discipline are character traits that can actually be found in our credit reports.

A credit report is like a record of our behavior with our personal finances. The report displays how frequently we borrow money, the kind of financial institutions we do business with and how responsible we are with the commitments we make. Most businesses agree that the credit history is a better look at someone’s character than a personal reference.

From my experience as a credit counselor, I regularly hear phrases like, “repair my credit,” “clear up my credit,” or “get my credit back on track.” Many members use these phrases when I ask why they scheduled a credit check-up with me.

These phrases show that many understand that what’s in their credit report is important. Members also mention that they have a major purchase goal like a vehicle or a house. What’s similar in these instances is that most people think that good credit is only for specific life events and not as a lifestyle.

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Credit impacts every aspect of our lives. It may determine where we work, where we live, how much we pay for insurance, and the interest rate we pay on our loans and credit cards. It even brings our trustworthiness into question, which can affect our self-esteem.

When we perceive ourselves to be responsible adults, but we are denied a loan or a job due to our credit report, our self-esteem is negatively impacted. So is trustworthiness and creditworthiness one in the same? The answer is a resounding YES!

The good news is that the opportunity to give a boost to your financial wellness is available to all Pelican State Credit Union members at no cost. * Through one-on-one credit sessions members are taught how credit works and how to rebuild or restructure their debt. The goal of each counselor is to equip members with the necessary tools to make the sound financial decisions and maintain high credit scores.

* Pelican State CU membership required to take advantage of free credit counseling services. Visit pelicanstatecu.com/join to become a member. You have the right to a free credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com or 877-322-8228, the ONLY authorized source under federal law. Credit counseling is not intended to give you financial advice, but the financial education you need to make informed decisions. Results may vary. Pelican and its employees are not responsible for any claim, suit, action or damage resulting from credit counseling.