How Bad Credit Can Affect Your Dating Life

There are lots of things that people look for in a potential partner, and if you think debt isn’t one of those factors—you’re wrong.

There are lots of ways that you can negatively affect your dating life. Poor hygiene for one, or an insistence on recapping the entirety of Babylon 5 during your first dates. (That’s fifth date material at the earliest.)

And the same goes for your financial life: There are lots of ways to screw it up. You could rack up excessive credit card debt, fail to pay your bills on time, and forego savings, leaving you reliant on short-term bad credit loans (like payday loans and cash advances) when things get tough.

And as it turns out, screwing up your financial life and screwing up your dating life could be pretty closely connected: The kinds of behaviors that lower your credit score can also lower your romantic Q score.


Payday loans are a real mood killer.

A recent report from Nitro Knowledge reveals that most people value financial intelligence and responsibility in a potential partner and find debt to be a deterrent from entering into a relationship.

When asked to rank which types of debt were most concerning, payday loans were ranked the least acceptable form of debt on average.  That’s likely because taking out a payday loan is one of the riskiest options for borrowing money, indicating a lack of financial responsibility.

With exorbitantly high interest rates and short terms, these no credit check loans can easily trap borrowers in a cycle of debt. While they might seem like an easy way to get out of debt fast, one study found that over 80 percent of payday loan borrowers didn’t have enough money to make their payments.

Most people are aware that payday loan debt is a bad sign and are hesitant to inform their partners that they have outstanding payday loans.

“Payday loans, in particular, were a notable concern among respondents,” reads the report. “55 percent were worried about revealing this type of debt to their significant other, an unease that may be explained by another 62 percent who felt they were judged by a partner for having that particular kind of debt.”

The 12 million Americans who use payday loans each year are likely to experience dating stress in addition to the financial burden of a payday loan, the report suggests.

Credit card debt isn’t attractive either. 

Those burdened with credit card debt might also find their finances to be a deal-breaker in a relationship.

45 percent of survey respondents said they’d stay away from dating anyone who only makes minimum credit card payments each month. And credit card debt exceeding 15 percent of a person’s salary was considered unacceptable to survey respondents.

Other types of debt were considered more acceptable in romantic relationships, and at the top of the list was student loan debt. Given that more than 44 million borrowers have outstanding student loan debt, it may not come as a surprise to find out your significant other borrowed money for education.

This type of debt also indicates a person’s dedication to educational and career goals, which is likely why it is perceived as acceptable. Mortgage and auto debt came next on the list of most acceptable forms of debt in a romantic relationship.

Being overly stingy isn’t the answer.

Overall, 70 percent of women and 61 percent of men said they would avoid dating someone who spent irresponsibly.

But survey respondents did indicate that romantic partners can be too frugal—49 percent of women and 28 percent of men said they wouldn’t likely date someone who scrimped and saved unnecessarily. The data highlight the importance of determining financial compatibility with a potential partner.

Talking about money on a first date might be awkward, and that’s likely why 84 percent of respondents said they would wait to discuss personal finance until they were at least dating someone consistently.

But avoiding the topic altogether puts undue stress on a relationship. If you can’t avoid debt altogether, make it a priority to be upfront and honest with your partner about your financial status.

How can you improve your financial behavior?

A good credit score isn’t everything in life. But when it comes to improving your financial outlook, the sorts of behaviors that lead to good credit are a flat-out great place to start.

First, make sure you pay your bills on time. All of them. Your payment history makes up 35 percent of your score, more than any other single factor. If necessary, talk to your creditors about changing your due dates to make sure all your bills don’t come at once, straining your budget.

Next, pay down your excess debt, beginning with high-interest consumer debt from credit cards and personal loans. The Debt Snowball and Debt Avalanche methods are two fantastic strategies for paying off debt. Your amounts owed makes up 30 percent of your overall credit score.

Once your outstanding credit card balances dip below 30 percent of your total credit limits across all your cards, you should see improvement in your score. Moving forward, try to keep your credit utilization ration below 30 percent at all times.

Don’t forget about savings!

And while your credit score doesn’t take savings into account, you should also build up an emergency fund. This fund should be kept in cash or in an easily accessible savings account. Either way, the point is that these funds are easily accessible when a surprise bill or financial shortfall strikes.

Having a great credit score is … great! It lets you borrow better loans at lower rates and forego expensive payday and title loans. But the best way to handle a financial emergency is to already have the necessary funds at your disposal. Even the most reasonable installment loans can’t hold a candle to a well-stocked emergency fund.

If this task sounds daunting, don’t worry. Start with a goal of saving $1,000 and go from there. Not only will this save you from taking out an expensive online loan when things get tough, but it could also end up being the difference in your romantic life!

To learn more about navigating money and relationships, check out these other posts and articles from OppLoans:

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The information contained herein is provided for free and is to be used for educational and informational purposes only. We are not a credit repair organization as defined under federal or state law and we do not provide "credit repair" services or advice or assistance regarding "rebuilding" or "improving" your credit. Articles provided in connection with this blog are general in nature, provided for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for individualized professional advice. We make no representation that we will improve or attempt to improve your credit record, history, or rating through the use of the resources provided through the OppLoans blog.