Many Hongkongers unaware of credit score and its effects on their financial health, university survey finds

But co-organiser of poll hopes it will educate people in finding out their score

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 8:32am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 8:32am

A survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong and a peer-to-peer crowdfunding lender found that Hongkongers were mostly oblivious of their credit score. An overwhelming majority did not know their credit score and did not care to find out.

The survey, carried out by the university’s Public Opinion Programme and MoneySQ, found that 89 per cent of Hongkongers were unaware of their credit score.

While 85 per cent of interviewees said that knowing your credit score was important, 89 per cent of those who said they did not know their credit score had no intention of finding out, even after being told by the interviewer how to check their credit score.

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A poor credit score can affect a person’s ability to receive a loan, mortgage or credit card.

“Once you know your credit score, you will work to improve it,” Steven Lee Kun-tai, founder of lender MoneySQ, said on why his company initiated the survey.

“You will be more responsible towards loans you receive”, whether in the form of bank loans, mortgages or credit cards, he added.

When respondents were asked whether they knew what a credit score was, 42 per cent said they did not.

Some interviewees did not realise that having a credit card or loan generates a credit score. According to Lee, people may think that by not having a credit card, their credit score will not be affected. However, if they apply for a loan or mortgage in the future, it could make it difficult to get approval if there is no credit history.

The survey also found that men applied for loans more than women. But the reasons for the loans differed: Men tended to apply for loans for investment while women requested loans to pay off other debts.

Lee believed that education on credit score was important and gave tips on how to maintain a good credit score, including paying bills on time, keeping your credit card balance below the credit limit, and avoid applying for too many loans or credit cards.

People can find out their credit score through TransUnion for a fee or through financial institutions. Some provide the service for free if you are a member or customer.