Millennials are doing one really smart thing for their finances—more than any other generation


Not every age group is as diligent about their fiscal future

For a generation that so far has been more reluctant to use credit cards, millennials sure do check their credit scores a lot.

Slightly more millennials than older generations have checked their credit score multiple times in the last year, according to a new survey from DiscoverDFS, +2.07% Some 70% of millennials said they checked their credit score more than once in the past year, compared to 67% of Generation X and 61% of baby boomers, Discover found.

Millennials were also the most likely to say they’re taking steps to improve their scores. Some 83% said they were, compared to 66% of those in Generation X and 34% of baby boomers. The company commissioned the survey in June, and asked more than 2,000 U.S. adults about their credit scores.

Those who check more often may be better off: A sudden dip in one’s score can indicate identity fraud, and it’s helpful to detect that quickly. Also, improving one’s score can pay off: Those with higher scores are able to secure better rates on loans, saving them thousands.

Previous surveys have said fewer consumers are checking their scores, but that they are getting better at it. More than half (57%) of people have checked their score once in the last year, up from 49% in 2014, according to a June survey from the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America and the credit-scoring company VantageScore Solutions.

Why are millennials so into their credit scores? More young people are applying for car loans or mortgages for the first time, so they need to be hyper-aware of their credit scores and how much having a bad score could cost them, said Jeff Bielski, the vice president of marketing at Discover. “It’s much easier than it ever has been for consumers to check their score,” he said.

Discover offers a free tool for people to check their scores. It doesn’t affect one’s score to check. Several other companies offer their own version of a free score. Credit Karma was one of the first to do so, starting in 2007. AmazonAMZN, -0.60% partnered with the credit-scoring company ExperianEXPN, +0.27% in November to let consumers know their scores, but that service costs $25 per month.

A credit report contains information like the number of times one’s credit report has been pulled, and the lines of credit one has open, in addition to the score itself. Consumers who want a free version can get one from each bureau — Experian, Equifax EFX, +1.57%   and TransUnion TRU, +0.19% — once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com.

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