Pilot study reveals possible link between numeracy and credit scores

63% of people had numeracy test results consistent with their credit score

UK, February 4, 2019: Consumers confident with numbers are more likely to have a better credit score than those that aren’t, initial findings suggest.

Experian teamed up with independent charity National Numeracy (NN), to explore the relationship between numeracy and credit scores.

More than 1,700 Experian customers took part in a pilot piece of research, completing a series of everyday maths questions using the Challenge, NN’s free online assessment, and then submitting their results to be cross-checked against their Experian Credit Score.

For almost two-thirds (63%), their NN score was consistent* with their credit score. Analysis of the results showed that those with a low numeracy score typically had a low credit score, while those with a high level of numeracy tended to have a higher score. National Numeracy and Experian will now work with partner organisations to explore this correlation.

Although many adults have maths qualifications from school or college, around half of all adults only have the everyday maths skills expected of a primary school child. There is growing evidence that this is holding people back individually and also impacting on financial capability and productivity across the UK, with low levels of numeracy estimated to cost the economy £20 billion a year.**

Experian’s Head of Consumer Affairs, James Jones, said: “These initial findings suggest that lacking confidence with everyday maths can have a very real impact on your finances.

“It might not come as a huge surprise that there’s a relationship between numeracy and creditworthiness, but we believe it’s the first time this will be fully analysed in this way.

“Experian is delighted to work with National Numeracy on this project – we are both committed to improving the financial well-being of all UK consumers and plan to research the relationship between credit scores and numeracy further. Numeracy is something you can actually work on and improve, so for some people there is a real opportunity for them to brush up on their number skills, go on to manage their money more successfully, and ultimately be rewarded with a higher credit score.”

NN and Experian have also agreed to work together with new partner organisations to further explore the link between creditworthiness and numeracy, with the ultimate aim of empowering everyone to overcome fears about maths, numbers, and data and to live more informed and successful lives.

To help, NN and Experian have developed a quiz for people to find out more about their numeracy skills.

Go to https://www.experian.co.uk/consumer/help-discover/discover/guides/financial-literacy-game/ to play.

*1,073 people who took part in the research had test scores which closely aligned with their credit score, suggesting a correlation between the two.

**National Numeracy and Pro-Bono Economics research, 2014, www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk/cost-outcomes-associated-low-levels-adult-numeracy-uk-2014

ENDS

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Rob Goodman, PR Manager, UK&I, Experian

Tel: 020 3042 4573 Email: robert.goodman@experian.com

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The National Numeracy Challenge is a free website which anyone can use to check their everyday maths skills and improve their confidence with numbers.   Over 200,000 people have used it so far, and three quarters of those who re-tested their numeracy improved their level. www.nnchallenge.org.uk