Exposure to financial literacy programs can have a positive impact on your credit score, according to data obtained from a focus group by the San Diego-based nonprofit credit counseling agency, DebtWave Credit Counseling, Inc.
The focus group consisted of 116 clients located in 46 states, plus Washington, D.C. These individuals participated in a one-on-one counseling session with a certified credit counselor, which consisted of reviewing their credit report, receiving budgeting advice, and enrolling in a debt management program.
After enrolling in DebtWave’s debt management program, these participants received further education by completing the Smart With Your Money (SWYM) Financial Education Program. On their one year anniversary of enrolling into the program, their credit score was reviewed and compared to their original score. This process was repeated on their second anniversary.
Financial Literacy Key in Raising Credit Scores
Of the 116 participants, 79 saw an increase in their FICO score after one year of completing the SWYM education workbook, with the average FICO score for those participants increasing from 625 to 638.
Of the 29 participants that reached two years on the debt management program, 25 saw an increase in their FICO score, which increased on average from 612 to 686.
“The data shows us time and time again that financial literacy is instrumental in ensuring an individual’s financial success in the future,” said Mike Marsden, DebtWave’s Director of Operations. “By providing a resource for individuals to learn the basics of credit reporting, the importance of paying off debt, and how to create a budget, it is our goal to equip as many people as possible with the capability to manage their own money and to make more informed money decisions going forward.”
“What inspires us to do what we do is we know how important people’s financial health is to their psychology, to their well-being, and to where we think we as a society could be if we all understood and tackled our finances in a way that was responsible,” said Chase Peckham, Outreach Director for DebtWave’s education arm, the San Diego Financial Literacy Center.
Participation in DebtWave’s SWYM program is free to the public. For more information or to participate in the program, visit debtwave.org or call 888-686-4040.