Are Credit Scores and Personality Linked?

New research on the utilization of credit reports indicates that there is no correlations between poor credit scores and bad behavior on the job.

The most commonly used credit score is the FICO score. Scores are not permanent and they do not remain in databases; they are fluid and changing. Credit scores are not shared with third parties - including potential employers - by any of the credit reporting agencies.

In a 2010 poll by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), 60% of employers conducted credit checks to obtain a credit report (not a score). However, those assumptions are disputed in an upcoming study in the Journal of Applied Psychology which shows there is absolutely no connection between credit scores and theft.

"With regards to personality and credit - it makes sense that conscientiousness is related to good credit, but what was really interesting was that agreeableness was negatively related to your credit score," said Jeremy Bernerth, PhD, assistant to the professor at Louisiana State University.

"That suggests easygoing individuals actually have worse credit scores than disagreeable and rude individuals," he said. Such congenial people might get themselves in trouble by co-signing loans for friends or family or taking out additional credit cards at the suggestion of a store clerk.

"It was telling that poor credit scores were not correlated to theft and other deviant types of work behaviors," said Bernerth.

"Most companies attempt to justify the use of credit scores because they think such employees will end up stealing, but our research suggests that might not be the case."

The study does not look at the credit score, rather the summary of the credit report and indicates it has no predictive value on whether that employee would steal from the employer.