Does Knowing Your FICO Score Change Financial Behavior? Evidence from a Field Experiment with Student Loan Borrowers

Tatiana Homonoff, Rourke O'Brien, and Abigail Sussman

This paper evaluates the impact of providing access to an individual's FICO® Score on financial behavior. We conduct a field experiment with over 400,000 Sallie Mae student loan borrowers in which we randomize provision of information on the availability of the score. Using administrative credit report data, we find that borrowers in the treatment group are less likely to have any payments past due, more likely to have at least one revolving credit account, and have higher FICO Scores after one year. Survey data find treatment group members were more likely to accurately report their own FICO Score; specifically, they were less likely to overestimate their score. These effects are particularly encouraging given the limited success of traditional higher cost financial education interventions.

Wagner Faculty