Personal Finance

Sex appeal: Good credit makes you more attractive

Erik Dreyer | Getty Images

Money may not buy happiness, but it can help find love.

Both men and women alike said that a romantic partner seems more attractive when their income is significantly higher than their debt, according to a survey by LendingTree, an online lending exchange that connects consumers with banks.

Alternatively, the higher the debt compared with income, the less attractive they were, the report said. And the more one makes, the more unattractive they considered someone else's debt to be — particularly for those making $75,000 a year or more, according to the survey of more than 2,000 people conducted in November. Participants rated an image of a fictional date with and without fictional finance information (e.g., debt and income) to determine attractiveness scores.

All age groups understand how important credit is in their lives, as it relates to compatibility.
Heather Battison
vice president at TransUnion

That doesn't mean everyone with debt is doomed romantically. There is some leniency depending on the type of debt. Having more school debt didn't hurt the attractiveness of the person as much as having greater car or credit card debt, LendingTree found.

"People understand that educational loans pay off in the future rather than credit card debt, which insinuates financial irresponsibility," said Nicholas Bradman, a project manager at LendingTree. Considering how common student loans are these days, it's also probably harder to find someone to date who doesn't have student debt, Bradman said.

Your credit can also factor in to how good looking a potential partner can seem. Nearly a quarter of Americans in a separate TransUnion survey said a good credit score makes someone more attractive.

"All age groups understand how important credit is in their lives, as it relates to compatibility," said Heather Battison, a vice president at TransUnion, a credit-scoring company. One partner's bad credit could impact other aspects of your life as a couple when you apply for credit jointly, including what mortgage rate you qualify for together and whether you qualify at all, she said.

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With money at the root of a lot of relationship stress and arguments, it's no surprise that a partner with credit issues can cause a significant strain.

In fact, nearly 70 percent of Americans in relationships said that finances cause more tension with their partner than their sex life does, according to another recent survey from LearnVest, an online provider of financial planning services. Close to 6 in 10 said they would rather be single for the rest of their lives than to marry someone with bad financial habits.

That explains why about 1 in 5 millennials said debt, in general, was a big deal breaker, according to a separate report by online lender SoFi. In fact, debt was the biggest relationship killer after dating a workaholic, (which is apparently worse than having no career prospects at all).

It's also no surprise that most singles on the dating scene would rather keep quiet about their IOUs. To that point, 39 percent of millennials would rather confess about having an STD than admit their outstanding debt to a new partner, SoFi said.