Being good with money will get you more dates than being hot, survey says

mikkelwilliam | Getty Images

Maybe money can't buy happiness, but it can bring you love.

That's according to joint research by Discover and Match Media Group. The survey polled 2,000 U.S. adults who either had an active dating platform or met their partner online.

The results: 58 percent of online daters say a good credit score in a potential partner is more attractive than driving a nice car. Fifty percent say good credit is more important than an impressive job title. And 40 percent said they favor good credit over physical fitness.

That's because credit "scores don't lie," says Kate Manfred, vice president of brand communications and insights at Discover.

"They tell the truth about who you are as a person and how responsible you are, which is incredibly correlated with how much of a good companion you'll be in life," she says.

"We know credit score is an important measure of financial responsibility, and we had a core hypothesis … that it would translate into the dating realm. It turns out it did."

Westend61 | Getty Images

Plus, "driving a nice car doesn't say whether you are paying for it, or what you've been doing in it or where you're taking people in the car," Helen Fisher, Ph.D., chief scientific adviser at, tells CNBC Make It . A nice car, a job title and physical fitness say "who you are today," whereas "a credit score says who you were yesterday, who you were 10 years ago … and who you're likely to be tomorrow."

That type of financial responsibility is a "very or extremely important" quality when looking for a partner, according to 69 percent of the survey respondents. Financial responsibility rates higher than sense of humor, attractiveness, ambition, courage and modesty.

When asked to list characteristics of someone with a good credit score, 73 percent of respondents said "responsible," 40 percent said "trustworthy" and 38 percent said "smart."

Fisher, a biological anthropologist, explains that, for these reasons, showing someone your credit score can trigger feelings of attachment.

"I think we've evolved three distinctly different brain systems for mating and reproduction. Sex drive being one, feelings of intense romantic love being the second, and feelings of deep attachment being the third.

"I would guess that understanding someone's credit score could really up your feelings of attachment because it elicits feelings of admiration and respect. And that is, by the way, the top thing that singles are looking for, somebody who respects them."

Pearleye | E+ | Getty Images

For millennials, Manfred adds, knowledge is power.

"Regardless of your credit score, one of the keys to improving or maintaining your credit health is simply knowing your score and what the factors are that go into the score," she says. "If you know what your credit score is, you can either maintain or improve it."

And improving your credit might help you out when it comes to dating in the future.

"It might not be immediate," says Fisher. But, at some point, "I can see people flipping out their cellphone and saying, 'Hey, this is my credit score. What's yours?'"

Like this story? Like CNBC Make It on Facebook

Don't miss: