Consumers confused about credit score factors

While a consumer's credit report and score are used when they apply for many different types of financing, a recent survey finds that most Americans don't know what it actually includes.

According to a telephone survey by Visa, the majority of people incorrectly thought that a person's job history, assets or interest rates appeared on their credit report. In addition, more than a third thought age was a factor and more than 17 percent thought a person's gender affected their credit.

The report also found that just 42 percent of Americans check their credit on a regular basis.

"Credit scores are the equivalent of our financial grade point average," said Jason Alderman, senior director of global financial education at Visa. "Understanding your credit score is vital so that you can take steps to improve it. Not checking your score at least once a year is like driving with your eyes closed – you are risking a financial collision."

Failing to check their credit means consumers won't have the opportunity to notice any unfair or unsubstantiated marks, which could negatively affect their financial standing.