TODAY | January 29, 2013
>>> credit scores are used in lots of cases, when you buy a house, a car and even by employers.
>> romance, increasingly singles are using credit scores to size up their dates. that's right, that little number long used by banks has now made its way on to the social scene. chicago flight attendant jessica la shawn was flying high recently, enjoying a great first date.
>> i was extremely excited about this guy.
>> reporter: but she quickly came down to earth when her potential mr. right asked for her credit score . she didn't know it, which he took as a sign of financial irresponsibility.
>> he took me home. he really didn't want to have anything more to do with me. he was very disappointed and he did not hide that.
>> reporter: call it a sign of these financial times . more and more, cupid is looking at credit . an increasing number of people seem to be directly asking dates about their credit score , using it as a way to evaluate a possible future together with shared finances.
>> credit scores really matter. in fact, they're the only grade that matters after you leave the schooling system. you're going to have to spend more money to borrow. it could cost you a lot of money.
>> reporter: meet 27-year-old john mcdaniel . credit score , 720. he says he always asks about the magic number on the first or second date and his perfect 10 better be above 600.
>> credit score , fiscally responsible, how can you move on with having house, kids, anything at that point?
>> reporter: it's a trend even showing up online with sites like creditscoredating.com and datemycreditscore.com, to the financially finicky. most list their credit score right upfront.
>> our membership is increasing dramatically because people are becoming more aware for the need for financial responsibility in relationships.
>> reporter: that's certainly the case with jessica la shawn.
>> i learned to take advantage of opportunities that allow you to review your credit score and how to actually become financially responsible.
>> reporter: a financial lesson from a love lost. what may be more important than credit score is finding a partner you're financially compatible with. partners who fight about money are 30% more likely to get divorced. tamron?
>> mara, thank you. jean chatzky is "today's" financial editor. hi, jean.
>> we've gone from asking what's your sign to what's your score?
>> it is really, really scary. it is important. i don't know that i would go as far as to ask on the first or second date. before you get married you want to know what do you earn, what do you own and what do you owe?
>> for people curious about their credit score , how do you get it?
>> you're entitled to three free copies of your credit report a year, through annual credit report .com, one from each of the credit bureaus . if you go to credit karma.com you can pull a copy of your credit score and they'll monitor your credit score for free.
>> you can get it for free. that's a good thing.
>> that's a good thing.
>> it seems obvious to tell people to pay your bills on time. put that into context. how important is it to make sure you don't have late fees -- not le late fees but --
>> a great score is anything over 760 on the fico scale. this is the one that learneds look at. late payments are really bad news. they represent about 30% of your score. set up automatic payments so you're never late.
>> what's credit utilization?
>> that's credit available to you that you're actually using. on your credit cards you only want to be using 10% to 30%. you want to see your score go up, you have to pay down your credit card debt .
>> makes sense. applying for new credit cards , you go to any store they'll offer them to you.
>> just say no. you also don't want to close cards that you have.
>> it goes back to the credit utilization. if you close cards you reduce the amount of credit you have outstanding. that takes your credit score down. and credit utilization represents about a third of your score as well.
>> useful information. i don't know about finding love with it. but when you look at the numbers of people who divorce because of finances, it's part of the conversation.
>> and the thing that they fight about most is debt.
>> all right, jean. good to see you.
>> you, too.