John Oliver On Why Your Credit Score Is Probably BS

Those three little numbers are a wildly infallible proxy for credit-worthiness.

John Oliver On Why Your Credit Score Is Probably BS

John Oliver has finally said what we’re all secretly thinking: Credit reports are a sham.


On Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight, the comedian outlined a few glaring errors in the way we calculate and use credit reports. For example, 47% of employers use those three numbers in hiring decisions, despite there being no statistical evidence of a correlation between a healthy credit score and healthy workplace habits.

“Look at me, my credit score is probably fine,” Oliver says. “But I routinely waste HBO’s money on stupid costumes, pyrotechnic displays, and checkered dress shirts. I clearly cannot manage this company’s money well.”

Oliver also took credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to task about the high number of errors in people’s scores.

“One in four (credit reports) had an error and one in 20 were seriously wrong,” Oliver says. Some of these errors include things like, um, being mistaken for a terrorist or sex offender, or being accidentally deemed dead.

“If every 20th Frosty that Wendy’s sold turned out to be a cup of warm goat semen,” he says, “we would want some accountability and we would want it fast.” Given that credit scores can determine employment or housing, the stakes are–or should be–that much higher.

Watch the whole video below:

About the author

P. Claire Dodson is an editorial assistant at Fast Company. Follow her on Twitter: @Claire_ifying.