Just a fifth of American workers appreciate that having a bad credit score on your financial record is not just a barrier to getting another loan, it may also stop you from getting a job in the future.
A survey released by Visa USA has found that just 20 per cent of Americans know it was legal for employers to refuse to hire job applicants with low credit scores.
And more than half mistakenly believe it is illegal for prospective employers to use credit scores as a hiring criteria.
Worryingly, it also found that 42 per cent of those aged 18 or over have never even checked their credit score and therefore cannot know if they have a bad or good record, despite its potential impact on their future.
Men were significantly less likely to check their credit score, as were people aged more than 55 years old, Visa USA reported.
"A bad credit score can send an otherwise well qualified job applicant straight to the unemployment line," warned Jason Alderman, director of financial education for Visa USA.
Many employers have made checking a credit score a mandatory part of the job application process, much as drug testing and criminal background checks are now common requirements for jobs in many industries.
Among other findings, the Visa poll of more than 1,000 adults found more women (59 per cent) had checked their credit score than men (51 per cent).
Just over a fifth of both genders said they checked their credit score once a year, with 18 per cent checking their score two or more times each year.