If you co-sign with someone on a loan or a credit card, you have a 26 percent chance of damaging your relationship,
If you co-sign with someone on a loan or a credit card, you have a 26 percent chance of damaging your relationship, - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

This just in: No good deed goes unpunished. 

“If you co-sign with someone on a loan or a credit card, you’ve got a 40 percent chance of losing money and a 26 percent chance of damaging your relationship,” said Matt Schultz, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com. It commissioned a survey of 2,003 adults of whom 388 had co-signed a loan. 

The conclusion: Never help anyone ever. 

“Twenty-eight percent experienced a drop in their credit score because the other person paid late or not at all," Schultz said.

That drop in credit score can cost a co-signer for decades, worsening the terms of everything from car loans to mortgages. 

Jill Schlesinger, a CBS News business analyst and certified financial planner, said that perhaps it’s OK to help people out in certain circumstances

“Your child, who has a very good job but doesn’t have enough credit history to purchase, say, an apartment? OK, I can live with that,” she said.  

Co-signers might be wise to take a trust-but-verify approach, demanding to have access to all relevant accounts so they can monitor the finances of the person they’re supporting.

In general, Schlesinger said, “If someone cannot get a loan, usually there’s some reason behind it. If a lender isn’t willing to extend money, why should you?”

Ultimately, don’t offer to help someone get a loan unless you’re willing to pay that loan back yourself.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.