How Does Getting Married Affect Your Credit Score?

By: Amber Newby  |  May 18, 2015

marriage-blog

When it comes to exchanging vows, you must be willing to accept your partner both in sickness and in health, in dirt and in wealth. Joining lives with someone who will become a lifelong companion often means assuming their debts as well, both emotionally and financially. Every couple has their differences, and if you’ve spent the majority of your lifetime building your credit, you might be wondering how getting married will affect your stellar credit score.

Credit Checks After the “I Dos”

When you get married, virtually nothing will change when it comes to your credit score. You can let out a deep breath and sigh of relief knowing that credit history checks will not reveal your spouse’s credit after you’re married, nor will your spouse’s credit score affect your own after you exchange vows. Separate credit reports will remain in order for you and your spouse even after you sign on the dotted line, and your credit score will neither decrease nor increase as a result of marrying someone with a higher or lower credit score.

Changing Your Name and Your Credit History

If you plan on changing your surname to that of your future husband or wife, don’t expect anything to change on your credit report or credit score, either. Your current information will remain the same, and virtually the only thing that will change on your credit report will be your last name. The theory that changing your name will erase your past history and allow you to start over in terms of building credit is simply untrue, though sometimes a split credit file is created by the credit reporting bureau as a result of a name change. If this occurs, the credit bureau should be contacted to have the files re-merged.

Applying for a Joint Credit Card

If you and your spouse decide you’d like to apply for a joint credit card for the ease of finances after you’ve said your vows, you may encounter some differences. If you and your spouse apply for any type of credit together, whether it’s a joint credit card, a mortgage, or a joint loan, both you and your spouse’s credit history will be checked as a part of the application process.

Therefore, if your spouse has poor credit, you may receive a higher interest rate or less favorable terms as a result. Both spouses will be held at fault—and both credit scores and credit histories will be affected—should there be a default in payments on the loan or credit card. The history of the joint credit card or loan will also be reported on both credit histories.

If you are planning on getting married, it can be useful to discuss how finances will be managed in the future. When it comes to marrying someone with a much lower credit score than you, it could be beneficial to handle future credit cards and financial loans solely on your credit in order to achieve the best interest rates and terms. Having at least one good credit score in the relationship is certainly a benefit, and it certainly won’t be altered just because you’re saying, “I do.”

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