How Marriage Affects Your Credit

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Alayna Okerlund

Written by: Alayna Okerlund | Best Company Editorial Team

Last Updated: August 18th, 2020

Planning for a wedding can be so overwhelming that many brides and grooms never stop to consider how marriage may affect their credit. Once the honeymoon high wears off, however, the new couple should sit down and begin planning for their joint financial goals, including building and maintaining good credit.

Why a Spouse's Credit Score Won't Affect Your Score

A marriage is more than a union of two people; it's also the beginning of shared bank accounts, mortgages, car loans, and even bathroom counter space. One thing you won't have to worry about sharing, however, is your credit score. Just like an individual's social security card and birth certificate, a credit score stays separate and distinct even after marriage, according to brides.com.

One common misconception is that the combination of one spouse's low credit score and the other's high credit score will result in an average score for the couple. Married or not, each person maintains a separate and distinct credit profile. Neither partner's score changes, even if one person changes a last name to match a spouse’s, as reported by theknot.com.

How Credit Scores Do Affect Marriages

Although one person’s credit score won’t have any effect on another person’s credit score, that doesn’t mean that the scores never affect the marriage itself.

According to quickanddirtytips.com, if a married couple wants to take out a loan, like a mortgage or car loan, both credit scores will be considered. If one person has a lower credit score, than it might be harder for the couple to obtain the loan. One possible solution might be for the person with the better credit score to apply for the loan, but this might not always work if his or her income is insufficient to finance the loan independently.

This can also apply when a couple wants to open a joint bank account and have joint credit cards, according to finance.zacks.com. Even though each person still has an individual credit score, more interest might have to be paid for the credit account if one person has a significantly lower credit score.

How to Help Your Spouse's Credit Score

If one person’s credit score is negatively affecting the marriage, there are two common ways to raise the score: being financially smart with credit card use and seeking help from credit repair companies.

Being financially smart with a credit card will take more time and help those who are just establishing credit. Getting aid from credit repair companies is a bit faster and will help those who have major credit report issues.

There are several credit repair companies, and it can be difficult to know which one will work best for you. Read the reviews on bestcompany.com for real customer feedback and helpful information regarding each company.

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