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Does Getting Married Affect Your Credit Score?

Updated: Jan 4

Marriage and Credit Quiz (Embedded)


Send this post with the embedded quiz below to your friends to see if they can do any better!


The Ten Most Common Credit and Marriage Myths


There are plenty of misconceptions around credit and marriage. If you took the preceding quiz, you'll recognize the myths below.


This post will address these ten most common myths around credit and marriage:

  • True or False: Your credit reports merge with your spouse’s when you get married.

  • True or False: Getting married automatically makes all your accounts joint accounts.

  • True or False: My spouse’s previous bankruptcy won’t impact my credit reports or credit scores if we keep our finances separate.

  • True or False: Changing my name won’t affect my credit scores and credit history.

  • True or False: Getting married impacts credit scores.

  • True or False: My poor credit won’t impact my spouse’s credit reports and credit scores.

  • True or False: Now that we’re married, we have to apply for everything together.

  • True or False: My spouse and I are still each entitled to one free copy of our individual credit reports annually from each of the three major credit bureaus.

  • True or False: If I file a dispute over information about a joint account I have with my spouse I think is inaccurate or incomplete on my credit report, the information is automatically disputed on my spouse’s credit report.

  • True or False: This is my second marriage. Having my maiden name and both my married names on my credit reports may impact my credit scores.


True or False?


True or False: Your credit reports merge with your spouse’s when you get married.

False


Your credit reports and credit histories remain separate when you say "I do" because they are linked to your personal information, which typically includes your Social Security number. It will, however, appear on both of your credit reports if you open a joint account together or add each other as authorized users to a credit card account.


 

True or False?


True or False: Getting married automatically makes all your accounts joint accounts.

False


Your individual accounts won't merge unless you add your spouse as an authorized user on your credit card account, or unless you open a joint credit card account with your spouse.


 

True or False?


True or False: My spouse’s previous bankruptcy won’t impact my credit reports or credit scores if we keep our finances separate.

True


Your credit histories always remain separate, unless you have a joint account or an account where one person is an authorized user.


While your spouse's bankruptcy remains on his or her credit report, it may be difficult for your spouse to receive credit. This timeframe varies from seven to ten years, depending on the bankruptcy.


 

True or False?


True or False: Changing my name won’t affect my credit scores and credit history.

True


Your credit reports will be updated if you change your name after marriage, but your credit history and credit scores will remain the same. 


When the Social Security Administration and creditors are notified of your name change, the new information will be reported to Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, so there is no need to contact them directly.


 

True or False?


True or False: Getting married impacts credit scores.

False


Credit scores are not impacted when you get married.


Helpful Resource



 

True or False?


True or False: My poor credit won’t impact my spouse’s credit reports and credit scores.

True


Good news: If one partner has credit problems, it won't affect the other partner. 


However, if you open a joint account (which is reported to any of the three major credit bureaus), that information will appear on both of your credit reports. When you apply jointly for financing for a large purchase, such as a home or a car, lenders and creditors usually check both spouses' credit reports.


A lender may use the lowest middle credit score between both of you. That means they compare your middle score to your spouse's and use the lower score.  


Helpful Resource



 

True or False?


True or False: Now that we’re married, we have to apply for everything together.

False


There is no requirement for married couples to apply for credit jointly. If one partner has a higher credit score, applying individually for an account - not jointly - may be the better option.


With that said, couples often need both incomes to qualify for a loan, which could be a problem if one of the co-borrowers has a low credit score.


Helpful Resource



 

True or False?


True or False: My spouse and I are still each entitled to one free copy of our individual credit reports annually from each of the three major credit bureaus.

True


Every 12 months, you and your spouse are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).


Helpful Resource


Go to annualcreditreport.com to obtain your free credit report.


 

True or False?

True or False:  If I file a dispute over information about a joint account I have with my spouse I think is inaccurate or incomplete on my credit report, the information is automatically disputed on my spouse’s credit report.

False


A dispute filed with one of the three major credit bureaus over information on your credit report won't trigger a dispute on your spouse's behalf. Your spouse must file their own dispute.


Helpful Resource


To correct an error on your credit report, you need to contact all three credit reporting companies and the company that provided the information.


Click here for the step by step guide to dispute an error on your credit report.


 

True or False?


True or False: This is my second marriage. Having my maiden name and both my married names on my credit reports may impact my credit scores.

False


Your name does not affect your credit score.


Helpful Resource


Click here to read the Federal Trade Commission comprehensive guide to free credit reports.


 

Back to the original question posed for the article.


No. Getting married does not affect your credit score.


  • Getting married and changing your name won't affect your credit reports, credit history or credit scores

  • One spouse's poor credit won't impact the other spouse -- unless you jointly apply for a loan or open a joint account

  • Married couples do not have to apply for credit together

It's always smart to know your partner's approach to credit, saving money, setting financial goals, and making budgets if you merge finances. It's a necessary step toward a united approach to handling money in the future.


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