Your credit score is a critical component of your financial health. Your marital status is not listed on your credit report, and it doesn’t affect your credit score. You and your spouse each have your own credit report. However, if you are thinking about sharing financial responsibilities, that could have an impact on your credit score.
What’s in Your Credit Report
Your credit report contains information that identifies you and helps to determine your credit risk, not your marital status. Identifying information, such as your name, address, Social Security number, date of birth and employment information, doesn’t have any impact on your credit score. Credit activity — the stuff that actually affects your score — includes information about the status of your credit cards, loans and mortgages; credit inquiries; and certain public records, like records of bankruptcies or foreclosures.
If you get married, chances are you’re going to have at least a few joint accounts. These accounts show up on both of your credit reports, even though they may be primarily used by only one of you. For example, say your spouse adds you as a joint account holder on a credit card he or she uses. Even if you never use the card, the account gets added to your credit report and can affect your credit score. If she pays it on time every month, your score will reflect the positive payment history.
When you’re married and you want to apply for a loan together, you may be asked to include your spouse’s credit usage as well as your own as part of the application process. If one of you has a great score but the other doesn’t, that could cause you to be denied for the loan; alternatively, you might be approved but have to pay a higher interest rate, or you might be approved for a smaller amount than you had hoped for. Before you apply for credit, checking your credit reports will help you see where you stand financially.
If you change your name after you get married, you may notice that your identifying information on your credit report includes your old name as well as your current name. While this might tip off a lender that you got married, it has no impact on your score. The information is included to ensure that all your accounts are properly reported on your credit report. For example, if you forget to change your name on your student loans to your married name, your credit report will still include them.
About the Author
Mark Kennan is a freelance writer specializing in finance-related topics. He has worked as a sports editor and published articles on a number of online outlets.
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
Published by permission from ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. © 2014 ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. All rights reserved.