How Does Marriage Affect Your Credit?

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Love comes first. Then comes the wedding. Then there is a lot of discussion about how you should manage your finances as a couple. Getting married is a big step in life and a great opportunity to take stock of your financial situation, including your credit cards.

Below, CNBC Select answers some common questions about what happens to your credit when you get married.

Will my credit report be merged with my spouse?

No, your credit report is not merged with your spouse after marriage.

“Credit bureaus don’t have a so-called ‘married credit report’ or anything like that,” said John Ulzheimer, formerly of FICO and Equifax. CNBC Select. Your credit report is unique to you and will remain so.

Will I lose my credit history if I change my last name?

No, changing your last name does not erase your credit history.

“When someone changes their last name, it is automatically added to their credit report after notifying their creditors of the new name. When the creditor updates his records, he reports the new name to [the credit bureaus], “according to Experian website. “Applying for new credit using the new last name will also result in the name being added to the report. “

After officially changing your name, notify your current creditors and be sure to use the new last name on future credit applications. Expect to still see your old last name on your credit report (in addition to your new last name), which is normal.

Will my spouse’s bad credit affect me?

It depends. It is unlikely that your spouse bad credit score will have direct negative effects on your credit score (except in extreme circumstances, such as if they are accumulating debt on your credit cards).

“Because credit reports are stored and maintained at the individual consumer level, your spouse’s bad credit has no influence on your credit reports and your credit scores,” says Ulzheimer.

But their score can affect your chances of approval when you are completing joint credit applications, like a mortgage. Lenders look at the credit scores of all applicants when making their decision.

“If you have good credit and your spouse has bad credit and you apply jointly, it can certainly impact the application. The lender will consider your spouse’s bad credit, which means that your [interest] the rates could be higher, ”explains Ulzheimer.

“The reverse is also true. If you have poor credit but your spouse has good credit and you apply together, the result could be better terms than you would receive on your own. “

Once you open a joint credit card (or other shared financial product, like a car loan), the positive and negative actions you and your spouse take will be reflected on both of your reports. As a general rule, have open conversations about how the two of you handle your money, to avoid negative consequences.

Will I be automatically added to my spouse’s accounts?

Should I apply for a new loan with my spouse?

No, after your marriage, it is not necessary to apply for credit from your spouse, unless you wish.

Ulzheimer advocates keeping your credit as independent as possible, even after you get married. While you might be in a honeymoon phase after the wedding, he points out that a certain percentage of marriages fail and it can be difficult to separate finances during a period of time. divorced.

“You don’t need two applicants to qualify for a credit card. And if you need two incomes to qualify for a car loan, I suggest you buy too many cars,” says Ulzheimer.

Situations where it may make sense to submit a joint application include those that require two incomes to qualify, such as a mortgage.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card, Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card information was independently collected by CNBC and was not reviewed or provided by the card issuer prior to posting.

Editorial note: Any opinions, analysis, criticism or recommendations expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the editorial staff of Select and have not been reviewed, endorsed or otherwise approved by any third party.

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About Nereida Nystrom

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