At a Glance
As couples look to tie the knot and engage in joint financials, one question that undoubtedly comes up often is how does marriage affect your credit score? This can be a confusing topic for couples looking to combine their financials, so read on to learn everything you need to know about the relationship between marriage and credit score.
In this article, you’ll learn:
What is credit score?
For those unfamiliar with what a credit score is, it is a number within the range of 300-850, generally, that serves as an indicator of your history with credit. Scores between 670-739 are considered good, with anything above being considered excellent. This score is updated monthly and is impacted by several factors including your history of credit payments, types of credit borrowed, length of credit accounts, credit utilization, and more.
Your credit score will have a direct impact on whether you are approved to make serious purchases in the future that require loans. This can include attempting to purchase a home, vehicle, boat, or simply borrowing money.
Related: What is a Good Credit Score?
Will getting married hurt your credit?
One question most new couples ask is whether their credit will be impacted by getting married. In short, the act of getting married itself has no impact on your credit whatsoever. You and your spouse will have your own credit scores that do not appear on the same report. However, as you continue with married life and your finances become mixed, you may start applying for things together. If one spouse has a substantially worse credit score, the approval decision from a lender can be impacted.
What if your spouse has bad credit?
When you apply jointly for a loan, lenders typically use the lowest credit score between the two parties to evaluate whether they should be approved or not. If your spouse’s credit score is not within the standard range of good, this may lead to a denial of a loan application.
What happens to your credit when you get married?
When looking at how does marriage affect credit score for a couple, it’s important to look at the takeaway factors:
1. You both retain your own scores
After being married, you will still retain your own credit scores and credit reports. Your history with credit will not be mixed just because you got married. However, this means that if one spouse has a bad credit score, they will still need to work to raise it rather than being able to rely on their partners’ higher credit score.
2. You don’t automatically share credit cards
When you get married, credit cards don’t automatically shift to belonging to both partners. You can add your partner as an authorized user to a credit card, which can help improve their credit score, or you can simply add them as a joint user on the account.
3. Any shared credit will affect both your credit scores
Be aware that while you both have your own individual credit scores, any credit that both parties are co-signers on will affect both credit scores. This means that if your partner is responsible for payments on a loan and they forget to make a payment, yet your name is included on the loan too, both credit scores will suffer.
4. Lower scores may affect shared credit applications
As mentioned earlier, if one spouse has a lower credit score and you are attempting to apply for a loan together, such as an auto loan or a mortgage, the lower score can heavily affect the lender’s approval decision.
Will changing name after marriage affect your credit score?
When looking at the impact of credit score for married couples, you may be wondering how a potential name change impacts credit. The short answer is that it doesn’t. Your credit and credit report are not tied solely to your name. If you get married and change your name, your credit score and report will not disappear. However, you do need to let the credit bureaus know that you have changed your name.
Do married couples share debt?
Any debt incurred before the point of marriage is not shared by your spouse. They can certainly assist you if they wish, but they have no financial obligation to help with debt before marriage. Any debt that is taken on jointly during the marriage, however, will be the responsibility of both parties. This means that if your partner is responsible for making payments and they forget, you are held equally responsible.
How can you raise credit score with your spouse?
If you’ve been denied loans due to your partner’s lower credit score, it can be a frustrating experience. Rest assured knowing there are ways you can work together to raise the lower score. Consider adding your spouse as an authorized user on your credit card. By doing so, future on-time payments will benefit their credit score as well as your own.
Yes, if you add your spouse as an authorized user to your credit card it can help raise their credit. This is assuming you continue to make payments on time and in full. You can also consider opening a joint credit card account, but this doesn’t allow your spouse to simply piggyback off your credit as much.
If you apply for debt jointly with your partner, lenders will look at both credit scores. In most cases, they will decide by using the lowest credit score.
Any debt your partner may have accrued prior to marriage will not affect your credit score as it isn’t on your credit report. However, if you take out debt jointly with your partner while married, it can affect your credit score.
While joint financials are common among married couples, there is no such thing as a joint credit score. Credit scores are based on your own individual history with debt. If you take out a loan jointly with your spouse, they are viewed as a co-signer by a lender, rather than your spouse. Every individual’s credit history is specific to their information and debt they have a stake in. Your partner may have debt that you never took out, so it would not make sense for your credit score to factor that debt in.