I’ve always wondered what would happen to my credit when I got married. It’s a common question to have if you plan to share your life with someone and combine all your assets and liabilities.
Your credit is an important factor if you plan on getting a mortgage with your spouse one day or applying for a credit card in the hopes of receiving one with good terms.
There are a lot of myths out there, so it’s time to reveal what really happens to your credit when you get married.
Most of the Myths Aren’t True
You might have heard some myths like your credit reports will merge together when you get married or you’ll have to start rebuilding your credit from scratch but the true is that nothing drastic happens.
Your credit score stays separate from your spouse whether one of you changes your name or not after you get married.
I once heard that your credit score increases when you get married and even that it can drop, but my credit score didn’t really change at all.
If you take out loans or carry a balance on your credit card in order to pay for your wedding expenses, then your credit score could drop right after you get married as a result of the debt increase. Simply tying the knot with your partner won’t really change your credit though.
When It Comes to Buying a Home…
The big change that you’ll need to get used to when you get married is factoring in your spouse’s credit score when you make joint decisions like buying a home or opening a bank account or credit card together.
When I got married, we decided to combine bank accounts and the only warning my bank teller gave me was that I might have to transition to a second chance checking account with a monthly fee attached depending on my husband’s credit and bank history (if he had any negative remarks on his account that could raise a flag).
Luckily that wasn’t the case as my husband and I had already discussed our credit scores and taken steps to improve them before we got married.
When it comes to buying a home, if both you and your spouse want to be on the mortgage, the lender will need to run both of your credit reports and they will use the person with the lowest score on the loan application to determine your interest rate.
It sounds pretty unfair, but that’s why you need to have an open conversation with your spouse about their credit.
Discussing Credit Scores With Your Spouse
It’s important to introduce a conversation about money and credit once you get to a certain point in your relationship. By the time you get married, you should already know where your spouse’s credit stands.
When I started dating my husband, I had a higher credit score than him. We started discussing how he could raise his score and I showed him how to use a credit card wisely and we worked together to pay off our debt.
Now, surprisingly enough, our scores are around the same so when we do buy our first home it won’t really matter who’s credit score they use.
The Truth About Credit After Getting Married
Now that we know most of the myths are false, you can start to understand the truth about what happens to you credit after you’re married.
Your credit reports don’t combine, and you don’t have to start from scratch even if you change your last name. You also won’t be automatically added to your spouse’s account unless you do so manually.
The only way your credit can be damaged by your spouse, if you act as cosigner for a finance purchase or sign up for an account together. For example, if you have your spouse listed as an authorized user for one of your credit cards and they don’t pay their bill, it could have a negative impact on your credit.
Overall, your focus should remain on being honest with each other about your credit situation and working together to make sure you both build up and maintain great credit scores.
Did you ever believe any of the common myths about credit after marriage?