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Does Getting Married Affect My Credit Score?

Sayana Izmailova

Mar 30, 2021 7 min read

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Does Getting Married Affect My Credit Score?
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    Are there wedding bells in your future? If you plan on getting married, you may be wondering whether or not this new status will affect your credit score. 

    The simple answer is no, getting married does not affect your credit score or credit history. In fact, your credit report doesn’t even include your marital status. However, you should still be aware of your own credit history and your spouse’s credit history. If you ever apply for joint credit, both of your histories will be considered and could impact your approval chances.

    Before getting married, it may be a good idea to have a conversation with your partner about your credit histories, your financial goals as a married couple, and whether or not you’re planning on merging any aspects of your finances. 

    Let’s take a look at why getting married is relevant to your credit score and your financial future in more detail.

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    Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Marriage and Credit Scores

    There are many topics and scenarios to cover when it comes to credit scores and getting married, so we’ll tackle them in an FAQ style structure. Here are the most common questions people have about how getting married might affect their credit scores and their ability to get credit: 

    What happens to your credit when you get married? 

    Nothing happens to your credit automatically when you get married. You can continue to keep separate bank accounts and credit accounts, or you may choose to merge some or all of your accounts. 

    Merging finances could mean that you do one or all of the following:

    • Open a joint bank account 

    • Apply for joint credit, such as a credit card or a loan

    • Add your spouse as an authorized user on your existing accounts 

    What you choose to do is entirely up to you — some people prefer to keep their finances separate, while others like the convenience that consolidating finances offers when it comes to keeping records and filing taxes. 

    Do our credit histories and credit reports get merged? 

    There is no such thing as a joint credit score. Your credit information is tied to your Social Insurance Number (SIN), and therefore, remains separate for you and your spouse when you get married. In other words, you each continue to have your own credit histories and separate credit reports.

    That being said, if you and your spouse ever decide to get a joint credit card or apply for a joint loan, this joint account will be reflected on both of your credit reports. Both of you will be held responsible for the incurred debt, and late or missed payments will appear on both of your accounts, regardless of who was supposed to make the payment. Late payments on a joint account can cause your credit score to drop and will affect your ability to receive future credit, whether separately or together.

    Even if you choose to merge your finances and credit accounts, it may be a good idea to keep some credit accounts under your own name or maintain at least one individual credit account. In the event of a divorce, you’ll need to have some evidence of your own ability to manage finances and make payments. This will help you maintain a good credit score, which will be crucial in reaching your personal financial goals after the divorce. The financial side effects of a divorce could impact your own credit score, especially if you have missed payments recorded on joint credit accounts.  

    Does changing my last name affect my credit score? 

    If you’re changing your last name upon marriage, you’ll need to submit an application to the government to update the name associated with your SIN. When this is done, credit bureaus will be notified of the change and your credit reports will automatically be updated. Your credit score and credit history will not be affected in any way. 

    Does my partner’s poor credit affect my credit score? 

    Since your credit scores remain separate after marriage, your spouse’s bad credit will have no impact on your credit score. 

    However, if you’re applying for a loan together, the potential lender will likely review both of your credit histories. This means that if your spouse has a bad credit score between 300 and 574, you may be offered a higher interest rate than you would if you were applying on your own. In the worst case, your application may be denied altogether, even if your own credit score is perfectly satisfactory.

    If you anticipate that this might happen because of your spouse’s poor credit score, applying for credit on your own may be a better option. Of course, this also means that only your income will be considered, so you may qualify for a smaller loan, but it’s certainly better than not getting approved for a loan at all. 

    When we’re married, do I share my spouse’s debt? 

    If your spouse has incurred debt from individual credit accounts before your marriage, you have no responsibility to pay it off. 

    However, both spouses are equally responsible for repaying debts on joint accounts, and payment activity for these accounts will be reflected on both of your credit reports. If your spouse is the one making payments to your joint account, and they miss a payment deadline or miss a payment altogether, this will negatively impact both of your credit histories. It will lower your personal credit scores and affect your ability to borrow in the future, whether independently or together. 

    What can we do to maintain healthy credit in our marriage?

    If you’re getting married or are a newly married couple, have a conversation about your future financial goals. Decide whether or not you want to open a joint credit account. If you decide yes, both spouses need to be completely transparent about how their credit history might affect their ability to get approved for joint credit. 

    If one spouse has a bad credit history, they can be proactive and take steps to improve their credit score before the two of you apply for joint credit. Fixing bad credit will greatly improve your chance of getting approved and receiving a favourable interest rate. 

    If you don’t know your credit scores, you can check your credit score for free with a tool like Borrowell. It’s recommended that you check your scores before you apply for a loan. With Borrowell, you can instantly see your approval chances based on your credit score.

    It’s also recommended that you review your credit reports at least once a year to ensure that you’re in good standing and that there are no mistakes in your credit history. You can download your Equifax credit report for free by signing up for Borrowell. If you do find a mistake in your credit report, there are specific steps you can take to dispute mistakes on your credit report

    Once you’ve both checked and reviewed your credit, you may decide to apply for a joint credit account. If you decide to get a car together, you should both have credit scores of 630 or above to get approved for a car loan. If you’re looking to buy your first home together, be informed of what credit score you should each have to qualify for mortgages. A credit score of 680 or above is needed to get the best mortgage rates in Canada, although there are other options available.

    Once you acquire joint credit, such as a loan for a house or a car, make sure that the spouse responsible for making payments always makes them on time. As mentioned before, late or missed payments on joint accounts will be reflected on both of your credit histories. 

    The Bottom Line

    To summarize, getting married in and of itself does not affect your credit score, and your spouse’s bad credit will have no impact on it either. However, your individual credit histories will be reviewed and will affect your ability to get joint credit together. 

    Once you have joint credit, it’s important to pay it off responsibly, since payment activity will be reflected in both of your credit histories. To ensure good credit in your marriage, be proactive about improving and maintaining your individual credit scores and monitor them on an annual basis. Using Borrowell to check you credit scores can be a fun couples activity!

    Sayana Izmailova
    Sayana Izmailova

    Sayana is a writer, graphic designer, and content marketing specialist. She has worked at a number of nonprofits, and as an entrepreneur she has a keen interest in personal finance and sharing best practices with others. Sayana is also a musician who writes and sings her own songs.

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