Changing name after marriage

Posted by Kirstie Brown in Personal Finance on 1 April 2016 - Kirstie is a Senior Credit Analyst at checkmyfile.

Many of us have been there – after months of organising your wedding day, you can’t wait to relax and enjoy your honeymoon with your other half. With lots on your to-do list, sharing the news of your recent name change with lenders and your local council can drop right to the bottom of your priorities. But how much can getting married and changing your name affect your Credit Score?

How do I inform people of a name change?

Changing your name on your official documents and with your lenders can be a hassle at worst and inconsistent at best. In order to update documents such as a Passport and a Driving Licence, both HM Passport Office and the DVLA require the original marriage certificate to be sent away. This can also sometimes be the case with lenders when updating your accounts, for example updating your bank account. Other companies are happy with a photocopy of the certificate and some may accept a letter or email. Depending on how many accounts you need to update, this can end up taking quite a bit of time.

It’s also important to remember is to contact your local council to update their records – they will then be able to update your Electoral Roll listing to show in your married name. Once updated and published, this entry can take up to 3 months at most to be updated by the Credit Reference Agencies.

Many people underestimate how big a part your Electoral Roll listing plays in an application for credit – if you are not registered, or are listed under a different name or address from that provided during the application, this can result in your application being unsuccessful.

Will a name change affect my ability to take out credit?

Changing your name will only affect your ability to take out credit if you don’t notify the relevant parties that the change has taken place.

For those that put off contacting their bank, lenders and the local council informing them of a name change, they may be surprised when they are turned down for credit when applying with their married name.

If you apply for credit using your married name while all your details are held under your maiden name, a lender will be unlikely to find any history of borrowing in these details because they don’t yet associate the two names as being for the same person. Lenders want to be as sure as they can that the repayments will be made on time, with little or no history to support this they may be reluctant to provide the credit facility.

By updating your lenders with your married name, they can change this on their system and update the credit agencies, normally within 4-6 weeks. Once updated, an Alias can be reported on your credit file and will return all information held at the agency in that particular name format. This will then ensure a comprehensive report is seen by potential lenders so that you would not be knocked back unnecessarily.

So while your actual Credit Score would not be directly affected by change of name, not updating your lenders and council can result in an unexpected rejection. Although this task may not be at the top of your list, it is certainly worth sorting out sooner rather than later to avoid any hassle in the long run.

How does a name change appear on my Credit Report?

Once you have changed your name, your maiden name will appear on your Credit Report as an Alias. Aliases show names that previous lenders have associated with you, to make it easier to find your credit history regardless of whatever name you now go by.

When you have informed the relevant parties about your change of name, it’s recommended to check your Credit Report to make sure that your name is appearing as it should be, and that it is being reported everywhere that it should be.

To see the UK’s most detailed Credit Report with data from four Credit Reference Agencies, not just one, you can try checkmyfile FREE for 30 days and then for just £14.99 a month afterwards, which you can cancel online at any time.

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