Article by Sam Griffin - 28th April 2021

Does Getting Married Help Your Credit Score?

Putting aside the more traditional reasons for a second, there are also some financial incentives to marriage, such as automatic joint ownership of assets and tax breaks, but getting married doesn’t directly affect your Credit Score, so don’t expect to see a boost or a drop in score just for tying the knot.

That said, there are a few ways that marriage can indirectly influence your creditworthiness, as far as your Credit Report is concerned.

Why isn’t my Credit Score affected by marriage?

Your Credit Score is a measurement of your Credit Report’s overall health. As your marital status is not shared with the Credit Reference Agencies, it won’t appear on your Credit Report at all. That means your Credit Score is not directly affected by marriage (or divorce). You therefore shouldn’t expect to see a decrease or an improvement in your Credit Score.

It’s important to understand that, while marriage won’t have a direct influence on your Credit Score, your overall creditworthiness can still be indirectly affected by marriage, positively or negatively.

Below we go through the two most common reasons: a change of name and a new Financial Association being recorded on your Credit Report.

How a name change affects your credit

Changing your name, after marriage for instance, can result in difficulty when trying to find your Credit Report information.

The reason is simple: if you apply for credit under your new name but all your credit accounts are registered to your old name, the credit check will likely fail. They won’t be able to find your information, because it’s still all registered to your old name.

This means that lenders (such as the all-important mortgage lenders) may fail to find your Credit Report during the crucial credit check process. This is almost never good for the application and can be reason for the lender to decline you, even if you know your credit history is completely clear. An empty or missing Credit Report is almost as bad as a damaged one.

Lenders will use your Credit Report to check what type of borrower you are likely to be, as past repayment behaviour is seen as indicative of future repayment behaviour. Any of your positive repayment history, which would usually help boost your Credit Rating, may be missed if they struggle to find your complete Credit Report information thanks to an inconsistent use of name.

To resolve this, you need to ensure that all your credit accounts, Electoral Roll listings, and future credit applications are registered under the same name. This way, you can be confident that your information will be located in its entirety whenever your new name is searched during a credit check.

Once everything has been switched over with the relevant organisations, it’s worth keeping a close eye on your Credit Report to ensure that everything is reflected there – just remember that it can take a while for updates to happen as lenders tend to share new information with the Credit Reference Agencies on a monthly basis. You can use checkmyfile to check for any changes by refreshing your Credit Report.

How a Financial Association affects your creditworthiness

Another potential creditworthiness-altering factor post-marriage is the record of your spouse as a Financial Association on your Credit Report.

It’s important to stress that marriage itself is not a reason for a Financial Association to be created. Rather, one will be made when a Credit Reference Agency receives information that is jointly shared between you and your associate (such as a joint mortgage or credit application).

The creation of Financial Associations often coincides with marriages because that is when some couples begin sharing finances and applying for mortgages together.

We’ve written about Financial Association’s previously, but the important point is that, while they don’t affect your calculated Credit Score, they can affect your credit applications, positively or negatively, depending on the state of your associate’s Credit Report. This is an example of how your Credit Score only shows you part of the picture, and why checking your Credit Report for yourself is so important.

If your spouse is recorded as a Financial Association on your Credit Report, then their Credit Report will become visible whenever a credit check is performed on you. This means lenders will assess both of your Credit Reports side-by-side. Because of this, any adverse information (such as late payments or defaults) on their Credit Report can harm your credit applications. The opposite is also true, whereby having a Financial Association with a strong Credit Report can improve your creditworthiness.

In this way, getting married could help boost your creditworthiness, but only if your partner isn’t already recorded as a Financial Association, and providing they have a healthy Credit Report. If their Credit Report is damaged due to late payments, defaults, or court records for instance, your creditworthiness could end up being damaged thanks to the association.

Financial Associations can remain on your Credit Report forever – until you manually request to have them removed via dispute. That means if you’ve been previously married and never checked your Credit Report before, you’ll likely find your former partner’s name appearing as a Financial Association. Checking your Credit Report for that reason alone will give you an opportunity to remove an irrelevant Financial Associations, thereby preventing them from affecting your credit applications any longer.

Will my Credit Report merge with my partner’s?

A common misconception is that married couples share a Credit Report, or that their individual data is merged together. This isn’t true and your Credit Report should show only the information that is attributed to you as an individual. As such, your spouse’s Credit Report information should not appear on yours. The only exception would be joint accounts where you both share responsibility – in that case, the shared credit accounts will appear on both of your Credit Reports.

A record of a Financial Associations on your Credit Report is just the name of the associate, along with the date the link was created, and which lender created the link. While you’ll be able to see your Financial Association’s name recorded on your Credit Report, you won’t have access to any of their financial information and vice versa.

How to check your Credit Report

As there are four Credit Reference Agencies, you actually have four separate sets of Credit Report data that might be affected by a name change after marriage. The only way to check for an impact is to view the information for yourself.

Our Multi Agency Credit Report makes it quick and easy to see your information at Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, and Crediva, all on the same easy-to-use platform. If you have any questions about your Credit Report, Expert Help is available online through your account.

You can try checkmyfile free for 30 days, then for just £14.99 per month. Cancellation is quick and easy online at any time.

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