You’ve tied the knot, but what happens to your credit score now? Many couples have misconceptions about how marriage will affect their credit ratings. They may fear that their reports will merge with their spouse’s and their credit scores will fall. But, these fears are simply not warranted. Here are the most common marriage myths to help you separate fact from fiction.

1. When you and your spouse get married, you will have a joint credit report.
Couples about to get married often fear that their credit scores will merge, and they will be stuck taking on their loved one’s credit. This is completely false. If you are getting married, your credit report will remain the same. You and your spouse will each maintain separate credit files at each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies. Your credit report is linked to your individual social security number; so, it is yours and yours alone.

2. My spouse’s bad credit will hurt my credit score.
This is a common concern for couples. However, your spouse’s credit is entirely separate from yours. Your score will be yours, regardless of your spouse’s credit. When you get married, you may share other things, but you do not merge or share credit scores. Marriage will only affect your credit score if you apply for credit together. So, if you have a joint credit card or take out a loan in both of your names, then it will show up on both of your credit reports. Those are the only cases in which your spouse’s bad credit can affect you.

3. When you change your last name, your credit score is erased.
If you or your spouse chooses to change your last name, you should let your creditors know. Once they have processed your requests, your new name will be automatically changed on the credit report. Your credit history does not disappear when you change your name. Instead, your new name will be listed along with your old name as an alias. All of your old credit history will be there, and you can continue to build your credit score.

4. I become a joint user on my spouse’s accounts automatically.
Getting married does not mean you automatically have access to your spouse’s accounts. If you want to be an authorized user on these accounts, you will have to call the creditors and make that request. However, being an authorized user will not have any influence on your credit score. Lenders do not have access to who is authorized to use the account. All activity will affect your spouse’s account.

5. I can use my spouse’s good credit to get a loan together.
If you are applying for a joint loan like a home mortgage or car loan, both you and your spouse’s credit scores will be taken into account. Even if your spouse has a great credit score and you don’t, you cannot choose which one they look at. Lenders will factor in both of your scores to determine your interest rates and eligibility for that loan or credit card. Your application may be denied because one of you has a bad score. So, it is important for you to both maintain good credit scores.

Now is the time to start your life together, and knowing the truth about how marriage affects credit will get you off to a great financial start!

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