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Will your Spouse’s Debt Affect your Credit Score?

Will your Spouse’s Debt Affect your Credit Score?

August 11, 2022
5 min read
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Will your Spouse’s Debt Affect your Credit Score?
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Marriage means combining your lives with your partner, which may also involve merging your finances. However, there are certain myths regarding getting married and how it may or may not affect credit reports and credit score. Learn if your spouse’s debt will affect your credit score. 

What is mine is not always yours in a marriage. Your credit report and scores belong to you and no one else. A credit score for marriage doesn't exist. Therefore, when you get married, your credit score doesn’t get impacted. Furthermore, how your spouse utilises their personal credit accounts has no impact on your credit score. However, if you have a joint account or are a registered user on your spouse's account, you might have an impact on each other's credit score.

Every time you apply for credit with your spouse, there is a chance that both of your credit reports will undergo a hard inquiry. Your credit scores may momentarily suffer as a result of your spouse’s credit score only if you maintain a bank account or have a loan product jointly.

What to do if your Spouse has a Bad Credit Score?

The outcome of any joint credit application could be impacted if you and your spouse have different credit scores. You will need to decide how you want to approach applying for credit and loans in this situation. If your spouse has a bad credit score, and you want to apply for a loan jointly, then work on improving your spouse’s credit score before applying for it. If you apply for a loan with your spouse and they have a bad credit score, then your loan application may get rejected by the bank or lender. 

Three ways to help your spouse with improving their credit score

You can assist your spouse in building a better credit history and improving their credit score if they currently have a poor one. Here are a few tips to help your spouse improve their credit score:

  1. Analyse the Problem
    Review the credit report of your spouse to identify the cause of the problem. A low credit score may be a result of a lot of factors. Reviewing the credit report will help you understand the real cause. Once you know what is causing a low credit score, you can take steps to improve the credit score of your spouse so that it doesn’t impact your credit score when you are planning to take a loan jointly. 
  2. Start Working on the Problem
    Create a strategy to deal with the issues that are causing a low credit score for your spouse before taking on a new debt. List the accounts and amounts for collections, then pay them off—if required, one at a time. Ensure that future payments are made on time to help boost the credit score.
  3. Track your Progress Regularly
    Tracking your progress while repairing the credit score is a step that is often overlooked. However, if you do not track the progress you will not be able to know the reason your partner’s credit score isn’t improving or if the progress is very slow. 

The fact that married people do not typically share credit scores does not mean that your spouse can not help you in improving your credit score. Consider becoming a co-borrower or guarantor for one of your spouse's credit card accounts if you want to improve the credit score. This will enable you to benefit from your spouse's excellent credit score, and your spouse's sound financial practises may boost their own credit score.

FAQs Related to Marriage and Impact on Credit Score

Is my credit score affected by my spouse’s credit score after marriage?

No. Credit scores are individual entities and marrying your partner will have no impact on your credit score. However, both of your credit scores may get impacted when you decide to take out a loan together or any other credit product.

When I raise a dispute on my credit report regarding a joint account I have with my spouse, will this also impacts my spouse's credit report?

No. If you have a dispute on your credit report, your spouse’s credit score will not be impacted. If your spouse also has a dispute, they have to raise it to the credit bureau separately. Credit scores and credit reports are individual financial reports. 

Will getting married automatically merge my credit report with my spouse?

Credit reports and credit scores are never merged. If you are getting married, your credit report will not be automatically merged with your spouse’s credit report. You both may apply for loans together. When you jointly apply for a loan, your individual credit reports will be reviewed by the lender or bank you have applied to.