Your wedding day, or civil partnership celebrations should be one of the biggest and best days of your life, right? You and your partner are ready to share the rest of your lives together – it’s exciting and something to dance about (literally). But as you get ready to legally join yourselves together, you may now be wondering: when it comes to your credit score, what exactly are you saying “I do” to?
Loqbox knows there’s no need to tie yourself in knots when you’re tying the knot! Read on to find out what impact your marriage or civil partnership, changing your name, or your partner’s finances can have on your credit score.
Does marriage affect your credit score?
The simple answer is no! Getting married or entering into a civil partnership to somebody does not automatically make you responsible for their debts and it won’t have an impact on your credit score.
The three main credit reference agencies (CRAs) in the UK: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, don’t record your marital status on your credit report.
There isn’t a couple’s credit score that jointly assesses both peoples’ finances. However, you should definitely be transparent with each other when it comes to your finances.
Especially if you want to take out a mortgage together, get a joint account (and not just for banks, this includes utility bills too) or take on a joint debt. That’s when your individual credit histories will be looked at together.
What co-scoring means
When you have an active account with somebody and both your names are listed as payees, then you’ll automatically have your credit reports linked as ‘financial associates’ or ‘financial connections’.
So for example, if you pay your share of a water bill with your partner by transferring them money each month, but only your partner is named on the letterhead of the bill, then that wouldn’t connect you (whether you’re married or not). The history of payments for this bill would be reported by the water company to whichever of the three credit reference agencies that they work with (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion). Then that credit reference agency will add it to your partner’s credit report because it’s in their name only.
However, if you and your partner have just one account where you are jointly named, that is enough to connect you and start to impact each other’s credit scores. It doesn’t matter if it’s council tax, a joint bank account, or a phone contract. As soon as your credit reports are connected, you may see a positive or negative change to your credit scores – this is called co-scoring.
It’s important to know though that as soon as you’re connected with that one joint account, you’ll be connected for good (or at least unless you parted ways and told the credit reference agencies that you needed to be disassociated).
If you are jointly paying for bills and appear on each other’s credit reports when you’d prefer not to be, simply asking the CRAs to disassociate you both again isn’t something you can do, unfortunately. You’d have to prove you weren’t associated.
It’s always good to check over your credit report and see if you have any old financial connections from exes, family members or previous housemates — if you spot any names on there that shouldn’t be, you can flag these up and ask to have them removed. We recommend you do this because if any of these older connections have poor money management, they could be bringing your credit score down (no thanks, right?)
Will my credit score affect my partner?
Because there is no such thing as a joint credit score, whether you are legally hitched or not, the only time your credit score will impact your partner’s finances is if you decide to open a joint account or collectively take on a debt.
If you want to, you and your partner can keep your finances separate and never worry about each other’s credit score.
But there is a chance that you will want to bring your money together to be able to afford a house or a car. These big joint purchases are when your credit scores will likely have an impact on each other.
Does changing my name affect my credit score?
If you decide to take your partner’s name when you get married, you might be worried that you will have to start your credit history from the beginning. Don’t worry, you don’t! Changing your name doesn’t negatively affect your credit score.
You will have to notify Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to tell them of your name change so that they can update their records. Your old name will then be listed as a part of your credit report with each of these credit reference agencies, but they will show up as an alias.
When you let your bank, loan and bill providers know that you’ve had a name change, they will then start to record your financial history under your new name.
I have a good credit score but my partner doesn’t
This can be a little bit awkward. One of you has a glowing credit score, while the other one needs work. Perhaps it hasn’t mattered before because your credit scores weren’t linked together, even if you got married. But when you want to get a mortgage or buy a car together, or get a joint account, then your credit scores will have to go on their first date, and it might not go as well as yours did!
If your husband, wife, or life partner has a bad credit score, really, the most important thing they can do is try to improve it. It’s tough to talk about money, but be honest with each other about any struggles you are experiencing and try to work through them together. You’re a team now, after all!
You can both take a look at your credit scores, without hurting them, with one of these services (and just so you know, if you sign up for ClearScore using this link we’ll get a small commission):
ClearScore (uses Equifax data)
Credit Club (uses Experian data)
Credit Karma (uses TransUnion data)
I have a bad credit score…
There’s no need to feel embarrassed by your credit score when you are trying to take out a financial product with a partner. Taking action to tidy up your credit file is the first step in proving you can handle money in a responsible way, regardless of your financial past. The key is to just take some time to get it sorted. And Loqbox is here to help!
We’re all about helping you fall back in love with your finances and growing your credit score. Here are few things you can do right now to start building your credit score:
- You may need some more savings before the big day. Set a savings goal with Loqbox Save and we’ll use those regular savings to start building your credit score.
- Activate Loqbox Spend, and we’ll help to boost your credit score by regularly reporting your £2.50 a week membership.
- Or if you’re a renter, we can help you put that money to work with Loqbox Rent. Letting you build a credit history, from the comfort of your home.