Is My Credit the Same as My Spouse’s Credit?

This is a common question we get.  People often want to know if their spouse’s credit will effect their credit – either in a positive or negative way.

The answer is an emphatic “It depends.”  Let’s look at this a bit closer.

You and your spouse will have different credit scores, regardless of how long you have been married.  When you apply for joint credit for purchases such as a home or a car, the lender will look at both of your credit reports and assess your credit worthiness as a couple.

But here’s where it can get tricky…

If, for example, the husband had negative credit prior to the marriage, such as a bankruptcy or a foreclosure, then those negative items will appear on his credit report but not on the spouse’s credit report.  This could mean a big difference in the scores of the two individuals.

In another example, if you hold joint accounts with your spouse and he/she misses a payment, that negative item will affect BOTH you and your spouse.  For instance, if you and your spouse each pay your own car payment but you applied for the financing jointly, then any late payment made by one spouse will affect the credit score of the other.

Here’s the bottom line…

Any time you apply for joint financing on a car, home, credit card, or any other form of credit, all activity on that account will affect both you and your spouse (positive or negative).

Likewise, any credit that you or your spouse applied for independently (before or after you were married), will only affect the credit report of the person who actually owns the account.

It’s actually common, especially for newly married people, for one spouse to have great credit and the other spouse to have poor or average credit.  In these cases, a few months of credit repair for the spouse with the lower credit scores can help the couple when they need to apply for joint credit in the future.

If you have questions or would like us to help you determine the best course of action for you and your spouse, give us a call.  We offer a free 30-minute consultation which will help you to make a wise decision about your financial future as a couple.

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