While planning a wedding and their new life together, most couples aren’t thinking about how marriage might affect their credit. Will her student debt show up in your pristine credit file? Will your bankruptcy destroy his excellent credit score? Should you close the accounts you have but don’t use?
Dear Mary: I’ll be getting married in a few weeks. I have excellent credit; my FICO score is 820. My fiancé, not so much. She has pretty bad credit and even filed for bankruptcy two years ago. Once we are married will her poor credit hurt my credit scores? Travis
Dear Travis: Congratulations on your upcoming marriage! Fortunately, your spouse’s past credit history will have no impact on your credit profile once you are married. Only when you apply for credit as joint account holders or you add her either as an authorized user or a primary user to one of your credit-card accounts will any information be shared on both of your credit reports.
However, when you want to buy a home together, your spouse’s negative credit history will impact your mortgage rates if you need both of your incomes to qualify for a mortgage. It’s going to be important for you to work together to improve her bad credit score. Her bankruptcy will remain a matter of public record forever, but only reportable for 10 years. Eventually, it will fall off her credit reports. I wish you both a lifetime of joy and happiness!
Dear Mary: My husband and I do not have, nor ever have had, any joint credit, such as credit cards, bank accounts—with the exception of one mortgage on which we are joint tenants. We’ve been married for two years.