This year, Experian reported that married couples, on average, have credit scores that are nearly 60 points higher than their unmarried counterparts.
While there’s actually no direct connection between marriage and credit score, as each partner maintains their own credit score, it’s likely due to the fact that they’ve got a financial sidekick encouraging them to stay on top of payments and pay off debt faster.
When it comes to couples’ credit scores, you’ll find that even though your credit score doesn’t directly affect your partner’s, it can play a huge part in the mortgage loan process and other financial decisions you’ll face throughout your relationship.
Do You Combine Credit Scores When You Get Married?
No, you don’t combine your credit scores when you get married. Just as you’ve always had your own credit score, you will continue to have your own credit score even after signing marriage documents.
This is similar to what happens when you decide to open a joint bank account or apply for a mortgage loan together. Just because you’ve gotten married and now have a marriage certificate doesn’t mean that all of your accounts and finances automatically become joined together.
So, no, married couples don’t have one “married” credit score. Each partner has their own credit score, but it can technically affect your partner and the financial decisions you make as a pair.
What Do Lenders Consider for Couples’ Credit Scores?
If you’ve got a poor credit score, you might be thinking, “Is my credit score going to affect my partner?” It could, depending on what you’re looking to do.
Let’s take mortgage loans for example. If you’re applying as joint applicants, the lenders don’t just take both credit scores and average them out. Instead, they consider the lowest middle score between the two of you. So, if your credit scores from the three major credit reporting agencies are 720, 730, and 740 but your partner’s scores are 580, 600, and 620, they’ll look at the 600 score to determine your creditworthiness as a couple.
Yikes, right? You world hard to build your credit score over the years and this means that you might not be able to get a mortgage loan at a great rate. The solution? Have the partner with the higher credit scores apply solo, or work to build your credit as a couple before applying jointly for a loan.
How To Improve Credit As A Couple
You should share your credit score with your partner well before you decide to get married and build a life together. It’s as important of a discussion as talking about whether or not you want to have kids and where you both see yourselves in ten years.
Understanding not just your own credit score but your partner’s score as well will help you both gain perspective on what needs to be done in order to increase those scores to build a better financial future.
Need to improve your credit in a relationship? Think about the following:
- Both of you should sign up for an app like Float Credit that not only lets you access an updated credit score every two weeks but lets you see how your partner’s score is improving as well.
- Look at your credit report and identify missed payments or collections on your credit report. If you don’t recognize an account on your credit report, it could be one of many debt collection organizations.
- Use a budgeting app to help you both pay bills on time. Payment history is one of the most important factors in determining a credit score. If you can’t make payments on time, contact your lender to discuss lowering the payments.
- Think about lowering your credit utilization ratio. If one partner has bad credit, it might be because you’re using too much of your available credit. Try to keep it below 30% or, even better, below 10%.
It’s important to note that, for larger loans, if it’s in your partner’s name only and you’re both making payments on it, it will greatly affect their credit score. Make sure you both have a mix of credit cards and loans. This will help you work towards improving each of your credit scores individually.
Keep Track of Your Partner’s Credit Score
As mentioned, it’s pretty important that you share your credit score with your partner. Do this well before you’re even thinking of applying for a loan. You don’t have to apply together, but sometimes it can help you get better interest rates. And, depending on the amount of the loan, you might have to combine your incomes to be eligible anyway.
With Float Credit, we make it easy for couples to share credit information with each other. And, you can do so in stages. You choose what to share and who you share it with. Decide whether you want to give your partner access to your full credit report, your score and tradelines, or just an emoji that indicates a credit range.
Check each other’s credit scores and encourage each other to stay on top of their finances as you work towards building a stronger financial future together. Download Float Credit to begin the journey today.
About the Author – ELIZABETH THORN
After receiving a degree in film from UCLA, Elizabeth left Los Angeles to travel the world and focus on storytelling and content creation. She has since worked as a freelancer and staff writer for publications in Europe, Asia, and North America, namely in the areas of travel, tech, finance, and business.