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What happens to my credit score when I get married?

Husband and wifeOne of most frequently asked questions by couples before tying the knot is how marriage will affect their credit scores. Couples will be happy to learn that marriage has no effect at all on a couple's credit scores or the credit report based upon them because the national credit bureaus do not include marital status in their records.

Married couples do not share a credit score or report, however, individual credit histories and credit scores for both spouses are considered whenever the couple applies for a loan together.

Married couple's credit scores and mortgage approval

When a couple makes a mortgage application, the lender will evaluate the three credit scores of each applicant (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion). The lender will most likely use the lowest "middle" credit score between the married couple; assuming that both partners are participating on the mortgage application.

Example: 620 middle score will be used


Community property states and mortgages

Credit scores and credit history are not affected by marriage, however, monthly debt can impact a mortgage application in the community property states whether the spouse is included on the loan application. The affected states are:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Alaskans who chooses not to opt in to community property rules, follow "common law" rules, under which spouses can assume debts and own property as individuals but also take on joint debts that benefit both parties (and any children) as a family.

FHA and VA mortgages require debts of the spouse to be included in the borrower(s) debt to income qualifying ratios, except for obligations specifically excluded by state law.

Rotating question markFrequently Asked Questions About Marriage and Credit Scores

Q. Will my credit score merge with my spouse?
A. No. Credit reports are identified by each person’s unique Social Security number. Marriage does not merge each partner's credit report or credit score.

Q. Will marriage lower my credit score?
A. No, the marriage will not lower your credit score

Q. Will changing name after marriage affect my credit score?
A. Your credit history follows the social security number. It is important to notify your creditors of the name change. Your new name will appear on your credit report as an alias, or "also known as"

Q. Will my credit score be hurt by my spouse's bad credit?
A. A spouse's credit history will not impact your credit report or credit score. However, information will be shared on both credit reports when a joint account is opened. A spouse’s undesirable credit report could impact a mortgage application and result in a higher mortgage rate.

Building good credit together calls for a lasting commitment. So establish your credit for your new life together and you will reap the rewards of that commitment for a long time to come.

Q. If my spouse has a bad credit score, does it affect my credit score?

Credit scores are calculated on a specific individual's credit history. If your spouse has a bad credit score, it will not affect your credit score. However, when you apply for loans together, like mortgages, lenders will look at both your scores. If one of you has a poor credit score, it counts against you both. You may not qualify for the best interest rates or the loan could be denied. For the time being, until your spouse's credit score improves, you may be able to get good terms on loans as long as you apply individually.
SOURCE: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)