Credit Advice

Changing name when married won’t link you to his bad credit

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Credit Advice

Changing name when married won’t link you to his bad credit

Dear Experian,

I'm getting married next week and am wondering if I should take my husband's last name. His credit is not quite good, while mine is very good. If I take his last name, what will happen to my credit history? Should I have a joint account with my husband? What is the best way for me to protect myself from having problems from changing my last name?

- BBY

Dear BBY,

Changing your last name will not have a negative effect on your credit report. Accounts you had before the marriage will not be added to your new husband’s credit history, and perhaps more important, the bad credit he had prior to the marriage will not be added to your credit history.

The only way his negative credit history could affect your credit history directly is if he were to add you as a joint account holder on one of his accounts with a negative payment history.

Any new joint accounts you open will appear on both credit histories. Positive payment histories on new joint accounts should not hurt your credit report and could help both your credit history and his.

However, his poor credit history could affect your ability as a couple to apply for joint credit, particularly for large items such as a house. In those situations, the lender likely will consider both your credit history and your husband’s when making a decision to approve or decline your application.

Your husband’s poorer credit history could cause the application to be declined, or could result in the lender offering less favorable loan terms, such as a higher interest rate or a larger down payment.

So, changing your name won’t cause any problems. But, your husband’s past credit difficulties could. Therefore, it is important to make sure your husband never misses another payment and pays down his debt so that eventually his past problems won’t hinder a positive credit future in your marriage.

Thanks for asking.

- The "Ask Experian" team

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