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Topics addressed on April 30, 2008:
Late mortgage payments can hurt both spouses’ credit reports
We had two late payments on a mortgage. Can they punish both my husband and me with the one offence?
It is interesting that you refer to your late payments being reported as punishment. Your credit history is a record of how you have repaid your debts. It acts as your credit references, and it is created by your own actions. If you miss payments, you are punishing yourself.
In this case, if the mortgage is joint, meaning you both signed the loan documents as equally responsible for the debt and neither of you made the payment, it will appear on both of your credit reports.
Everyone has their own credit history. Experian does not combine them. Any account for which you are responsible will appear on your credit report, along with the payment history. Joint accounts will, therefore, appear on the credit reports of both people who are responsible for payment of the debt.
If you demonstrate that you aren’t always dependable in making your payments, then you are punishing yourself with the risk of higher interest rates or being declined on future requests for credit or other services.
However, while late payments will blemish your credit report, just missing one payment won’t likely prevent you from getting credit when you need it, and any negative impact on scores will diminish with time.
The important thing now is to make sure your payments are current, and to not let them be late again. The longer your history of on-time payments, the less impact the two delinquencies will have on your creditworthiness. Then you can reward yourself with the best terms available when you want new services.
Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team