Do you have a question about consumer credit? You may find an immediate answer by using the search engine. If you can't find what you're looking for, please fill out the form, being as specific as possible.
Please note: The Ask Experian team cannot respond to each question individually. However, if your question is of interest to a wide audience of consumers, the Experian team will include it in a future column.
The information contained in this column if for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should consult your own attorney or seek specific advice from a legal professional regarding your particular situation.
Please understand that Experian policies change over time. Column responses reflect Experian policy at the time of writing. While maintained for your information, archived responses may not reflect current Experian policy.
Topics addressed on January 4, 2012:
Marriage will not combine new husband’s old credit history with wife’s
My fiancé is divorced and lost his house to foreclosure. He has a bad credit history including bankruptcy. When we marry what are the pros and cons of my taking his name? My credit is pretty good - good enough to buy a $132,000 home two years ago. I've heard that marrying and taking their name is a huge mistake if there are credit problems. Can you advise, please?
Taking your new husband’s name will not cause your credit histories to be merged It isn’t your name that impacts your credit history. It is the activity that is associated with your name.
Everyone has their own credit report, even after marriage. Each individual’s credit history contains only the information that is reported in their name. When your lenders report your accounts in your new name, Experian will match it to your existing history and continue to update it, but only for the names associated with that account.
So, your husband’s accounts and credit history, such as the bankruptcy, prior to the marriage will not be added to your credit report after you are married, unless your name is added to them. Your account history will not be added to his report, either — unless you add him as a joint owner on your accounts.
Your husband might benefit from becoming a joint account holder on your accounts because the positive payment history would be added to his credit report.
This can be important because it is likely that you will want to apply for joint accounts that will require both of your incomes and credit history to qualify, such as a car loan so that the car title can be in both your names.
Marriage is a partnership, and you can work together to restore his imperfect credit history, but that doesn’t mean you have to damage your credit history while doing so.
Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team