Reestablishing credit when your spouse dies

Dear Experian,

I don’t have any credit. I never had to buy anything. I was married at a very young age and my husband did all the buying. What do I do now?



Dear NEK,

I’m assuming from your email that your husband has passed away. If so, it can be difficult to reestablish a credit history. Having lost your husband after a long, and I hope happy, marriage you are faced with starting over. Unfortunately, there is little you can do to speed the process.

You will need to establish credit in your name. Contact the creditors who held your husband’s accounts and see if they will transfer the account to your name. If you really have no credit history, you may need to show proof of your assets.

It may also be helpful to start with your bank or a retailer with whom you and your husband have a long-term financial relationship. You may need to start with a secured credit card through your bank where you have savings to guarantee the debt.

The key is to have a credit account opened in your name. Once you’ve done that, you will have established a credit history. As that history grows, you should be able to qualify for additional credit as you need it.

Best wishes and thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

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