Aug
27
2014

Maintaining your own credit history after getting married

Dear Experian,

When I got married my husband put everything in his name (utilities, house, etc.). I still have two credit cards in my name. How can I maintain good credit scores going forward with limited items in my name?

-          JYW

Dear JYW,

It is very important to maintain credit in your name, even after marriage. Contrary to popular belief, there are no joint credit reports – even for married consumers.

The key to maintaining good credit scores is to make sure your accounts are kept in good standing and that all payments are made on time, every time. Having two open credit cards in your name is good start. In fact, you do not need a lot of accounts to have a strong credit history and good credit scores.

Wisely managing the credit you have will help you build and maintain good credit. The two things you must do are pay your bills on time, every time, and make sure your balances are low compared to your credit limits when you get ready to apply for new services. Ideally, you should pay your balances in full each month to avoid finance charges and spending more than you can afford.

To find out where you are today and what you need to do to improve, request a copy of your credit report and purchase a credit score directly from Experian. You can request a free report once every 12 months. Learn how at http://www.experian.com/assistance/free-annual-credit-report.html.

I recommend obtaining a scored report at least one because a list of credit risk factors will be included with your credit score. These factors will help you understand where you stand and what is affecting your credit scores. If they are not high enough, that will guide you on what you need to work on in your credit history to improve your credit scores over time.

If your file is too thin, meaning you don’t have enough credit account history to have high scores, you might consider asking your husband to open a joint account with you so that his high scores will help you qualify for the new account.  Again, use that account wisely and it will add positive history to ensure that you score better in the future.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

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