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Topics addressed on March 22, 2006:
Benefits of having individual accounts when married
I am a happily married woman of 34 years and have always had credit with my husband. Will I benefit directly from this good credit rating if I ever need to apply for credit of any kind by myself? Is this good credit also now mine, individually?
If your name is on any account that is reported it will be included on your individual credit report. There is an indicator for each account which describes your association with it, such as individual, joint or authorized user. Typically, scoring models don’t consider the type of association. If the account is on your report, it is evaluated as yours.
However, it also can be helpful to have some credit in your name only for other reasons. For example, if for some unfortunate reason you were to divorce, you would be able to close the joint accounts and still have an open account established in your name.
In joint property states, it can become even more complex because the lender can hold both parties responsible for a debt, even if it is an individual account. So, if you ever want to divide your assets and debts, be sure to consult your attorney.
On the bright side, as long as you are married and manage shared accounts well, you will have a strong credit history that will be reflected in your credit report.
Whether establishing an individual account or joint account, be sure to discuss applying for the new account with your husband so that he understands why you are doing so. He should do the same with you for any financial decision he is considering. Finances are the number one source of strain in a marriage. Any perception of secrecy about your finances by either of you is a sure trigger for trouble.
Thanks for asking.
- The "Ask Experian" team