Name Change Should Not Cause Loss of Credit History

couple looking at finances together
Dear Experian,

I have had a name change, but kept the same Social Security number. However, when getting a credit card I was declined due to having no credit history. My prior name had credit history. Do you know why this would happen?


Dear LST,

You didn't say whether your name change involved just your last name, or if your full name was changed.

Because both men and women have the option to change their last name when they marry, credit reporting systems allow for multiple last names on one individual's credit report.

When someone changes their last name, it is automatically added to their credit report after they notify their creditors of the new name. When the creditor updates their records, they report the new name to Experian.

Applying for new credit using the new last name will also result in the name being added to the report. The old name will likely remain a part of your credit report even after the new name becomes a part of the credit history. This helps ensure that the credit report is accurate and complete.

If you have changed your entire name, however, it is possible that there was not enough information provided during the application process to link your previous credit history to your new name.

Credit reporting systems don't match information solely to the Social Security number. They also rely on other identifiers when determining which credit items belong on which credit report. That is why it is always important to use full and complete identification when requesting a report — your full name, date of birth, and current and previous mailing addresses in addition to your Social Security number.

If you have not already done so, request a copy of your credit report directly from Experian so that you can see what information is being displayed. The report will be free because your application was declined. Your lender should have provided information to request a report from the credit reporting company it used in making its decision.

If, in fact, there is credit information missing from your report, follow the instructions provided with your report to contact Experian for assistance.

Thanks for asking.
The "Ask Experian" team