Does marriage affect your credit score?

Tying the knot may be a life changing event, but it won’t change your credit score. However, depending on your credit histories, it might impact your effort to get a joint credit card or mortgage together. Here are some important things to know before you walk down the aisle.

Married couple playing VR

If you’re planning on getting married, taking steps to protect your credit score could really pay off. That includes paying your bills on time, carefully managing your spending, and contacting lenders and service providers if you do run into trouble. That way, you could be better positioned to manage the uncertainty and build towards your long-term goals. Here are a few things you can do:

  • make a budget to know where you and your partner stand. Our Barclays Budget Planner can help
  • if you anticipate problems paying a credit card or loan, contact lenders right away to explore your options
  • if you think you’ll be late paying your phone, utilities or other service providers, contact them to discuss a possible arrangement

If you’re worried about being affected by the current COVID-19 (coronavirus) crisis, you can also find helpful advice at Barclays money management on how to manage during this period. If you’re looking for financial help during the crisis, Coronavirus help and support has information that could be useful.

Will getting married affect your credit score?

Getting married won’t affect your credit score. In fact, none of the UK’s three leading credit rating agencies (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) include marital status in their records. And there is no such thing as a couple’s credit score.

However, your partner’s credit history can have an impact on your future together. That’s especially true if you decide to apply for a joint credit card or buy a house together

So it’s crucial to know where each of you stands when it comes to money. That way, you can plan how to approach major financial decisions together.

How can your spouse’s credit score affect you?

Your spouse’s credit history won’t hurt, change or erase your credit score or credit history. So if you have a glowing credit history, you won’t automatically be harmed by marrying someone with a poor credit rating. That said, marriage is about building a future together. So it makes good sense to know each other’s financial histories before you get hitched – since your life decisions will be affected by each other’s financial well-being.

What’s more, both your and your spouse’s credit reports and scores are considered if you apply for a joint bank account, or try to get a loan, credit card or mortgage together. So if your spouse has a bad credit history, you could be offered a higher interest rate as a result. Of course, each application is subject to financial circumstances and borrowing history.

It’s also important to remember that when you open an account or get a loan together, you both become equally responsible for repaying it. That means any late or missed payments will be reflected on both your credit scores. It really pays for newly married couples to be open and honest about your finances when you start planning your future together.

Here’s how to check your credit scores. It’s also smart to look at your salaries, debts and existing investments. If one of you is dealing with a poor credit history, you can find out more at what is a bad credit score.

Money is one of the most common reasons for disagreement and stress in a marriage. This is true even when money is plentiful, and often becomes heightened during a financial strain. So full disclosure really does pay when it comes to blissful matrimony. You can find more information on How To Manage Money In Marriage.

Will changing your name impact your credit score?

If you’re thinking of taking your spouse’s name, you don’t have to worry about it affecting your credit score. Just make sure to notify all your banks and existing lenders about the change. They’ll update the credit reference agencies (CRAs), so you don’t have to do that yourself. Once they’re informed, the CRAs will update your credit report, and list your previous name as an alias. But this won’t affect or erase your actual credit history or score.

How to manage if your spouse has a poor credit score

If your spouse has a bad credit history, there are some things you can do to protect your own credit score and help them improve theirs. A good first step is making sure all the bills in your spouse’s name are paid on time. Our Barclays app is a handy way to stay on top of finances and get notifications when a payment is due. Just remember that you’ll need to be 16 or over to use the app, and terms and conditions will apply.

You can also make your spouse an authorised user on a credit card of yours that already has a good payment history. This can help them strengthen their credit rating. You can find other practical ideas and tips on how to improve a credit score.

What's next?

If you’re looking for a credit card to help manage expenses or build credit as a newly married couple, here’s a good place to start.

View our credit cards