What happens to my credit score when I get married?

Written by Bill MacDonaldSeptember 8th, 20223 minute read

What happens to my credit score when I get married

One of the most common concerns couples have before getting married is how marriage will impact their credit ratings.

Couples will be relieved to hear that marriage has no impact on a couple's credit scores or credit reports since the major credit agencies do not include marital status in their records.

Married couples do not share a credit score or report. Nevertheless, when the pair applies for a loan jointly, the individual credit histories and credit ratings of both spouses are evaluated.

Married couple's credit scores and mortgage approval

When a couple makes a mortgage application, the lender will evaluate the three credit scores of each applicant (Experian, Equifax, and Transunion). The lender will most likely use the lowest "middle" credit score between the married couple; assuming that both partners are participating on the mortgage application.

Example: 620 middle score will be used


Community property states and mortgages

Credit scores and credit history are not affected by marriage, however, monthly debt can impact a mortgage application in the community property states whether the spouse is included on the loan application. The affected states are:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Alaskans who opt out of community property laws follow "common law" regulations, which allow couples to incur obligations and own property as individuals while simultaneously taking on joint debts that benefit both partners (and any children) as a family.

FHA and VA mortgages require debts of the spouse to be included in the borrower(s) debt to income qualifying ratios, except for obligations specifically excluded by state law.

Frequently Asked Questions About Marriage and Credit Scores

Q. Will my credit score merge with my spouse?
A. No. Credit reports are identified by each person’s unique Social Security number. Marriage does not merge each partner's credit report or credit score.

Q. Will marriage lower my credit score?
A. No, the marriage will not lower your credit score.

Q. Will changing name after marriage affect my credit score?
A. Your credit history follows the social security number. It is important to notify your creditors of the name change. Your new name will appear on your credit report as an alias, or "also known as."

Q. Will my credit score be hurt by my spouse's bad credit?
A. A spouse's credit history will not impact your credit report or credit score. However, information will be shared on both credit reports when a joint account is opened. A spouse’s undesirable credit report could impact a mortgage application and result in a higher mortgage rate.

Building good credit together calls for a lasting commitment. So establish your credit for your new life together and you will reap the rewards of that commitment for a long time to come.

Q. If my spouse has a bad credit score, does it affect my credit score?

A. Credit scores are determined by a person's credit history.

Your credit score will be unaffected if your spouse has a bad credit history. Lenders will examine both of your credit scores when you apply for a loan together, such as a mortgage.

It impacts both of you if one of you has a poor credit score.

It's possible that you won't be qualified for the best interest rates, or that your loan will be denied.

You may be able to get great loan terms if you apply separately for the time being, until your spouse's credit score improves.

SOURCE: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)