Giving credit to marriage

Getting married will change your life in many ways, but there are many misconceptions about how it may, or may not, affect your credit

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What happens to your credit when you get married?
Getting married brings change to your life in many ways, but there are many misconceptions about how it may, or may not, affect your credit. Here are answers to some questions that you may consider as you prepare to tie the knot.


Will our credit scores merge?
Your credit scores will not merge when you get married. Your credit score remains your personal one and is separate from your partner’s score, but do note that credit providers may look at dual income, which can make it easier to apply for a loan.


Will marriage affect my credit rating?
This depends on whether you have taken out credit together after you are married and on your agreed upon matrimonial regime. For example, if you are married in community of property and apply for credit, particularly when it comes to home loans, you and your partner are jointly and severally liable for the debt. This means that both of you will be equally and fully responsible for the debt. It means that a creditor may pursue a debt obligation against either one of you or both of you until the debt has been paid in full. If you do not have enough money or assets to pay that debt, your spouse must make up the difference.


How is my joint credit recorded in a credit bureau?
A joint account is reflected on both yours and your partner’s credit records and will display the type of account, your ownership whether its joint or not, number of people that are responsible for the debt, your opening balance, what your current balance, the number of instalments, instalment amount and repayment frequency, months in arrears and overdue balance.  All of the above information is reflected for the duration of the account until you have paid it up.


What if we miss a joint credit payment?
Should you default on your payment, this negative information will be passed from the credit provider to the credit bureau. It will reflect as a default or judgement on both your credit record and the credit record of your spouse.


What if my spouse has a poor credit rating?
This may affect your application for credit if done jointly and credit providers will conduct their own risk assessment. It is important to check both of your credit reports regularly and to decide who will be best placed to apply for that credit or how you can both improve your credit rating for a more favorable credit application.


Can we share one more Information for Good tip with you?
When you say I do, commit to keeping your credit life on the radar in your new life partnership.

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This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. You should always seek the advice of a legal or financial professional before making legal or financial decisions.

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