Do You Take a Hit When You Marry Bad Credit?

Couple Finances

What happens to that stellar score if the man of your dreams has nightmare credit?

Nothing—at first.

Getting married alone doesn’t impact either of your credit histories; your reports and scores remain separate (even if you change your name). That’s the good news.

The bad news? You’ll likely need to combine incomes and credit scores to qualify for a mortgage, car or other large loan, and that’s where things get tricky.

“You could pay more for the mortgage in terms of interest rates or terms you qualify for,” says credit expert Gerri Detweiler, author of The Ultimate Credit Handbook.

Here, three ways to improve your prospects:

    • Add your spouse as an authorized user on one of your credit or store card accounts. “Piggybacking,” as it’s called, won’t hurt you, and could help improve his score—as long as you both behave responsibly.


    • Have your spouse sign up for a secured card, to build better credit.


  • Help him pay off his debt. You’re a team now, and the sooner he’s out of the red, the better off you’ll both be..

All for one. How do you and your mate deal with joint credit issues?