Equifax

Finance Blog

Stay financially savvy with the Equifax Advisor.

Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter

 

Thank you for signing up for the FREE Equifax monthly newsletter

In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.

Understand your credit. Help protect your identity.

Equifax Complete™ Premier Plan

  • Know What May Influence Your Credit Score and Be Alerted of Changes
    Credit score monitoring with custom alerts
    Important Disclosure: The Equifax credit score and 3-Bureau credit scores are based on an Equifax credit score model and are not the same scores used by 3rd parties to assess your creditworthiness.¹
  • Help Protect Your Identity
    Automatic fraud alerts encourages lenders to take extra steps to verify your identity²
  • Lock Your Credit
    The ability to lock and unlock your Equifax Credit Report³
Save 75% your first 30 days with the purchase of Equifax Complete™ Premier

$4.95 for the first 30 days, then $19.95 per month thereafter. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.4

¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.

²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.

³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.

4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.

Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.

’Til Debt Do Us Part: Can My Spouse's Debt Impact My Credit Score?

Written by Diane Moogalian on September 10, 2015 in Credit  |   5 comments

When you get married, you will likely wind up sharing many elements of your life with your spouse, including financial goals. But what if your spouse has a mountain of debt or a poor credit score? Can dealing with his or her debt put your…

SpouseCreditScoreWhen you get married, you will likely wind up sharing many elements of your life with your spouse, including financial goals. But what if your spouse has a mountain of debt or a poor credit score? Can dealing with his or her debt put your own credit score at risk?

The answer depends on how your financial accounts are wed. Will you add your spouse as a joint user on your credit card? Do you plan to apply for a mortgage together? You can manage debt like you manage your in-laws; it takes work, but you don’t have to lose your peace of mind.

Here’s what you should know about your credit history when you’ve married into debt.

There is no such thing as a joint credit report or credit score

Once you get married, your financial record does not merge with your spouse’s. You will still have separate credit reports and credit scores, says Bruce McClary, vice president of public relations at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). But that doesn’t mean your spouse’s information won’t ever cross over to your account.

Joint accounts can add information to both credit reports

If you have healthy credit and your spouse adds your name to an account that becomes past-due, your credit score may be impacted, McClary says.

Missed payments will show up on your credit report because as a joint account holder, you agree to take full responsibility for the debt. New joint accounts that you open during marriage will also be reported on both credit reports, regardless of who uses the account or pays the bills.

If you want to keep your own credit history clean, you may want to ask your spouse not to add you as a joint account holder on accounts with negative information.

If you apply for new credit together, the lender will consider both credit scores

If you plan on applying together for new credit, such as a mortgage or an auto loan, the lender will take into account both credit reports and credit scores.

“Your spouse’s credit history can impact your ability to qualify for a loan and can be a deciding factor with a mortgage,” McClary says. If your spouse has a poor credit score, it may interfere with you getting approved for a loan at favorable terms.

If you are concerned about getting the best terms and interest rates, then you may want to consider applying by yourself, McClary says. While you may not qualify for as large of a loan without your spouse’s income, you may end up with a better interest rate, which can save you money over the life of the loan.

Note that even if you maintain separate accounts, you may still feel the impact of your spouse’s debt. For example, in some states, “most jointly owned property could be seized by debt collectors” to satisfy unpaid debts, McClary says.

Help your spouse improve his or her credit

Whether you’ve already tied the knot or plan to soon, here are a few ways to encourage your significant other to espouse good borrowing habits:

Encourage your spouse to pay down outstanding debts. If your spouse still has unpaid accounts, help him or her make a budget to pay them off. Loans that are in default will have a lasting impact on a credit report, so it’s important to address those issues first, McClary says.

Consider a secured credit card for your spouse. A secured card requires a down payment as collateral, and that down payment amount becomes your credit line for the account. By using a secured card, your spouse can add positive information to his or her credit report.

Consider adding your spouse as an authorized user instead of a joint account holder on your credit accounts. If your spouse has a thin credit file and wants to build his or her credit history, you can add him or her as an authorized user. This way, your credit behavior will be added to your spouse’s credit report. However, keep in mind that authorized users are entitled to use the credit extended to the card holder but have no legal responsibility to pay the bill, so you will continue to be responsible for paying the bill on time. If you allow your spouse to use the credit card, make sure you trust him or her entirely to spend within an agreed-upon limit.

Work with a credit counseling organization. Your spouse may also want to consider connecting with a financial professional for help in developing better credit habits.

Additionally, it can be a good idea to check your own credit report regularly so that you can keep track of how any joint accounts are impacting your credit score.

Diane Moogalian is vice president of operations for Equifax Personal Information Solutions. Prior to joining Equifax in 2007, Diane held several strategic roles with leading financial services companies.

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.


5 comments

  1. ShaTiya says:

    This is extremely helpful.There is nothing better than being informed on how to maintain a secure and healthy credit file. Thank you!

  2. MARK E. says:

    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    My husband and I are getting a divorce. He has taken over all of the credit cards we had that were joint. Do I need to contact each credit bureau to let them know?
    Virginia C.

  4. Meg H. says:

    My husband passed away suddenly 5 years ago and I had to declare bankruptcy and every account that was in his name became mine! This has resulted in a mess of course. I have tried to dispute the bankruptcy accounts with no success – making it extremely, if not, impossible to clear up my credit info. What’s the answer and where do I turn, now? My only income now is my SS.Not a good position to be in at my age of 83!!! Do I still have to wait 7 years for it all to fall off????


Leave a Comment


Name :


Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.


Credit Archive