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Holding on to Your Credit Identity Once You're Married

Holding on to Your Credit Identity Once You're Married

You may assume your husband's last name when you get married and you might even merge bank accounts. Just as you maintain an individual identity outside of your husband and your new last name, you need to protect yourself by sustaining your own credit profile. This can be accomplished even if you combine checking and savings accounts. Find out how to keep your credit identity and why it's so important when you


Nobody wants to think about the end of the road when you're newlyweds, but we all know that forever does not always last that long. Maintaining your personal credit identity is a way of protecting yourself and assuring that you'll have access to credit if your married life ends. Shared credit cards sometimes make sense, but even if you go this route, keep the credit cards you had before marriage.

You can always add your husband as an authorized user, and he can do the same with his card, but you need to hold on to your premarried credit history. The credit bureaus won't calculate a FICO score for someone whose credit history has been inactive for more than six months: If your accounts go unused for a long period of time, this inactivity can work against you and leave you with limited, unfavorable credit options.


bchicgrl bchicgrl 9 years
This is definitely good to know, I fully intend to keep my own checking and credit cards after I'm married but we have already discussed that we will open a joint to pay household expenses. However good my credit is right now, i def don't need someone coming in and screwing that up.
sweetpeabrina sweetpeabrina 9 years
I wish I knew this before I got married! If I could do things differently, I would have kept my own checking account, credit cards, and never let him know my social security number. I put my exhusband on as an authorized user and he would run up the balance. He even bought new cars using my social security number. I didn't think any of that stuff mattered when I was younger (and dumb) but now that I'm divorced, I wish I had a better (and savvier) financial head on my shoulders.
jknocking jknocking 9 years
Here's the approach that we took: Prior to getting married, my husband and I both had Citi rewards credit cards (separate accounts, we both just happened to have cards with Citi because they have a decent cash back program). Rather than open a new joint account, we each added the spouse as an "authorized user". Thus, we both maintain our credit history PLUS we can double up our rewards. The Citi card has a cap on some of the rewards you can earn so we start the year using 1 account as our primary and charging everything to that account until we've maxed out the rewards for the year. Then, midway through the year when we've maxed the rewards on account 1 we switch accounts and start using the other account as our primary so we can rack up more cash back.
ehadams ehadams 9 years
Savy can you post about what happens to your credit when you get married? I searched but couldn't find a post about it. For example if he has bad (or no credit) and you have excellent credit, what happens?
valancyjane valancyjane 9 years
So the advice here is ... to keep using the credit cards I had before marriage? It's a little unclear. That aside, it is scary how new an idea it is that married women can keep their own credit, separate from their husbands. When my mom got married and called JC Penney to change the name on her credit account with them, they wanted to put her account in my dad's name - they didn't want her to have her own account, just because she was married. And this was 1972!! She closed the account rather than give in to their nonsense and she rarely shops there now.
cmd0610 cmd0610 9 years
Good advice! I've got 9 months to think about this before the "big day" . . . which means one more thing to plan haha
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