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Marriage can be a very exciting time in your life but it also comes with many changes, how you handle your finances is one of the most important changes. It may not be romantic to discuss your finances with your significant other but it’s absolutely necessary considering you will be sharing your lives with one another. In addition to your financial goals, one topic you should discuss with your partner is credit as it can have a serious impact on your financial goals together.

Credit Scores In Canada

A credit score is a three-digit number that tells potential lenders how good you are at managing your finances. Your credit scores are based on how you’ve used credit. Credit scores range between 500 and 780 for the average Canadian consumer, but credit scores can actually range anywhere from 300 to 900. The higher your number is, the less risky you’ll look to future lenders. 

Having and maintaining good credit is important as it can impact the types of credit products you qualify for. It also impacts the rates you get and the terms of your loan.  So when you get married, it’s ultimately a good idea to consider how it may impact your credit. 

Free Equifax credit score

Does Getting Married Impact My Credit Scores? 

No, getting married will have no impact on your credit scores. Here’s what happens to your credit when you get married: 

You Both Will Continue To Have Your Own Credit Scores 

You and your spouse’s credit reports don’t merge when you get married. Because your credit report is linked to your Social Insurance Number (SIN), your report will only display information related to you. That being said, if you and your spouse have a joint credit product, the information pertaining to those joint products will be reflected on both of your credit reports.

Joint Credit Accounts Will Affect You Both 

If you and your spouse decide to open a joint credit account like a joint mortgage, that account can affect both your credit scores. Any missed payments would appear on both your credit reports, which can negatively affect your credit scores. Similarly, any positive credit activity on these joint credit accounts can also have a positive impact on your credit. 

Both Your Credits Will Affect Joint/Shared Credit Applications 

If you and your spouse apply for a joint credit account, both your credit profiles will be taken into consideration when approving you. That means, that if your spouse has poor credit or high debt, it can affect your odds of approval and may even lead to higher interest rates, than if you applied alone. 

Can A Name Change Affect Your Credit? 

No, updating your name will have no impact on your credit scores. A name change also does not mean a new credit report will be created under your new name. Your credit report is tied to your Social Insurance Number, so all your credit activity under your new name will continue to be reported on your current credit report. 

To ensure your name is correctly updated, be sure to notify your bank, credit card issuers and other financial institutions you’re associated with of the change. You also need to contact the credit bureaus in Canada to notify them of the change. 

  • Equifax: You can contact Equifax using their customer service phone number or by filling out the “Consumer Update form” and mailing it to their office. 
  • TransUnion: To change your name with TransUnion, you’ll have to contact their customer support line at 1-800-663-9980. 

Marrying Someone With Poor Credit, Will Your Credit Be Affected?

Being married to someone with poor credit will have no impact on your credit scores. Although, there are scenarios where your spouse’s poor credit could impact you. 

Joint Accounts

If you and your spouse have joint credit products and the lender reports to a major credit bureau, the information related to those products will show on both of your credit reports. If the account is in good standing and you make your payments on time, the impact will be positive. On the other hand, if the account is in poor standing both of your scores could be negatively impacted.

Applying For New Credit

If you and your spouse are considering applying for a credit product together, the lender will typically pull both spouse’s reports during the risk rating process. In this scenario, if one spouse has poor credit, this could hinder your ability to get approved. This is why it’s important to check your own credit on a regular basis and have an honest conversation about credit before applying for a loan or credit card together. 

 CostCredit ScoreCredit Report 
CompareHub logoFreeYesYesVisit Site
Borrowell logoFreeYesYesVisit Site
CreditKarma logoFreeYesYes-

How Are Errors On Joint Credit Accounts Handled When Disputed With One Of The Credit Bureaus

If there is an error on your credit report about one of your joint accounts with your spouse, you can file a dispute to correct it. However, this does not mean that your spouse’s account will automatically be disputed and corrected along with yours. He or she will have to start a dispute on their own to have that information corrected as well. 

Do Married Couples Have To Apply For Credit Together? 

No, marriage does not mean that you and your spouse are required to apply for credit together. You can apply for credit entirely by yourself which may be an ideal option if one spouse has better credit than the other. As previously mentioned, lenders evaluate both applicants on joint credit applications, so if you or your spouse has bad credit, it can lead to higher interest rates.  

Can Your Spouse’s Debt Affect Your Credit?

When you get married, the debt you’ve incurred prior to it, remains your own. Debt is not shared between spouses unless you apply for a joint credit account. Debts under these accounts are both your responsibility and can affect your credit if handled irresponsibly. Any missed or late payments will appear on both your credit reports, which can negatively impact your credit scores.

Marriage And Credit Scores FAQs

When I get married, will all my bank accounts become joint accounts?

No, you and your spouse’s bank accounts will not automatically merge upon marriage. If you and your spouse want to share your finances, you’ll have the option to apply for loans, credit cards, and bank accounts together. Alternatively, you can add your spouse as an authorized user to your existing accounts.

Who are Canada’s credit bureaus? 

There are two major Canadian credit bureaus that collect and distribute credit information, they are Equifax and TransUnion.

Will having my maiden and married name on my report have an effect on my credit if this is not my first marriage?

No, personal information has no impact on your credit. 

Are my spouse and I still entitled to one free copy of our individual credit reports each year from the two major credit bureaus?

Yes, both you and your spouse are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. In fact, you can access your credit report for free anytime online through Equifax. With TransUnion, you can get your consumer disclosure online for free each month.  Requesting a free copy will have no impact on your or your spouse’s credit. 

Will my spouse’s past bankruptcy impact my credit score?

No, your credit history will always remain separate unless you and your spouse have shared credit products. However, it may be challenging for a spouse with a past bankruptcy to be approved for lending in the future. 

Bottom Line

The act of getting married will have no impact on your credit scores. This means that the health of your credit is entirely in your hands regardless of your marital status. When you apply for credit by yourself or with your spouse, your credit scores typically have an impact on your ability to qualify. To ensure your credit remains healthy, make sure to use your credit cards and loans responsibly and monitor your credit scores.

Priyanka Correia, BComm avatar on Loans Canada
Priyanka Correia, BComm

Priyanka Correia is a Marketing Coordinator and personal finance expert at Loans Canada. Priyanka completed her Bachelor's degree in Marketing at Concordia University and has published work that has been mentioned in various news media. She is passionate about money management and educating Canadian consumers about how to take control of their financial lives.

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