Personal Finance

Credit Rating Question for Married Couple

  • Last Updated:
  • Jan 21st, 2014 7:05 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Feb 28, 2010
44 posts
2 upvotes

Credit Rating Question for Married Couple

Hey guys. Quick question. My wife and I got married this past summer and right now the only credit card we have is the Costco AMEX. We're looking into options now for either a VISA or a MasterCard and we had a question about maintaining and building your credit rating. If we have credit cards that are only in my name, or only in her name, will that mean that only that one person is considered to be developing their credit? What happens if 10 years down the road the other person decides to apply for credit, will they be declined because they'll have no credit history for that time? What if we apply together, as joint applicants. Does the primary applicant get their credit rating impacted? Do both do? How does that work?
3 replies
Newbie
Dec 22, 2008
41 posts
4 upvotes
The primary card holder is the only one whose credit rating is affected by credit cards that you hold jointly. You should both be developing your credit rating now, by each being the primary holder of credit in the form of credit cards, car loans, etc. so that you'll both have strong credit ratings later if you decide to apply for a mortgage together. It's actually safer to each hold credit cards separately so that in the unfortunate event one of you turns out not to have the self-discipline to properly manage a credit card, there is no possibility they will cause damage to the other spouse's credit rating.
Deal Fanatic
Apr 16, 2007
7059 posts
1963 upvotes
Financial District B…
nano4288 wrote:
Jan 21st, 2014 2:45 pm
Hey guys. Quick question. My wife and I got married this past summer and right now the only credit card we have is the Costco AMEX. We're looking into options now for either a VISA or a MasterCard and we had a question about maintaining and building your credit rating. If we have credit cards that are only in my name, or only in her name, will that mean that only that one person is considered to be developing their credit? What happens if 10 years down the road the other person decides to apply for credit, will they be declined because they'll have no credit history for that time? What if we apply together, as joint applicants. Does the primary applicant get their credit rating impacted? Do both do? How does that work?
There are two camps. Joint and Authorized User. If the account is joint/in both names then both of you will gain credit history on the account. If he/she is an authorized user then only the primary card holder gains credit history.
If you apply as joint, both individual bureaus will be pulled to access and underwrite the credit product you're applying for.
The best credit building product to apply for as joint is an auto loan. Even if the auto loan is for you or her apply in both names so each gets an instalment credit experience on bureau. This is best for new credit.
Only caveat is the debt service ratio will affect both parties if either one of you decide you want to apply for other credit down the road prior to loan maturity.
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Moderator
May 28, 2012
10072 posts
2240 upvotes
Saskatoon
I share a main Visa and MC with my husband but I also have a Visa in my own name that gets used quite frequently for internet purchases. I think it has a $2500 limit. The main Visa is for most other things because it has the high annual fee. It's important to have a credit card in your name, but don't forget you need to use it too.

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