In a recent survey, some 70 percent of the women polled say that their ideal partner in marriage must be financially savvy. Oh, and they would like him to have a good sense of humor, an attractive winning smile, and the ability to manage money. Of course, the guys who are deemed penny pinchers might still have a bit of charm, but let's be frank about this: any woman deciding to tie the knot with a man who is not on time with his credit card, tax return, or other payments should recognize that her own financial standing could be damaged. By the way, Lloyds of London has a special tip for you women: men are twice as likely as you to spend now and "try" to save later.

So, with this in mind, whenever a lender starts sizing you up for a loan, credit card, or a mortgage, that lender will access all relevant information using your address and surname. This means that if you have taken your husband’s name, his data will show up on your file. Therefore, it follows rather simply that if he has black marks on his credit file, you may be turned down for a loan, or be obligated to pay higher interest rates.

Naturally, it is no longer taken for granted that brides will automatically take their husband’s name even though one wedding planning service claims that three out of four women will do so. However, for you women out there busily practicing a new signature, all is not at a loss. Lenders are now using a birth date when they carry out a credit search. This means that information for every inhabitant in a household will remain separate, even if they share a surname.

Equifax, a credit reference agency, says, “To avoid getting tagged with a bad credit history, individuals can put a notice of disassociation on their credit record. Lenders are required to read this notice before making any lending decisions.” Admittedly, this is not a complete solution to the problem. Keep in mind that buying a home with your partner, taking out a loan together, or even having a joint bank account means that you will be financially joined at the hip, whether you share a surname or not.

To be fair, this doesn't only apply to men. If a girlfriend of yours tells you about debt collectors turning up in the middle of a birthday party, take note. The bad-credit-history-skeleton may be hiding in her cupboard.

Experian, another credit reference agency, says: “There are new rules coming down that will allow lenders to see information about relevant third parties. But if an individual wants a copy of their file, this information will not be shown.”

Being connected to someone with a bad credit rating doesn't mean that credit is beyond reach. It really depends on the lender. It's been stated time and time again that lenders assess people differently, with distinct credit scoring criteria. The lender will decide how much weight is given to an impaired credit rating.

Therefore, if you are turned down for credit and you think that it may be because of your partner’s negative history, you can ask the lender to reconsider. One saving grace here. Those who have experienced some financial hiccups can heave a sigh of relief after six years because any information that goes back further than six years is usually expunged from the credit files.

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