‘Til debt do us part?

15% of Brits believe their partner’s credit rating has reduced their chances of getting approved for credit - Experian is encouraging couples to take the time to discuss their credit history before making financial commitments together

LONDON, 18th April 2018: New findings from global information services company Experian reveals that almost one in six (15%) people in the UK say they have been negatively impacted by their current partner or ex’s credit history.

When couples apply for a joint financial product such as a bank account, loan or mortgage, their credit reports are likely to become “linked”. This means that lenders may look at both credit reports when deciding what credit or financial services to offer, and at what rate, for both joint and individual credit applications made in the future.

The research, which involved speaking to 3,000 people across Britain, reveals that one in four people (24%) believe their credit applications have been negatively impacted by another individual. The majority (10%) say they’ve been detrimentally impacted by their partner, 5% by their ex-partner, 5% by someone they were or currently live with, 4% by a parent, 4% by a child and 1% by a friend.

On the flipside, 22% of Brits admit that their credit history has negatively impacted someone else’s ability to get access to credit, and at preferential rates. 12% say it’s affected their partner, 5% someone they were or currently live with, 4% a child, 4% a parent, 2% an ex-partner and 1% a friend.

Financial ties can have a positive or negative impact. If your partner has a more positive credit history, it could mean lenders view your credit application more favourably, potentially meaning better lending rates. However, if your partner has previous bad debt or missed payments on their credit report, it could be affecting your own financial trajectory because the way they manage money may be considered in assessing whether you can keep up with repayments.

James Jones, Head of Consumer Affairs at Experian, comments:

‘By understanding how our finances can become tied to a partner, both for better and for worse, couples can be a financial force to be reckoned with. If couples are open about finances and work together to improve their credit reports and scores, they will be at an advantage when it comes to key financial milestones such as applying for a mortgage together.

The key is to begin talking about finances before you take large financial steps, such as opening a joint bank account or applying for joint credit. By doing this, you’ll both have an idea of what you can achieve and how you may need to improve, and can work together where improvements need to be made.’

Money & relationships

Experian’s research shows that people rate finances as an important factor in a spouse or long-term partner. A third of Brits (33%) think having a partner that is good with money is ‘very important’, rating this over good looks (14%) and a good job (26%).

However, many people are missing out on having informed conversations when talking about money in a relationship, with less than half (42%) saying that they would speak to their partner about their credit history.

James Jones shares his top tips for discussing money when in a relationship.

  1. Talking about personal finances can be difficult but it’s important to talk about money – especially with a new partner and if you’re looking to take the next step in your relationship – to live in harmony and ensure your financial goals are aligned. Take the time to understand each other’s financial situation and set goals together; it may even bring you closer.
  2. Understand how to manage credit and debt, both individually and as a couple – it will help support any credit applications you may need to make in the future, such as for a mortgage. Being honest with each other about what’s realistic and supporting one another may also help those in financial difficulty to get back on track. Remember everyone earns different amounts so what’s achievable for one may not be for the other.
  3. Before applying for joint credit it’s important to understand your “Data Self” – the financial data that makes up your credit report – your partner’s Data Self and how these may affect each other. You can meet your Data Self with Experian, which will give you an indication of your Experian Credit Score and how lenders may view you. This can help you spot and correct any errors and look for ways to boost your score, before you apply for credit together. It can also help you check whether there any old or outdated financial associations on your credit report that you may want to correct.
  4. If it doesn’t work out and you and your partner decide to part ways, remember you must officially ‘disassociate’ with each main credit reference agency, to delink your credit reports in the eyes of lenders and make sure you are no longer affected by each other’s credit ratings.  

Notes to Editors

The research was commissioned by Censuswide using 3,034 respondents, polling a representative selection of the UK population. The survey was in the field from 10/11/17 until 13/11/17.

Contact Details
Priya Sahib, PR Manager – Experian
+44 (0) 203 042 4573

Lucy Hastilow, Senior Account Director – Marlin PR
+44 (0)7880 315 185

About Experian 
Experian® is the world’s leading global information services company. During life’s big moments – from buying a home or a car, to sending a child to college, to growing a business by connecting with new customers – we empower consumers and our clients to manage their data with confidence. We help individuals to take financial control and access financial services, businesses to make smarter decisions and thrive, lenders to lend more responsibly, and organisations to prevent identity fraud and crime.  

We have 16,000 people operating across 37 countries and every day we’re investing in new technologies, talented people and innovation to help all our clients maximise every opportunity.  We are listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and are a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. Learn more at www.experianplc.com or visit our global content hub at our global news blog for the latest news and insights from the company.