One in four expect to see partner's credit report


A significant number of Britons say they need to be sure of a partner's creditworthiness before taking on a joint credit card, mortgage or loan agreement, according to new research. Research from Equifax suggests that a partner giving his or her word is simply not enough in many cases, with some Brits refusing to sign on the dotted line before seeing their other half's credit report. couples-and-credit

Brits expect to share credit histories
The company polled 1,051 adults, all married or in relationships, in December 2011. Results show that more than a quarter (27%) of Britons would ask their partners to share their credit reports before applying for a credit card or other joint credit agreement together. Women are particularly cautious when it comes to taking on joint credit, with 28.9% willing to ask for their partner's credit file, compared with 25.9% of men.

Joint finances affect both credit histories
At first glance, the findings may suggest a lack of trust among British couples. However, it is perfectly reasonable to want to check a partner's track record on paying back debts. As Neil Munroe, external affairs director at Equifax, explained, joint financial agreements will affect the credit histories of both parties.

"If you have a joint financial agreement with a partner, then their credit information will be linked to yours for as long as that agreement exists," Munroe explained. "This is because lenders look at all the financial commitments someone has when new credit is applied for -- and if there are joint financial agreements, they are more than likely to look at the credit history of the partner too."

Couples urged to be upfront
Discussing past debts may not seem like the most romantic conversation and is probably not the best subject to bring up on Valentine's Day. But the fact that almost one in five survey respondents had previously hidden a credit card or loan debt from their partner highlights the importance of such discussions. Couples should endeavour to be upfront with any financial agreements, whether they be mortgages, credit cards or car loans.

"And if you already have joint finances, it's especially important to be honest about any late payments," Munroe added.

See related: The pros and cons of sharing credit cards; 5 financial questions you should ask your partner before getting married



Published: 14 February 2012