Credit Scores – a personal thing
My partner’s already got their credit score so I don’t need to bother, right?
If only! You definitely should.
Credit scores and the credit files and reports they are based on, are unique to you as an individual.
They can contain information from before you met your partner, applications for credit you might have made individually, and credit events (such as late payments or defaults) you might have experienced.
If you make a joint application with your partner for something like a home loan, the potential lender will likely check both of your credit files before deciding whether to accept or reject the application. So any credit enquiries that you have made together can appear on both your credit file and your partner’s.
If things go wrong and jointly held credit products go unpaid or fall into default this can affect both of your credit scores too. This means that jointly held credit products should be one of the first things you consider financially in the event of a break up, separation or divorce. ASIC’s MoneySmart website has some useful information on this (and lots of other things) and you can have a read of our Credit Savvy Key Resources page too.
Another thing to consider is that if all applications are made in the name of one partner, the other person may not build up an active credit file, which could then affect their ability to get credit in the future.
Monitoring your own credit file can also give you some peace of mind against identity theft. If there is something on there that you have no knowledge of, it could be that someone has used your identity to try to obtain credit!
You should always check your file for errors too. Incorrect information can negatively impact your credit score and hurt any future applications for credit.
So, given all this… if you’ve checked your score but your partner hasn’t, then you should definitely give them a nudge! If you haven’t checked your own yet, what are you waiting for? Check your credit score today!