How Are FICO Scores Calculated for Married Couples?
Calculating Individual Scores
The FICO score is the single most frequently used measure of credit risk in the entire world. It combines several factors to create a single scaled score for each individual between 300 and 850, with the higher numbers signifying better overall credit.
The largest component in the FICO score is delinquent payments. More than one third of the credit rating is determined by whether a borrower has consistently made payments on time, or, if he has late payments, how many scheduled payments have been missed and how late they were made.
The other major factor is how much outstanding debt and available credit is already out versus annual income. Considerations like the types of credit and length of credit history round out the FICO score, which was created by Fair Isaac Corp. in 1956.
Married Couples and FICO
Though in some legal situations a married couple might be considered a single entity, spouses maintain their separate credit scores throughout marriage, just as they must each have a separate Social Security number or driver license.
The formula for calculating your credit score once you’re married does not change, and the actions of your spouse in accounts that are not jointly held will not change your credit rating with FICO.
For example, if your spouse has a credit card that’s solely in his name, then late payments on that card will not affect your credit score and vice versa. Checks on your spouse’s credit history, such as for a job application, will also not be reflected on your credit report.
Considerations for Married Couples
Though both spouses maintain their own separate FICO scores, the spending and borrowing habits of one spouse can certainly affect the other in both direct and indirect ways.
For starters, any major purchase that’s made in both names, such as a house or car, can be serviced by the lender at the lower of the two credit scores, meaning higher interest rates and potentially being turned down for the loan altogether.
The credit score used to determine the terms of a mortgage will be lower than the higher score between the two.
Spouses also tend to have joint credit or bank accounts, and delinquent payments or overdraft fees in these accounts will reflect in the individual FICO scores of both spouses.