Couples that don't share credit scores are more likely to split, survey says

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Couples that don't share credit scores are more likely to split, survey says

Does your significant other know your credit score? If the answer is no, you may want to think about sharing those digits.

A Policygenius survey found couples that don't share credit scores are seven times more likely to split. Nearly one in five (17.5%) individuals in relationships who don't know each others' credit scores plan to leave their partner due to money issues. Comparatively, only 2.5% of those who know their partner's creditworthiness say they plan to do the same.

In other words, people who don't know their partners' credit scores are seven times more likely to want to leave those relationships.

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The results are based on a survey of 1,526 adults across the U.S. conducted through Google Surveys in late August 2018.

Policygenius' survey found one in five couples manage money separately. Those who do are less likely to know key information about each other's finances (including salaries, debts, assets and credit scores) — and more apt to break up than couples managing money together.

This desire to leave likely has little to do with the couple's choice to keep separate financial beds. There are plenty of reasons to avoid pooling money with a partner. One person, for instance, might have an inheritance they need to protect or, conversely, student loan debt they don't want to risk paying with joint assets.

But tensions can arise when significant others aren't privy to each other's financial woes, especially since those issues can make it much harder for families to hit major money milestones. Case in point: A bad credit score can make it much harder to buy a home or secure an affordable lease on a mini-van.

The benefits of telling your partner about your credit

Credit scores are designed to help lenders, insurers and other service providers assess whether you'll pay a financial contract as agreed. They're based off of your payment history, credit utilization rate (how much debt you're carrying versus how much credit is available to you), credit history, number of credit applications and types of credit accounts. All of that information appears on your credit report, which is compiled by the three major credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Dating someone with bad credit won't directly affect your credit score. There's no such thing as a shared credit report. However, there are a few ways a partner's low digits can bleed into your financial life.

For instance, if you apply for a loan together, the lender will base the interest rates on both of your credit scores, so you might wind up paying more for financing. And, if your significant other mismanages a joint account, those blemishes will appear on your credit report and damage your credit score.

Transparency can help couples make informed decisions about their finances and work toward shared goals. For instance, the partner with good credit might consider adding the partner with bad credit as an authorized user to a credit card account so they can improve their score.

How to check your credit

You can pull your credit reports for free each year via AnnualCreditReport.com and you can monitor your credit scores for free each month via several credit sites or credit card issuers.

Learn how to improve your credit — or how your significant other can improve their credit — in 30 days or less.

Image: Kelly Sikkema