My fiance has bad credit due to his ex-wife whom racked up credit card debt when they were together without his knowing. They ended up filing for bankruptcy during the divorce. I would like to help him rebuild his credit. My credit scores are around 800. If I have his name added to my credit cards (most with low or no balances). Will this improve his credit score faster? And as long as the payments are made on time every month, will this drop my credit score significantly by simply having his name added? How will this affect each of our scores? Thanks.
A good way to use your positive credit to help improve your husband's credit profile would be to add him as an authorized user on several of your credit cards. This is commonly called "piggybacking."
Many credit card companies report their card payment histories on the credit reports of both the primary cardholder and any authorized users. Making your husband an authorized user will allow your positive credit lines to appear on his credit report and hopefully improve his credit score. Reporting accounts on the credit reports of authorized users is allowed by federal law, despite the fact that authorized users are not legally liable for the debts. The purpose behind this law was to assist women, who in the past had a very difficult time establishing credit independent of their husbands, to use their husbands' accounts to build their own independent credit profile.
In your case, the wife is trying to help the husband, but the effect should be the same. Before deciding the credit cards to which you wish to add your husband's name, I encourage you to contact the card issuers to discuss their policies regarding credit reporting for authorized users to make sure you choose card companies that will report the account histories on your husband's credit reports.
Please keep in mind that your husband's bankruptcy, which has a strongly negative impact on his credit rating, will appear on his credit report for ten years from the date of filing. Adding him as an authorized user on your positive trade lines may improve his score, but the bankruptcy may prevent him from achieving a good credit rating for several years. The more time that passes from the date of the bankruptcy, the less impact it will have on his score; hopefully the new accounts appearing on his report will help him rebuild his score over time. However, you should not expect a sudden jump in his credit rating simply by adding him as an authorized user on your credit cards.
Concerning your credit rating, adding your husband as an authorized used on your accounts should have no impact on your credit score. Your account information will appear on his credit report as an authorized user, but his derogatory items should not appear on your credit profile. If you are concerned about his negative credit affecting your credit rating, I encourage you to periodically review your credit report to make sure that none of his accounts are appearing improperly on your credit report. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus such as, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, once every twelve months by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. I also encourage your husband to review his reports so he can dispute any inaccurate derogatory items that may be damaging his score. See the Federal Trade Commission document FTC Facts for Consumers: How to Dispute Credit Report Errors for more information.
If you would like to learn more about credit, credit reporting, and credit scores, I invite you to visit the Bills.com Credit Help page.
I wish you the best of luck in you and your husband's efforts to rebuild his credit rating and hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.