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More than half of coupled-up Brits discuss money once a week

Written by: Emma Lunn
But credit reference agency Experian found a worrying lack of awareness about how financial associations are formed.

More than half (56 per cent) of Brits in a relationship discuss their finances at least once a week, with one in 10 (12 per cent) couples having a money chat as often as once a day, according to Experian.

The study found that couples typically start discussing finances 18 months into a relationship. But even though established couples regularly talk about their finances, 70 per cent don’t know their partner’s credit score.

Experian also found there is a lack of awareness on how financial associations are formed and the impact they can have on an individual’s chances of being approved for credit.

A financial association is a link that ties two people’s credit reports together, usually when they apply for a bank account or joint credit. Lenders look at financial associations when making lending decisions – for both individual and joint applications – which means they may check your partner’s credit history.

Experian said a third of those in a relationship are unaware that opening a joint bank account (33 per cent) or applying for joint credit together (34 per cent) will create a financial association on their credit report. Yet three in five (58 per cent) couples share a bank account – and so are financially linked.

James Jones, head of consumer affairs at Experian, said: “It’s encouraging to see that so many couples are comfortable to discuss financial matters with their partner. Just like sitting down to do a weekly shop, discussing weekend arrangements or watching a series on Netflix – or Love Island – couples should regularly discuss their finances to ensure they are achieving their financial goals. However, many are missing a trick by not discussing their credit scores, which give a holistic view of their credit report and are a guide to how lenders may view them.

“Understanding yours and your partner’s credit score and history is an important step, especially for those that are considering moving in together or buying their first home.

“Similarly, taking the time to understand how you can become financially linked to someone – and checking your financial associations – can help avoid future disappointments such as credit refusal or not getting the best rates.”

Experian’s top five myths of financial associations

  • Myth 1: My partner can only positively impact my credit score.

This isn’t true. Financial ties don’t affect your credit score, but they can have a positive or negative impact on your credit applications. If your partner has a positive credit history, lenders may view your credit applications more favourably. But if your partner has a bad credit history, it could affect your own borrowing capabilities.

  • Myth 2: Becoming an additional cardholder on someone else’s credit card will create a financial association.

This isn’t true either. Credit card applications are different in that only one person (the person applying) is credit checked. As an additional account holder, you can use the main applicant’s credit limit but it is their sole responsibility to repay the debt.

  • Myth 3: Buying a pet together can create a financial association.

This is another myth that’s not true. While caring for a pet can bind two people together, it does not create a financial link on your credit report.

  • Myth 4: Checking your eligibility for a joint loan will create a financial association.

This isn’t true either. A soft search on your credit report won’t impact your score and you won’t create a financial link with your partner until you apply.

  • Myth 5: Sharing the same address will create a financial association.

Surprisingly, this isn’t true either. Sharing an address doesn’t create a financial tie. Your credit reports will only be linked together if you apply for a joint account.

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