For richer, for poorer?

June 26, 2012, 3:02 PM GMT+0

32% UK adults with a partner haven't seen partner's credit report; 17% say none of their business

Significant numbers of people are in the dark about their partner’s finances, our research for credit report specialists Callcredit Information Group has found, leading the group to urge couples to spend time planning for their ‘financial futures’.

Our poll questioned 2,057 UK adults (of which 1,507 had a partner).

  • 32% of UK adults who have a partner haven't seen their partner's credit report, the poll shows
  • Nearly a fifth (18%) do not know how much debt, if any, their partner has
  • 17% of people believe that their partner’s credit report is none of their business
  • While one in ten (10%) do not know how much their partner earns

Across the regions, the poll found couples in Wales to be the most open about money, with 74% of people having some knowledge of their partner’s financial history there. Those in London were the least likely to share, with 40% admitting they did not know what their partner’s financial history was like, followed by the West Midlands and the East Midlands, both at 38%.

A 'financial association'

The research also found that although more than half (53%) of couples have some form of joint finance, such as a shared bank account or mortgage, many UK adults (43%) did not know that joining finances in this way would automatically create a ‘financial association’ on their credit report.

Once a financial association is established, lenders may take both partners’ financial histories into account when assessing future requests for credit, even if later applications are made in only one name. As a result, if one person has a poor credit history, they could damage their partner’s chances of getting finance.

Owen Roberts from Callcredit said: “It is important that couples understand their financial strengths and weaknesses – especially if they’re planning to take on any joint borrowing, such as a loan for a wedding or a mortgage on a house. Pooling your resources with your partner can make sense in many cases, but for some, it may be more sensible to keep your finances separate, particularly if one partner has a poor credit history.

“Although it is encouraging that the vast majority (66%) of couples have some knowledge of their partner’s financial history, only one in five (20%) of these have seen what is on their partner’s credit report, which is the most reliable way of assessing credit-worthiness.

We’d urge all couples to check their reports before deciding whether to apply for a joint loan, mortgage or bank account together. You can see your report online with our free for life service, Noddle.”

See the survey details and full results here