How to stop an ex from ruining your credit score


Make sure your credit score and finances are protected (Photo: Getty)

Going through a breakup can be tough enough.

But when the money is at stake, it can get even more complicated.

If you were in a long-term relationship with a partner, you are likely to be “financial associates,” especially if you have entered into joint arrangements, such as taking out a loan or mortgage.

“These financial commitments will show up on your and your partner’s credit reports, which will be reviewed when you submit new credit applications,” says Paul Stringer, director of Norton Finance Group.

He adds: “You can also be financially tied even if you don’t apply for joint credit.

“While breaking up with a partner won’t directly affect your credit score, any joint financial obligation can cause problems.”

That’s why it’s a good idea to get your accounts in order after a breakup – so that there aren’t any surprises down the line.

Experts have shared some ways to make sure your credit score is protected after breaking.

Check your credit report immediately

A good place to start is your credit report itself.

Check it to make sure your ex-partner hasn’t put you on their credit accounts without your knowledge.

Paul Stringer adds, “Also, it will give you a good indication of which accounts you will need to close or modify to remove any financial association.

“You can also set up fraud alerts on your accounts to be notified of activity that suggests identity theft.”

Pay off any joint debt as soon as possible

Chances are you’ve postponed it, but it’s essential to settle joint payments or debts as soon as possible, regardless of their size.

Sarah Holt, Head of Partnerships at Monese, says: “Whether it’s a gas bill, the rest of the agreed rent on your home, a loan for larger household purchases like a fridge freezer, or just the overdraft on your joint bank account, making and dusting off those not-so-fun payments is the key first step in protecting yourself from any future financial surprises.

Close all joint accounts

Vector of young couple woman and man riding tandem bicycle in different directions on wallet background

Make sure you get your credit records and accounts in order after a break-up (Photo: Getty)

Once all payments have been settled, you can proceed to close all joint accounts.

Sarah adds, “This can be done by removing a name (if one party wishes) to be the sole owner of the account in the future, or by requesting the account be closed entirely.

“It should be fairly straightforward to do and can usually be triggered by simply filling out the corresponding online form. “

Contact credit reference agencies

Once these shared accounts are closed, be sure to request that the financial link be removed from your credit report.

James Andrews, personal finance editor at money.co.uk, said: “This will ensure that your credit reports are completely separate.

“You can do this by contacting a credit reference agency like Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. “

This is a crucial step.

Paul adds, “Until that happens, any transaction from your ex-partner could potentially impact your own credit report.”

But there is another issue to be aware of if you are going through a divorce.

Paul says, “Note that changing your name after a divorce will not impact your credit score and you will remain financially bonded to your ex until the link is removed.”

You will therefore still have to perform all these different steps to recover your solo credit report.

Inform homeowners, utility providers and creditors

It’s always a good idea to talk to homeowners, utility providers, and creditors – to keep them up to date on your situation.

Sarah Holt said, “They may have help and advice available which will make things easier and eliminate the need for any future contact between you and your ex.

“For example, your landlord may allow you to both pay the rest of the rent (if both parties choose to waive the contract) separately and directly to them each month, instead of one person taking financial responsibility and running the risk of their ex halting payments.

Change your passwords

Even if you and your ex ended up on good terms, keeping your accounts safe is essential.

Changing all of your passwords and PINs in your credit files, banks, and other financial platforms might seem drastic, but it’s an important step for security.

Sarah Holt adds: “While it is never recommended to divulge PINs and passwords with your partner, many of us are guilty of doing so, or at the very least guilty of choosing identical combinations or very similar on several of our accounts.

“Yes, it can be painful to do in the short term, but changing your passwords and PINs on any accounts your partner may have accessed or known is extremely advisable and may remove the need for awkward conversations in the long term. . ‘

Moneymedics co-founder Eve Obasuyi also recommends removing financial information from all of your devices.

She says: “In the age of internet connectivity, it is important to delete all data from your bank account that may be saved on different websites, but also to make sure that debit or credit cards are not not sent to the address where you may have lived together. ‘

If you want more money saving tips and tricks, as well as money discussing and alerts on deals and discounts, join our Facebook group, Money Pot.

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