Credit tips for couples

A credit score can determine many things, but many people will be surprised to know credit can have a dramatic affect on your love life. A recent study conducted by FreeCreditScore.com found both men and women find it important for their significant others to have a healthy level of credit. FreeCreditScore Senior Vice President Ken Chaplin said that being cautious about credit is important to a relationship.

"Women are clearly more focused on this than men, but a lot of guys say they are thinking about things like the future co-signing of loans or how one partner's bad credit score may impact the other," Chaplin said. "It makes sense in this economy that we see increased scrutiny from both men and women; a low credit score is a warning of potential problems down the road, after vows are exchanged."

Couples – or even those in the dating world – should know the basics of credit when it involves couples.

Know the history
Before you make a financial leap with your partner, you will want to know their credit history. Credit is an important aspect of anyone's life and it is important to a couple's future. If one of the parties in a relationship has bad credit, that might be a deal breaker. But Melinda Opperman, senior vice president for Springboard Credit Counseling, said combining accounts can help repair credit.

"You can make [your partner] a joint account holder or an authorized user on a credit card," she said. "Your credit score is going to help them tremendously to increase their score."

But if you decide to combine finances, be warned there are some risks.

Lenders see only one account
Merging dual accounts means you now have one credit account. An article from Time said if you forget to make payments or commit any delinquencies, a lender will hold you both accountable, no matter who is actually responsible. Knowing each other's credit history will prevent mistakes, like being late on a payment, from happening.

Maintain a good standing
If you are jointly applying for credit or a loan, a lender will often look at the lower of the two scores. It is important to maintain a good credit standing because a lender will not average the two scores. Barry Paperno, consumer operations manager at MyFICO, said there is no full proof way to mask a bad credit score.

"When one score for each borrower is obtained by the lender, such as in credit card and auto lending, a minimum score requirement exists for the lowest of the two scores."

Knowing the ins and outs of credit can help create a healthy relationship.