If a prospective lender wants to work out whether or not to give you and your partner joint credit, your file will say that you have a financial association with someone else and the credit company can link through to their file. If they have credit problems, or have struggled to pay back debts in the past, your credit rating could be affected.
If you want to check your credit score, there are three main credit scoring agencies in the UK – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion (formerly Callcredit). If you don’t want to pay to access your credit score, ClearScore* offers a free credit checking service that accesses Equifax data. They also offer free identity protection that scans for stolen passwords, security problems and fraud defence tips.
Other options include MoneySuperMarket’s Credit Monitor tool*, which enables you to check your credit score and report free of charge using data from TransUnion and offers free personalised tips to help it grow. Experian also has a free service that enables you to sign up and check your credit score with them and Totally Money offers a similar service using TransUnion data.
Before entering into any kind of credit agreement with a partner, both of you should check your scores. If your partner has a low score, try to keep your finances as separate as possible, and make sure any debt repayments they make are paid on time.