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Can a Bad Credit Score Affect Your Partner?

Have you ever looked at your credit profile and wondered why you have other people mentioned as linked to you? There are many reasons why credit reference agencies link profiles and sometimes having a linked profile can be detrimental to your credit score.

In this guide we explore how linked profiles work, why other people feature on your credit profile and how to fix problems.

Can a Bad Credit Score Affect Your Partner?

What is a Linked Profile?

Throughout our life we enter relationships with other people and in some cases these relationships lead to financial connections.

There are many ways financial connections can result from a relationship:

  • Joint bank accounts,

  • Joint liabilities like household bills and Council Tax,

  • Joint debts such as personal loans, mortgages, and car finance agreements.

Additionally, if you sign as a guarantor for a loan for someone else, they will likely be shown as a linked person on your credit profile.

Why Do Companies Care About Linked Profiles?

When a company lends money to you there will be a series of questions, they ask to build up a picture of your financial situation.

These questions are typically around income and expenditure.

The answers to these questions allow a lender to evaluate the risk of lending to you and decide what interest rate to apply to the debt.

Linked profiles are another piece of information a lender can use to assess the risk of lending to you and as such, linked people on your credit profile can both improve or negatively impact your chances of getting finance.

If someone linked to your profile has a bad credit score and does not meet their financial responsibilities, lenders will consider you a higher risk because you may need to provide the linked person with financial support.

What if the Linked Profile has a Bad Credit Score?

If someone you have a linked profile with has a bad credit score you should try and help them improve their credit profile.

This is because their bad credit score can start to negatively impact your credit profile, especially if the linked person is living beyond their financial means and not repaying debts.

If they improve their credit score you will find the fact they are linked to your credit profile has far less impact on your score. If they improve their credit score significantly it can provide a small boost to your credit score.

Historical Linked Profiles

Over time relationships can end and you may find your credit profile has linked profiles from ex-partners.

If the linked profile is no longer a person linked to you in your life, you can in some cases have the linked profile removed.

Typically, credit reference agencies are loathe to remove linked profiles unless there is clear evidence the linked person no longer plays a part in your life. Common reasons a credit reference agency will accept the removal of a linked profile are:

  • The person has died, and you provide a death certificate,

  • There is a court order in place distinctly separating you from the linked person,

  • The linked person has permanently left the country and you have evidence to document this.

In short, outside of official documentation clearly defining the relationship as severed, you will likely find it difficult to remove a linked person from your credit file.

How Long Will Linked Profiles Affect My Credit Profile?

Linked profiles are subject to the same statute of limitations as other finance agreements.

If you have a historical linked profile where there has been no joint financial commitment for over 6 years, the link on your credit score will become dormant.

You should be aware that the 6 years starts from the last payment on the joint commitment rather than the date you took the agreement out.

In this respect it can take much longer before a linked profile becomes dormant on an account especially in cases where you had a long-term financial commitment such as a mortgage.

The good news is that even within the 6 years, the further away your financial ties are to the linked profile, the lower the impact on your credit score. For example, a linked account 5 years ago will have considerably less impact on your credit profile than a recent linked account.

What Can I Do to Remove a Linked Profile?

You are always able to dispute any information held on your credit profile with a credit reference agency.

It helps to provide any documentation why the profile should not be linked to yours anymore and outline a clear statement to assist the investigation of the credit reference agency.

If you disagree with the outcome of the investigation, you should then raise a formal complaint. The credit reference agency will then have a set time to resolve the complaint and provide a final decision.

The final decision is the stance the credit reference agency takes regarding the matter, but you can still escalate the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman if you disagree with the outcome.

Typically, credit reference agencies will do everything they can to resolve a complaint as it costs them money every time a complaint is escalated to the Financial Ombudsman.

What if I don’t Recognise the Person Linked to My Profile?

If you don’t recognise a name linked to your credit profile it can be something innocuous such as mistaken identity and you should be able to remove the linked profile by raising the dispute outlined above.

However, you should be aware sometimes strangers appear as a linked profile in cases of fraud, and you should ask the credit reference agency if they suspect this is occurring.

If you discover or suspect an instance of fraud, you should report the issue to Action Fraud for further investigation.

Reporting the issue with Action Fraud will also strengthen your position in removing the linked profile with the credit reference agency.

Sometimes, you will find you need to contact multiple credit reference agencies to remove linked profiles. Once one agency has taken action the other agencies are more likely to resolve the matter quickly.

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