Have you gotten married? Congratulations!
Now, it’s time to check your credit report.
Credit bureaus get their information about you from two places: The Social Security Administration, which verifies your identity, and from your creditors, who report your activity.
If you’ve changed your name legally, one of the first places you should contact is the Social Security Administration, who will change the name associated with your Social Security number. Among other things, that should update the name on your credit report automatically.
Notice that we say should.
If everything goes correctly, after informing the SSA, your new name will appear on your credit report with your previous name (or names) listed as an “alias,” with all of your appropriate credit information. In rare cases, it doesn’t work, and your credit information is split into two separate files, therefore robbing you of some of your hard-earned credit.
Plus, even if your aliases are assigned appropriately, that’s only once source of a credit bureau’s information about you. The other is your creditors, which is why you’ll want to reach out and make sure they also have the right name on file — and that it’s spelled correctly.
While having multiple aliases sounds very cloak-and-dagger, it’s actually aboveboard. Having multiples is only an issue if it causes problems, like when credit activities aren’t associated with your aliases. If you’ve been diligently paying off your credit cards, maintaining your lines of credit, and doing an all-around great job, you’ll want the credit history.
And it isn’t just after a wedding that you’ll want to make sure your report is up-to-date. If you get divorced or if you change to a professional moniker — basically any time you change your legal name — you’ll want to make sure that the bureaus recognise it’s still you. You can request a copy of your report from each of the three credit bureaus once a year for free at annualcreditreport.com.
If you’re missing accounts or activity, or if your name is misspelled, it’s a mistake that you’re allowed to dispute.