If you’ve recently gotten married, congratulations! We wish you a lot of luck in your new life together. Now, it’s time to check your credit report and change your name with the Social Security Administration.
The reason is simple; Credit bureaus receive their information about all consumers from two places, the Social Security Administration and creditors. The SSA a will help them verify your identity and your credit activity will be reported by your creditors.
If you’ve recently been married and had your name legally changed, contacting the Social Security Administration is one of the first things you should do after you get back from your honeymoon. What they will do, among other things, is change the name on your Social Security card so that your new name and your old number are matched. This, in most cases, will update your name on your credit report automatically.
In some cases however, it won’t, and your hard earned credit history might possibly will be split into another, separate file that robs you of that history. Normally your name will appear in its new form on your credit report and your previous name, or names, will also be listed there as one of your “aliases”.
Of course even if all of that is correct, you’ll want to make sure that your new name is listed correctly with all of the major credit bureaus. You want to also make sure that they have it spelled correctly and, by asking for your three credit reports from the “Big 3” credit agencies (Experian, Trans Union and Equifax) you’ll be able to do just that. (You get a free copy of each of them once a year.)
Checking your credit report and checking in with the SSA is not only a good idea after you’ve been married but also after you’ve changed your name for any other reason and even after you’ve just got divorced (if you’re planning on switching back to your maiden name).
In short, any time you change your name legally you’ll want to make sure that the federal government and credit bureaus recognize that this “new person” is still the same old you.
You can request a copy of your 3 reports from Experian, Trans Union and Equifax once a year for free at annualcreditreport.com. If you see that there’s been a mistake, there is missing activity or your name is misspelled, you’ll need to dispute those mistakes and make sure that they make the necessary changes.
And again, congratulations!