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Get married, change name, lose credit rating

Couple getting married

The new Mrs Windsor may not realise it, but there’s a lot of paperwork to complete after changing your name. You could even lose your credit rating – so how can you keep control when you go from Miss to Mrs?

I’m sure the last thing the new Mrs Windsor is concerned about at the moment is changing her name.

What’s more, she probably won’t need to worry about it too much: no doubt she has ‘people’ to sort it out. But it does involve a lot of sorting.

Post-marriage paperwork

Five months after getting married I’m still working on it. There are so many things to change, and I’ve still not finished! Despite having moved only a few months before the wedding I didn’t realise quite how many.

But a name change is more complicated and involved than moving house: and incredibly inconsistent. Some companies want your original marriage certificate; some are happy with a certified copy and others accept just a letter or email.

Then there’s the cost. To change your name on your passport you have to buy a new one. Plus the cost of photos, Check & Send at the Post Office, having any documents returned by Special Delivery, stamps to send letters, and (because I’m overly cautious) sending everything by Recorded Delivery.

New name, new credit rating

Of course you always forget something, like the electoral roll – and that can affect your ability to get credit.

Yes, you heard that right: credit. I didn’t anticipate the effect changing my name would have on my credit rating. I’ve always had a pretty good credit rating, never borrowed loads and I’ve never defaulted on payments and or been declared bankrupt.

I only realised my name change was a problem when I got turned down for a new 0% interest credit card. One of the guys in the Which? money team explained it too me: my new name has a ‘thin file’ with the credit reference agencies – i.e. no, or a limited, history of borrowing – hence the lender’s reluctance to give me credit.

To repair my credit history I had to contact all the credit reference agencies – CallCredit, Equifax and Experian – to set up aliases linking my new name with my old name.

So, a word of caution: when moving house – or changing your name – make sure you keep your details up-to-date. If you get turned down for credit unexpectedly or there’s any unusual activity on one of your accounts, contact the agencies for a copy of your statutory credit report. They’re only £2 and could save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

Is there anything I’ve missed? A new married name is wonderful, and I’m sure Kate’s relishing hers right now, but it does come with a lot of hassle. I just hope there aren’t any more name-changing surprises still to come…

Mikhail says:
7 May 2011

The changing name tradition is ‘out of date’, pointless and bring a lot of paper work. Why bother?

In regards to New Mrs Windsor credit score, now she has the British tax payers’ credit card which no longer requires having good credit score nor paying the bill, in other word she has the fun, we foot the bill.

Jeez, cheer up!

jue says:
8 May 2013

[This comment has been removed for breaking our community guidelines. Thanks, mods]

Jeremy W says:
7 February 2018

Be interested to see how the GDPR regulations due at the end of May 2018 will effect the Finance and Credit scoring industry. The penalties for not protecting personal identifiable information (PII) are very harsh. Multi million pound fines will be the norm. We could see a new credit scoring system evolve as a result. One thing is for sure having a large file on everyone in the country from cradle to grave is extremely risky business.

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My better half retains her own name and never changed it. Why should she? She was always a professional woman, very highly regarded in her own right and her own field and it made no sense to change her name. I don’t see the point, frankly. And her surname is from a bigger clan than mine…

Would you feel the same way if your wife insisted your offsprings took her name instead of yours?

How interesting you should ask that, Beryl. Indeed I would, but we always made decisions regarding the children together (wouldn’t be a very good marriage if either partner ‘insisted’), so we decided to give the children different surnames again: we hyphenated our different surnames for the children. Plays havoc at the travel agents when we all go somewhere together, but otherwise it’s proved quite useful.