Does Changing a Name Affect Credit History Reports?
It is common that people change their name for a number of reasons. Some legally change their name after getting married and others change their name as a way of starting a new life. Regardless of the reason, the name change can affect credit history. Many consumers are unaware of the affect that a name change can have on their credit history report. There are certain precautions that consumers must take to ensure that their credit remains intact.
The Affect of a Name Change
Changing a name is almost like creating a new person. It is common that when consumers change their name that their information does not get reported accurately to their credit reports. Either they do not receive credit for their past information on their credit under the old name, or the new information is not reported under the new name. Either way, the credit report does not reflect the true credit history of the consumers.
This can cause a problem for consumers who wish to receive credit because it could appear as though they do not have enough or any established credit. This situation can make it hard for someone who is trying to build or rebuild credit.
A name change can also be a problem when consumers have a new name that is shared by many other consumers. For example, if someone changes their name from Mary Poland to Mary Smith, this person may share a name with thousands of other Mary Smith’s. It is very important to monitor credit reports—especially when sharing a common name with others. It is common that information ends up of the wrong credit reports. A situation like this can lead to a low credit score and denial of credit for someone who changes their name.
Considerations When Changing a Name
Here are a few things that can help to keep credit history intact when legally changing a name:
- Make sure that the information is reported. Consumers should report their name change to the Social Security Administration, Department of Motor Vehicle, and Internal Revenue Service in order to make the name change legal. This is very important for recently married women. Until they go through this process, their maiden name remains their legal name.
- Change the name on all open accounts. Telephone bills, credit card statements, mortgage payments, payroll checks, retirement accounts, etc. must be changed as soon as the name is legally changed in order to prevent credit history issues. The companies may require that you provide a copy of documentation that the name has been officially changed before they can change them on the accounts. Consumers should take care of this as soon as possible to ensure that information is reported accurately.
Once consumers have changed their name legally, they should periodically check their credit report to ensure that the information is reported accurately. Many problems can arise during the name change process that can cause problems with the way that credit history information is reported on credit reports. Follow the above steps, and you should be able to maintain the appropriate annual credit report information.