credit cards

'Seeking fun-loving, SF, high credit score'

Trust me?
For most couples, simply talking about credit is all that's needed, not actually pulling each other's scores or credit records, says Larson. He likens pulling a credit report to a prenuptial agreement. "It implies a lack of trust," he says. "It means you need an underlying confirmation."

Still, just as there can be good reasons for a prenup, there can be reasons why couples need to exchange credit information. "Many more couples are choosing to keep their finances separate, but the tradition is still to combine finances," says Larson. "If I had any reason to believe my partner had a checkered financial past, I may want to sit down with a financial adviser and look at credit scores before I made the decision to combine finances. For some couples, this is an important move to being able to buy a house or finance a car. They need the credit of the individual most worthy of that type of financing."

My number for yours
Federal law prohibits anyone from seeking credit information about another individual for personal reasons without that person's consent. So, you don't have to worry that your significant other is digging up your credit sins behind your back.

But, if it's true love, credit-scarred individuals may have nothing to fear about barring their score. The Internet dating service, True.com, conducted a survey earlier this year of some 2,200 online respondents. In response to a question about whether they would stay in a relationship where their partner had substantial credit card debt or had filed for bankruptcy, 87 percent of men and 80 percent of women said they would.

Marilyn Kennedy Melia is a freelance writer in Northbrook, Ill.

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