Financial Planning for Generation X & Y Women
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Expert Q&A Archive

Can my spouse and I both get free credit reports?
Am I correct [in assuming that] if you're married your spouse would have to have the chance to also get three individual credit reports from these three credit bureaus. And if that is the case, what would you suggest is the best strategy -- to stagger these inquiries or get them all at the same time?
Gerri Detweiler:
expert info »
Yes, each spouse must get his or her own credit file from each of the three credit agencies. I see no reason to stagger those inquiries. Since each agency collects its own information, there is no reason to allow a mistake on one to go uncorrected.
Jody Rorick, CPA:
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I don't think it matters if you stagger the inquiries or not. I think it's better to find out what you can right away.
Bettye J. Banks:
expert info »
Your credit report is individual, as is your spouse. It is entirely possible for one of you to have accounts that the other never even knows about, so yes, you should both get individual copies of your credit reports. You should share the results of those reports with each other.
Absolutely stagger your requests for your reports. That way you have a snapshot at several points during the year as to where you stand.
Rebecca Schreiber CFP:
expert info »
The timing for ordering your free annual credit reports depends on the purpose of your inquiry. For example, if you are about to make a significant purchase like a car or home it is best to get all three so that there are no surprises when you set up financing. If you are
ordering your credit reports to monitor the health of your credit then ordering one every four months will keep you up to date throughout the year. For spouses it is simpler to check your credit reports at the same time so you only have to remember four times per year instead of eight.