Ask Terry Questions credit in my deceased father’s name only

credit in my deceased father’s name only

By Terry Savage on June 25, 2024 | Credit/Debt

Hello, my dad passed away in 2020. My mom has continued to use one major credit card that they had, each with their respective names. But the credit is in my dad’s name. This has caused some issues. She’s afraid that she can’t get a cc in her own name because she doesn’t have a credit history. Plus it takes time to get a new card and she doesn’t have a backup. What are the rules here?

Terry Says

OK, the first step is to get your mother’s credit report.  Likely her credit history has been reported in her own name and SS number over the years, since she was using a card in her own name.  Go to and search for her credit report.  And while you’re at it, search for your father’s report.  Check to see if he has been reported as deceased.  You might be smart to do that — AFTER you get her credit established.

If there is no credit report in her name, it’s not too late for her to build her own credit report (while continuing to use the existing one in her name).  Follow this link to to learn about “secured cards.”  BAsically, she opens a savings account at a card-issuing bank.  They give her a VISA — and her line of credit is the amount in the deposit account.  She can use it and pay it off in full and on time.  Then she will build credit and easily get another card in her name alone, after about a year.


Once her credit is well established, she should notify the bureaus of her husband’s death. They many not require that she close the existing card — especially if she can show her own credit report.




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