Ask Terry Questions Getting Credit?

Getting Credit?

By Terry Savage on February 18, 2014 | Credit/Debt

I am 71 years old my husband is a retired physician 75 years old. All of our credit cards and the household bills are in my husband’s name. I just learned that when I applied for my own credit card without using his income I could not get a card. I find that outrageous since I am the one who has paid the bills all of our lives and have a FICO score of 840 because I have been very careful about paying everything on time. Please tell me how to get my own credit cards and how to put the household accounts in my name instead of his. I have recently encountered a new credit card that would not talk to me about a question I had about the account, and even Comcast required to speak to my husband first. It infuriates me since he would never have paid the bills on time if it were up to him. I have done it for 40 years but he gets all the credit. Literally!!! Thank you.

Terry Says: 

It is very important that women create credit in their own name.  That usually happens at a young age these days, or when you buy a home in joint tenancy and the mortgage payments are reported in both spouse’s names.  The only way to find out if this is happening is to check your credit report.  You can do that online at  This is the site mandated by the government that allows you a total free report.
If you do NOT have credit in your own name, it is never too late to start building your own credit record.  Go to and click on “Secured Credit Cards.”  They will give you a list of banks offering regular Visa and Mastercards, but they are “secured” with a deposit you make to a savings account at the bank.  Then start using this card regularly, and paying promptly — and your payment history will be reported to the credit bureaus. Before long, you’ll be receiving offers for more cards, which do not require a savings deposit.  Open another account, use it regularly, and pay on time.  That’s how to build your credit report from scratch.
And as to your existing accounts, do this NOW while your husband is alive — because if he dies before you it will be a nightmare.  Contact each and every one of those accounts, and ask for a form that your husband can sign to include you on the account title.  Otherwise, you will have trouble getting service on your own if he passes away!



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