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I have a very high credit score and just sort of assumed my wife of 25+ years had a similar score. The mortgage on our house (recently paid off) was in both names. About 6 long held credit cards in my name where she is an authorized user. I just thought as an authorized user of high limit cards (paid in full each month) she would build up a good credit score.

My wife was recently turned down applying for a new credit card. It is one of those cards that gives you a large travel reward bonus if you spend $x in the first 3 months and that is the only reason she applied for the card. It does require a relatively high score (720+). After she was declined I checked her score on Trans Union and it is only 670 (mine is over 800). There are no late payments, depth of credit is 31 years and credit utilization is 1%. I do not understand why hers is so low.

While we have no need for additional credit (now or in the future) I am worried that if something happens to me our current credit card accounts would be closed and she would have a hard time getting new cards in her name.

How can we improve her score? Do we really need to take out small loans (that we do not want or need) in her name? Department store credit cards? Other ways to improve her score?

Thanks,
bclstu
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Just checked, and at Experian, her score is 767! Same info as Trans Union. Why such a difference? I know that Chase used Trans Union for her credit decision.

bclstu.
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I think there is no question that there are some inherent though unspoken biases against woman when it comes to finance and credit worthiness. The algorithms and formulas are supposed to be gender-agnostic, but I remember reading stories about the same credit history returning different scores when submitted as a woman vs. as a man. There have been similar studies demonstrating racial and ethnic discrimination as well. I don't know how legit these are, but this is the definition of systemic.

My suggestion for DW to build up her own credit score would be to do what we all have to do to build up credit. She doesn't have to take out a loan on her own, but if she has a credit card in her name only, making full payments each month can demonstrate the kind of credit usage history that benefits a credit score. It doesn't have to be a lot charged or even transactional. Does the household have a Netflix or Disney+ subscription? Charge it to her card each month, pay it off each month with automatic payments, you don't have to think about it.

Fuskie
Who notes you are not paying for anything more than you would already be paying but it still generates a regular and reliable history of credit usage for DW's benefit...

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I just thought as an authorized user of high limit cards (paid in full each month) she would build up a good credit score.

She needs her own credit card(s) and bank account. Actually there was a good article in today's WSJ Journal Report - How to Prepare Financially for the Death of a Spouse - that you both should read.

As for issues for women - not true and actually not legal for a long time. She might want to go to nerdwallet.com to check out best choice for her first credit card.

BTW, you may have thought the mortgage was in both names but it was likely only reported in yours, especially if yours was the only income used to qualify for it.
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Can you add her as a co-owner and not just an authorized user?

Look for the differences in her credit reports. There could be an inaccurate item on Trans Union or not all are reporting to Trans Union.
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Also, my husband and I have some shared credit cards but also individual credit cards. When traveling we carry different credit cards. If something goes wrong, the other person would still have valid credit cards.

Things go unpredictably wrong with credit cards. I've had a card frozen because I used it at an unusual time of day at a store where I frequently shop. Even though we reported the city where my husband would be traveling, the bank froze the credit card. Fortunately, the text message came to me and I was able to unlock the card before he realized it was locked. He didn't have cell service.
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Thanks for the replies. Seeing that a second credit agency had a much higher score for her, I'm not as worried that she will not be able to get credit on her own.

You may be right re the mortgage but it is showing up on her credit report with a 0 balance.

Maybe Chase declined for a different reason than the credit score. For her income, we entered an amount based on expected investment income (interest, divs) and capital gains from our joint account. Not sure that is correct but there were no instructions and the question did not specify that only earned income should be included.

Thanks.
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Maybe Chase declined for a different reason than the credit score. For her income, we entered an amount based on expected investment income (interest, divs) and capital gains from our joint account. Not sure that is correct but there were no instructions and the question did not specify that only earned income should be included.

Chase should give her a reason letter telling her why they declined her. You need to see what that says. That said - if her TU credit score is 670 and she was applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the credit scores to get approved for that card are usually 700+, so as already suggested, you should check to be sure that TU is really reporting the same accounts and history that the Experian report is.

AJ
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Yes, 7 to 10 days I should get the letter with the reason. I may have jumped the gun assuming it was her credit score.
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