Changing your name can feel like a fresh start. Whether you’ve got a new name because you got married or you’re joining a new family, it’s a new beginning.

But can it also mean a fresh start for your credit record? Will changing your name reset your credit history?

If you’ve had some problems managing credit, clearing your credit history like this might sound tempting. But you can’t get an entirely new credit history just because you’ve got a new name.

We’ll explain what changing your name does when applying for credit, and how you can start to rebuild your score.

What does changing your name mean for your credit record?

Getting a new name can mean lenders will struggle to find your previous credit history. If they run a credit search with your new name, they can’t link this with your old name automatically.

This is why when you apply for credit, the form will usually ask if you’ve changed your name at any point in the last five years. They can then link up your new name to your old credit history. This will mean that in future, lenders will be able to see your credit history for both names under your new alias.

It’s important that you do this, as you won’t have any credit history under your new name. This could lead to lenders rejecting you as they have no way to tell if you’re a responsible borrower.

You also need to make sure you register to vote when you change your name. This will make sure you’re on the electoral roll – this is what lenders use to verify your identity when you apply to borrow.

How to rebuild your credit record

So, changing your name doesn’t mean a brand-new credit history. But there are a few ways you can rebuild your credit record. Here are some of our top tips.

  1. As we mentioned above, it’s important that you get on the electoral roll. Voting doesn’t improve your credit rating directly but if lenders can’t see you on the electoral roll, they might be more likely to reject you.
  2. If you’ve missed payments in the past, this will damage your credit history for at least six years. But if the six years is almost up, make sure your credit history will be better going forwards by making all your payments on time.
  3. Look at your credit reports with the three credit reference agencies – Experian, Equifax and CallCredit – for any mistakes. If there’s anything wrong, you can send an email to the credit reference agency responsible to update their records. This will ensure that any false defaults or late payments don’t stop you getting credit.
  4. Before you apply for any credit, check to see if the lender is likely to accept you first. Some lenders will let you run a ‘soft credit search’ on your report. This won’t leave a mark on your report and other lenders can’t see the soft search.