If money and relationships are an uncomfortable mix, then credit and romance are downright strange bedfellows.
"You may say you know everything about a person, but you probably don't know anything about his credit record," says Adam Levin, founder of Credit.com.
Now, a frequently aired TV commercial featuring a forlorn young husband forced to live with his in-laws because he was clueless about his bride's abysmal credit is aiming to spur young lovers to share credit scores.
Of course, the commercial's sponsor, the Web site freecreditreport.com, is hoping to rev up its credit information sales, too. Romantic partners are a big, untapped market.
It's important that consumers know that the only Web site where they can obtain a free credit report is AnnualCreditReport.com, a site set up by the federal government. One credit report per year from each of the reporting agencies is available for free to consumers.
"We have found that people often aren't interested in reviewing their credit report until there is a life event which makes them aware of how important it is," says Heather McLaughlin, spokeswoman for Experian Americas, the parent of freecreditreport.com. "The commercial about the couple living in the basement addresses one of those life events where knowing each other's credit prior to getting into a financial obligation together would have been helpful," she says.
Have Credit or Debt Questions? More Stories from Bankrate.com:
But according to relationship experts, it will take much more than a commercial to get someone to present his partner with a report detailing his sinking debt.
Don't mention it
In a recent study of 50,000 couples who went through its marriage preparation course, Life Innovations finds "a large percentage of partners don't talk about money or credit issues in any detail at all," says Peter Larson, clinical psychologist and vice president of the Minneapolis firm.
They may prefer to remain mum about finances and credit, but these issues are major irritants to the 50,000 couples, adds Larson.