Cosigning a loan for a friend or family member may seem like a good way to help your loved one establish credit or get back on track financially. But be sure to use your head as well as your heart to make the decision. Why? When you agree to cosign a loan, you become equally responsible for the debt. That means you will have to make payments and satisfy the loan if your friend or family member doesn’t or can’t. A recent survey by an online credit card marketplace shows that 38 percent of cosigners had to repay some or all of a cosigned loan. Another financial impact: cosigning the loan negatively affected the credit score of 28 percent of cosigners because the other person didn’t make payments or made them late. Cosigning has an emotional side, too. According to the survey, 26 percent of cosigners said the experience damaged the relationship with the person they were trying to help.
This is not a decision you should take lightly and if the person you are trying to help is not a son or daughter, We strongly suggest doing your homework on their credit history and the status of their current debt. A discussion with an attorney on ways you can protect yourself would be worth the time and expense.