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Adding Authorized Users What Are The Benefits And Risks
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You will often be asked to confirm that you wish to add authorized users to your credit card account when you open a new one. An authorized user is a way to get additional rewards or to help a friend or family member improve credit scores, especially if they have been denied credit in the past.
However, adding authorized users comes with some risks. Be sure to trust any authorized user you add to your account — they are ultimately responsible for any purchases they make using your card.
What is an authorized credit card user?
An authorized user is someone you add to your account that is allowed to make purchases on your account.
You can also share your account access by being a cosigner and a joint cardholder. However, they are different from adding an authorized user in certain key areas.
You, as the primary cardholder are responsible for all debts. However, both the authorized users and you are responsible for any other debts.
The plus side is that you can remove any authorized user from your account at any moment. This is not possible if you are a joint cardholder, cosigner, or other user.
You can also avoid credit checks in the cases where you add an authorized user.
Joint credit card vs. cosigner: Authorized user vs. authorized user
Who is responsible? The primary borrower and cosigner are both cardholders
No credit check? Yes for both cardholders.
Can you delete the user? Yes. At any time. Not without permission from the lender.
Does being an authorized user build credit?
An authorized user can help build credit, especially for teens or young adults who have not had many opportunities to demonstrate responsible credit usage.
Many lenders won’t approve credit applications if there is no history. Credit history can be used by lenders to help them approve credit applications. This could open up new opportunities to access credit and lower interest rates.
Your credit card issuer must report your account to credit bureaus. Lenders must also use a credit scoring method that includes authorized user accounts. Different lenders may use a variety of credit scores. Some scores may not include authorized user activity when determining creditworthiness.
A long history of timely payments will be a benefit to authorized users. However, a history of late payments can negatively impact your credit score. Contact the credit bureaus if this happens. Experian and other credit bureaus will take delinquent user accounts off your credit reports, as you are not legally responsible. Experian reports that they don’t usually include negative payment history on authorized user accounts, however other credit bureaus might include this information.
What credit card companies report authorized customers?
The majority of major credit card issuers in America report additional users to each of the three credit bureaus Experian Equifax and TransUnion.
For credit bureaus to update your file, most users will need to give their date of birth and Social Security Number (SSN). This information is required by American Express, Bank of America, and Discover to add an authorized user. Chase, however, does not require an SSN for authorization. However, a date and birth are required.
What can an authorized user do for your credit score?
Your credit score can be affected if you are an authorized user of the credit card of a responsible person. This is especially true for young adults who don’t have many credit reports.
To build credit, should you add your child to your credit card?
Mst issuers will allow you to add a child as long as they are over 13 years of age. There is no age limit on the number of users you can add to your account. No regulations currently require that an authorized user must be a member of the family, even if they’re minors.
Your child will see clear financial benefits if they are added as an authorized user. If the card issuer reports the users to the credit bureaus, your child will be added to your credit card account. You should also only add children to accounts that have a good payment history — late payments could negatively impact your child’s credit score (for credit bureaus who include this information in their credit reports)
Young adults must apply for student credit cards and credit cards for people with poor credit. The child can be added to your account and a score generated. This will help them get better cards and make their loan terms more attractive. High credit scores can help your child get a lower interest rate and more rewards.
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