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What is an authorized user on a credit card?

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    • Authorized users are people who have been approved to use the primary cardholder’s credit card account.
    • Authorized users are allowed to make purchases, can build their credit and do not require a credit check to be added to the credit card.
    • Almost anyone can become an authorized user.

    Whether you’re adding an authorized user or you’re looking to become an authorized user on a credit card, you may want to know more about how it works. Let’s dive into more detail about authorized users below.

    What is an authorized user?

    An authorized user is a person who is allowed to use another person’s credit card account (the primary cardmember, otherwise known as the card owner). Let’s dive into the specifics of what an authorized user is and what they can and cannot do when using a credit card.

    What does adding an authorized user mean?

    If you add an authorized user, you are allowing somebody to make purchases by using your credit card account. A new card will be issued, but in most cases it will have your same card number and CVV. As the primary cardmember, you are responsible for paying off your authorized user's balance.

    Who can be an authorized user?

    Just about anyone can be an authorized user as long as they are of age; some issuers may have different age requirements, but generally you have to be at least 13 years or older to become an authorized user.

    Usually, this is a trusted friend or family member who’s seeking a way to build up their credit. You do not need to have a credit check done or have a positive credit score (or any credit score), to become an authorized user, making it a good option for those looking to improve or establish their credit score.

    However, building a good credit history will depend on the primary cardmember making the balance payments on time.

    What responsibilities does an authorized user have?

    Authorized users do not have many responsibilities, given that they are not responsible for making payments to the credit card they’re allowed to use. They should, however, try to maintain good credit utilization practice having healthy financial habits should they want to open their own line of credit or apply for their first credit card in the near future.

    How can I add and remove authorized users?

    If you’re a primary cardmember of an account looking to add an authorized user, you can either log in to your online bank or call your bank directly (the number is often on the back of the credit card). You may need to provide some information to verify identity. Additionally, you can set a spending limit for the authorized user should you choose to.

    Once the authorized user has been added to your account, they will receive a credit card in their name through the mail to activate and use.

    To remove an authorized user, contact your issuer and request to have them removed from your account. You might be able to do this via your online banking as well.

    Does being an authorized user affect your credit score?

    Yes, even when you’re not the primary cardmember, you can still use the opportunity as an authorized user to improve your credit score. This is because as you use the card, the balance is paid off (or not). This affects your payment history, which is a major factor determining your credit score.

    Keep in mind, however, that the health of your credit is in the hands of the primary cardmember. If they miss payments or misuse their card by overspending, this can reflect on the authorized user as well. To improve your credit score or start building a good one, consider having a responsible individual as a primary cardmember.


    Whether you're trying to build up credit history or strengthen your credit score, becoming an authorized user on a credit card account that’s paid on time can be a great way to improve your overall financial wellness.

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