authorized user vs primary cardholder

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Credit Cards' started by ngianos, Mar 26, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. My wife has always been an authorized user on some of the credit cards I've opened. She doesn't believe that we should have more than a couple cards and she thinks we shouldn't open any new cards. I'm trying to determine if she should really be the primary cardholder on at least one of her own cards rather than always being the auth user. I'm looking at this from a credit report and history perspective and not in terms of getting the signup bonuses on new cards since she won't be up for that.

    Any thoughts on whether it's more beneficial for your credit report to be a primary card holder than always an auth user? Most of the info I find is the benefits of being the auth user and building up your credit report.
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  2. if it's credit rating you're concerned about there are joint accounts like with Chase products, CSP, if you've got Chase cards or any bank cards afaik you can just add your wife on.
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  3. gconnery

    gconnery Silver Member

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    I don't think being an authorized user has any impact on your credit report at all. If you want her to build up her own credit then she needs to be the primary cardholder.
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  4. boondr

    boondr Gold Member

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    Some AU accounts do show up on your report, as far as impact I have no knowledge either way but I know the credit limits and balance are used in determining the ratios.

    Source: My wife's and my own CR show our AU accounts.
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  5. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    Pull both your credit scores and see where you can make improvements. She may need to open an account to improve her available credit factor. Avoid all store or none main stream credit cards as they can have a negative impact on fico scores. So if you have a rouge sears, kohls, lowes, etc. close them after you've secured a Visa , AMEX, MasterCard or even Discover to replace it. Also use the cards occasionally but pay them off immediately, even before you get the statement in the mail. Despite all the folks who credit card churn its like playing with fire, be carefully very very very careful. Only use the cards as a substitute for cash you have in the bank. When you use them pretend you are using your debt card and then worry until you can run home and do a bill pay for the receipt amount to the card. Others may argue with this but it keeps me out of trouble and I have hundreds of thousands in credit card lines. It can be tough not to just pull into the Porsche dealer and slap one on the hood when your having a mid life crisis bad day.
    Oh and listen to your wife :)
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  6. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    The Federal Reserve seems to think otherwise (pdf; sorry). I have also seen authorized user accounts appear on credit reports. I don't usually track my score, so I can't offer personal experience there.
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  7. Thanks everyone. I'm not worried about improving her score as we both have excellent credit scores. She has other items on her credit report and the auth user accounts do show up on her report and are specified as authorized user accounts. Sounds like it would be a good idea for her to have her own card as a primary cardholder to show an even better credit report. I'd like to get the Chase Sapphire Preferred because of all the benefits as well as the no foreign txn fee since we have a big int'l trip coming up. I want to make sure it's actually beneficial in the longer term for her to have her own card aside from just getting the benefits of the card. We would then have the Amex Plat and Sapphire Preferred for int'l travel.
    GoodBoy likes this.
  8. wrxmom

    wrxmom Gold Member

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    Your wife needs to have a few credit cards in her own name vs just being an authorized user. Worse case scenario, something happens to you, and she doesn't have legal power of attorney, if your cards get shut down, she won't have any credit cards she can use.

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