Granting someone your credit card account is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. But there are certain situations in which it can be beneficial for both you and the authorized user.
What We'll Cover
- What is an Authorized User on a Credit Card?
- Best Credit Cards for Authorized Users in 2024
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Citi Premier® Card
- Does an Authorized User Get Their Own Credit Card?
- Does Adding Someone as an Authorized User Help Their Credit?
- What Credit Cards Build Credit as an Authorized User?
- Which Credit Card Companies Report Authorized Users?
- Will Adding Someone as an Authorized User Impact My Credit Score?
- Does being an authorized user on a credit card affect your credit score?
- Can you be denied as an authorized user?
- How fast does an authorized user build credit?
- What should I look for in a credit card for authorized users?
- Is adding an authorized user the right choice for you?
Join us for a crash course in everything you need to know if you’re considering granting your child, spouse, or close friend access to a line of credit. We’ll also introduce you to some of the best credit cards that offer perks for both primary and additional cardholders.
What is an Authorized User on a Credit Card?
When you open a credit card account, you become what’s known as the account’s primary user. But many cards will also allow you to add on authorized users aka “additional users.”
The reason that it’s so important to choose an authorized user carefully is that once they are added to your account, they can use it as their own. It’s important to understand that adding an authorized user to your account is not the same thing as opening a joint account.
When two people open a joint account, they are both legally responsible for paying off the account’s balance. When you add someone as an authorized user, you maintain the sole legal responsibility for paying off the balance of the account.
Best Credit Cards for Authorized Users in 2024
Unfortunately, not all authorized user policies are created equal. While some are incredibly generous when it comes to allowing you to share rewards with additional users, others only offer benefits for primary cardholders.
That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of cards to consider if you’re thinking of adding an authorized user to your account. We’ll fill you in on what each card has to offer for you and your new users alike.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
While the Capital One Venture X Rewards card comes with a hefty $395 annual fee, it offers plenty of perks for frequent travelers. If you spend at least $4,000 in the first three months after opening your account, you’ll earn a 75,000-mile welcome bonus.
With a 10,000 bonus mile anniversary bonus each year and the ability to earn a minimum of 2x the miles on every purchase you make, the Venture X Rewards card may be a great value for the right customer. It also offers several great bonuses for authorized users, the first of which is that Capital One makes it easy to add them to your account for free.
In order to gain online access, however, any children will need to be over the age of 18 and have a valid SSN. Authorized users are able to share many of the same card perks as the primary account holder, including access to airport lounges and travel protection.
Each purchase your authorized user makes will also earn the same rewards rates, which can go a long way toward helping you rack up extra bonus miles. Capital One also offers several nice perks for authorized users, including:
If your spouse tends to be better at managing money, you can add them as the Account Manager to grant them access to your account. They’ll be able to make payments, review purchases, redeem rewards, and more.
Help build your child’s credit while earning rewards on each purchase they make. You can even enable real-time purchase notifications to get an alert each time they use their card.
Anyone Else You Trust
You can add your nanny, personal assistant, or pretty much anyone else as an authorized user and enable purchase notifications that will send you real-time alerts each time they use their card. You’ll also enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can lock or unlock their card at any time.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
If you’re looking for a card with a flexible travel rewards program, then it’s worth looking into the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, which is available for a $95 annual fee. The card comes with plenty of great perks, including an introductory 60,000 bonus point offer when you spend at least $4,000 in the first free months.
You’ll also enjoy racking up points in various categories, such as:
- 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® and 2x points on all other travel
- 3x the points on dining purchases
- 3x the points for online grocery transactions and for select streaming services
- 1 point for every $1 you spend
One of the perks of adding an authorized user upfront is that every transaction they make will count toward the introductory bonus offer minimum. You’ll also continue to rack up points for every transaction they make as long as they remain on your account.
Chase allows you to add as many authorized users as you like for free, right from your account dashboard. The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card can be a particularly great choice for couples who want to share perks like the six-month Complimentary Instacart+ Membership or the 12-month Complimentary DashPass from DoorDash.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
While the Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with plenty of premium benefits, it also comes with a hefty $550 annual fee. This is one instance where adding a trusted family member like your spouse as an authorized user can really help you take advantage of all the card has to offer.
While there’s an annual $75 authorized user fee, it’s still going to be a much more cost-effective option than applying for two separate accounts. Combining your spending power will also make it easier to earn the 60,000 bonus point intro offer by you spending at least $4,000 on purchases within three months of opening your account.
Just to give you an idea, those 60k extra points add up to an impressive $900 value when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Both you and your authorized user’s purchases will also continue to count towards racking up rewards like:
- 10x the points on Chase Dining
- 3x the points on any other dining purchase
- 10x the points on car rentals and hotels purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 5x the points on flights booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 3x the points on any other travel purchases
Authorized users also enjoy an impressive amount of shared perks, including:
- Their own Priority Pass Select Membership at airport lounges around the world
- Purchase protection
- Roadside Assistance
- Trip cancelation or interruption insurance
- Reimbursement for trip delays
- And more
Citi Premier® Card
The Citi Premier Card is a great choice if you’re looking for a card that will allow you to add authorized users for free. Available for a reasonable $95 annual fee, the Premier card is designed to help you rack up ThankYou® Points for travel and everyday purchases alike.
Adding an authorized user right out of the gate can increase your chances of claiming 60,000 introductory bonus points when you spend at least $4,000 in the first three months. Head over to Citi’s Travel Rewards to redeem your points for up to $600 worth of travel rewards or gift cards.
You and your authorized users will also score extra points for every $1 you spend in certain categories, including:
- 10x the points for every dollar spent on car rentals and hotel bookings through the Citi TravelSM portal through 6/30/2024
- 3x the points for each $1 spent on all other hotel purchases
- 3x the points for every $1 you spend on air travel purchases
- 3x the points for every $1 you spend at restaurants, supermarkets, and gas stations
- 1x the points for every $1 you spend on anything else
Another nice perk of the Citi Premier Card is that you can redeem your points for a nice range of rewards on ThankYou from Citi. If you and your authorized user are splitting card payments, you can split your Thank You points and redeem them for anything from cash to gift cards.
Does an Authorized User Get Their Own Credit Card?
In most cases, once you add someone as an authorized user, they will receive their own card that’s linked to the same account. While they will be able to use the card to make purchases, the primary cardholder will still ultimately be responsible for paying off the balance.
Does Adding Someone as an Authorized User Help Their Credit?
In the vast majority of cases, adding someone to your credit card account as an authorized user can definitely help boost their credit score, as long as the account remains in good standing. This perk alone is why many people consider adding their children, spouses, or other trusted users to their accounts.
What Credit Cards Build Credit as an Authorized User?
In order for a card to help someone build credit, you’ll need to make sure that the card you add them to reports authorized users to the three major credit bureaus. This should be as easy as either reaching out to your issuer or checking the issuer’s policy on authorized users.
Which Credit Card Companies Report Authorized Users?
The good news is that pretty much all major credit card companies report authorized users, as long as they are of a certain age. For instance, Chase requires authorized users to be at least 18 before their credit can be impacted.
Will Adding Someone as an Authorized User Impact My Credit Score?
While adding an authorized user to your account in itself won’t impact your credit score, things can go downhill very quickly if the user goes rogue. You are ultimately responsible for paying off the full balance, so if the additional user rings up more charges than you can afford to pay off, your score will be impacted accordingly.
That’s why you shouldn’t even think about adding anyone to your account unless you have an incredibly clear understanding. While spouses often add each other as authorized users to share finances, this is not the type of favor you may want to consider for a friend who has historically been financially irresponsible.
Does being an authorized user on a credit card affect your credit score?
If you’re considering piggybacking off of someone else’s credit by becoming an authorized user, it’s important to make sure they have the type of credit worth sharing. After all, it won’t do you much good to gain access to someone’s credit card if they never pay their bills on time, which could result in both of your scores taking a hit.
Can you be denied as an authorized user?
It’s generally pretty hard to be denied the right to become an authorized user, as most issuers don’t require you to undergo a credit check or file an application. In some cases, however, there may be certain exceptions.
For instance, Amex requires authorized users to be at least 13 years old, so be sure to check with your issuer to see if there are any age restrictions. Some issuers may also reserve the right to add someone as an authorized user if they’ve had an exceptionally bad history with the company in the past.
How fast does an authorized user build credit?
Being an authorized user on someone’s account can start boosting your credit score pretty quickly. You should start to see changes as soon as the lender starts reporting to three major credit bureaus, which usually takes around 30 days.
What should I look for in a credit card for authorized users?
While adding an authorized user can be a great way to help boost their credit score, it can also come with several other handy perks. The best credit cards for authorized users also allow them to share in the card’s perks, such as airport lounge access or travel coverage.
Many rewards-based cards will also allow you to rack up anything from extra miles to cash back on your authorized user’s purchases. Not every card offers such perks, however, which is why it’s so important to check your card’s policy.
Is adding an authorized user the right choice for you?
As you can see, while adding an authorized user is not a choice to be taken lightly, it can have its benefits in the right situation. If you want to help your child or spouse raise their credit score, split a high annual fee, or earn more rewards through joint spending, then it may be an option worth considering.
Just make sure that you and your authorized user are on the same page by setting clear boundaries and spending limits. When in doubt, it’s never a bad idea to look into your options for removing an authorized user from your account just in case things don’t go according to plan.
For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply
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