The process to add an authorized user to a credit card varies by card issuer. For most issuers, you will go to the account management section to add an authorized user. You'll enter in the user's information and a card will be sent out.
Here are step-by-step instructions for how to add an authorized user to an The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, but the process will be similar with most card issuer.
1. First, you go to the Account Services menu after you have logged into your online account. Then choose Manage Other Users and Add Someone to Your Account.
2. From the Add Someone to Your Account screen, you will enter in your authorized users' information — you can add up to four users for this card.
3. Enter in each authorized user's name and information. For American Express, a Social Security Number is required and authorized users must be 13 years or older.
4. Once you submit the form, the authorized user card(s) will be sent to the home address of the primary account holder.
How many authorized users can be on a credit card?
The number of authorized users that can be added on a credit card varies by issuer and card. For example, American Express allows four authorized users to be added to the American Express Everyday Preferred card. Chase allows up to 99 authorized users on an account for its business cards.
If no Social Security Number is linked to an authorized user, the bank may not send over payment information to the credit bureaus.
Can you add an authorized user without a Social Security Number?
Whether you can add an authorized user without a Social Security number (SSN) varies by issuer. American Express requires you to enter in a user's SSN and date of birth. You don't have to enter it when you set up an authorized user account with American Express, but you need to provide it within 60 days or the authorized user account will be canceled. Chase only requires the authorized user's first and last name, an email address and phone number.
Do authorized users get their own card?
Yes, authorized users do get their own credit card. Sometimes it will have the same credit card number and expiration date as the primary account holder's, while other times each authorized user will have a different number.
Keep in mind that depending on why you're adding authorized users to your account, you don't have to actually give the card to the authorized user. This is especially useful if you are adding one of your minor children as an authorized user.
What can an authorized user do with your credit card?
An authorized user can make purchases on your credit card account. In some cases, they can also redeem rewards associated with the account. Many issuers, like American Express, allow you to configure what kind of access the authorized user has, or set up spending limits for particular users. Depending on your relationship with the authorized user, you might want to allow them to just view the account, make transactions, redeem rewards or even have full control of the account.
Can an authorized user take over a credit card account?
As the primary account holder, you are in control of and legally responsible for your credit card account. Any access that an authorized user has comes from permissions that you as the primary account holder grant. So while an authorized user may be able to make transactions and redeem rewards on the account, they can never take over the account and remove you as the primary account holder.
Can an authorized user redeem rewards?
Some issuers allow authorized users to both earn and redeem credit card rewards. The specifics will differ from issuer to issuer. For example, American Express allows you to set up an authorized user as a Rewards Manager, which lets them redeem Membership Rewards points on the account. This adds to the list of liabilities that come with adding a person to your account. You should be comfortable with your authorized user having access to it at all times.
Some card issuers, such as American Express, allow you to set specific permissions for your authorized user. If your issuer supports that, make sure those permissions are set in a way that you are comfortable with.
Pros and cons of authorized users
There are both risks and benefits to adding an authorized user to your credit card account. Adding a trusted friend or family to your account as an authorized user can help them build credit, but it also may cause conflict if clear expectations are not set. You can use purchases made by an authorized user to help you meet an attractive welcome offer with a high spending threshold, but remember that you are responsible for any purchases made by your authorized users.
You can help trusted friends and family build credit
It can help you meet a spending threshold to receive an initial welcome offer
You can keep a rarely used card active
You are legally responsible for purchases made by an authorized user
Some cards charge an additional fee for adding an authorized user
It may cause conflict in the relationship if things go poorly
Will adding an authorized user hurt my credit?
The primary account holder is responsible for all the purchases made by the authorized user. If the person added to the credit card account racks up a ton of credit card debt, it could impact the primary account holder's credit score in two ways:
Their total credit utilization will go up.
Any charges that are paid late or not paid at all go on the primary account holder's credit history — not that of the authorized user.
Aside from this, adding an authorized user will not have other effects on your credit score. Your credit history won't even specifically note that an authorized user was present on your account. In fact, if you are merely trying to boost your authorized user's credit score, you should consider not giving them a card to minimize the risk to your credit score.
Authorized users and travel rewards cards
Another reason to consider adding an authorized user: Many travel rewards cards allow authorized users to take part in some of the perks and rewards of having the card. The Platinum Card® from American Express charges $175 for up to three authorized user cards. With that fee, authorized users can then access the following benefits (among a plethora of others):
American Express Centurion lounges
Priority Pass™ Select membership ($429 value, enrollment required)
Marriott Gold status, which includes benefits like complimentary upgrades and 2 p.m. checkout (enrollment required)
Hilton Gold status, which includes benefits like complimentary upgrades and complimentary breakfast (enrollment required)
Up to $100 Global Entry/TSA Pre statement credit
Authorized user FAQs
How do you remove an authorized user from a credit card? Typically, you remove an authorized user from a credit card in the same way that you add an authorized user. For Amex, once you log on to your online account, you can go to the account management section; there, you can add and remove any authorized users. Chase suggests that you call the 1-800 number on the back of your card. What credit cards allow authorized users?
Most credit cards allow you to add authorized users to your account. Some credit cards allow you to add authorized users without any additional fees, while others charge a fee to add an authorized user.
Is an authorized user liable for credit card debt?
An authorized user is considered a secondary user and is not liable for any balances on the credit card. The primary cardholder is legally responsible for all purchases made by any users of the account.
Does removing an authorized user hurt their credit score?
It is possible that removing an authorized user can hurt their credit score, especially if they haven't built up much credit history. Credit score calculations are made up of several different factors, the length of credit history. Removing an authorized user from an account that has been open for a long time can decrease their average age of accounts, decreasing their credit score. If the account has a good payment history, they may also lose that record of timely payments on their credit report (for credit bureaus that report payment history on authorized user accounts) — another major factor in credit scoring.
New Beginnings Credit Solutions is a Wisconsin-based company and is one of the highest-rated credit restoration companies in the nation. They have years of experience helping consumers understand and work to improve their credit. You can call 715-204-9355 to schedule a free credit consultation.