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How to Add Authorized Users on Credit Cards

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A credit card is traditionally a one-person phenomenon. The name of the person who applied will be on the card, and they're the only one authorized to use it. The accountholder can, however, make other people authorized users on the account.

Although this has benefits for both parties, it can be risky. In this guide, we'll answer what an authorized user is, how to add one, and other common questions about this credit card feature.

What is an authorized user?

An authorized user is someone an accountholder adds to a credit card account. The card issuer will mail a credit card in the authorized user's name, and that person can use the card to make purchases. The new credit card is tied to the original credit card account, and the accountholder is responsible for the bill.

Authorized users can make purchases, and a few card issuers let authorized users redeem rewards. But an authorized user can't cancel the credit card, change the billing address, or take any other action on the account.

How do I add an authorized user to my credit card?

The exact process for adding an authorized user depends on the credit card, but most will let you do so either online or over the phone. Online, look for the "add an authorized user" option and enter the required information. Alternatively, you can call the number on the back of your credit card and set it up with a customer service representative.

Your card issuer may ask for any of the following about the authorized user:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Social Security number

What are the best credit cards for adding an authorized user?

No annual fee credit cards

No annual fee credit cards are some of the best options for adding an authorized user, because you won't need to pay anything for the extra card. They're an especially good choice if your authorized user just needs a credit card without any additional perks. For example, you'd probably want to go with a no annual fee card in these situations:

Here are some of our favorite no annual fee credit cards:

As of Aug. 11, 2022
Image for
Image for
Image for
Chase Freedom Unlimited® Discover it® Cash Back Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
Apply Now for Discover it® Cash Back

On Discover's Secure Website.

Rates & Fees

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Welcome Offer: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Up to $300 cash back

Welcome Offer: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Cashback Match

Welcome Offer: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

$200 cash back

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

1.5% - 5% cash back

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

1% - 5% Cashback

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Up to 2% cash back

Intro APR:

Purchases: 0%, 15 months

Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months

Intro APR:

Purchases: 0% Intro APR, 15 months

Balance Transfers: 0% Intro APR, 15 months

Intro APR: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Purchases: N/A

Balance Transfers: 0%, 18 months

Regular APR:

16.49% - 25.24% Variable

Regular APR:

13.49% - 24.49% Variable APR

Regular APR:

16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)

Annual Fee:

$0

Annual Fee:

$0

Annual Fee:

$0

Highlights:

  • INTRO OFFER: Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!
  • Enjoy 6.5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more; 4.5% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and 3% on all other purchases (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year).
  • After your first year or $20,000 spent, enjoy 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. You can choose to receive a statement credit or direct deposit into most U.S. checking and savings accounts. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open!
  • Enjoy 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49% - 25.24%.
  • No annual fee - You won't have to pay an annual fee for all the great features that come with your Freedom Unlimited® card
  • Keep tabs on your credit health, Chase Credit Journey helps you monitor your credit with free access to your latest score, real-time alerts, and more.

Highlights:

  • INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.
  • Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Every $1 you earn in cash back is $1 you can redeem.
  • NEW Intro APR: Get a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Then 13.49% to 24.49% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on credit worthiness.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.

Highlights:

  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • For a limited time, earn $200 cash back after spending $1,500 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening.
  • Balance Transfer Only Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back. Intro APR does not apply to purchases.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
Apply Now for Discover it® Cash Back

On Discover's Secure Website.

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Travel rewards credit cards

Travel rewards cards are another popular option, because authorized users usually get some or all of the same travel perks as the primary cardholder. If a travel card offers airport lounge access or a Global Entry membership credit, you may be able to share those perks with another person by adding them as an authorized user. Keep in mind that travel cards with annual fees often charge an additional authorized user fee.

Some of our favorite travel rewards cards include:

As of Aug. 11, 2022
Image for
Image for
Image for
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Citi Premier® Card The Platinum Card® from American Express
Apply Now for Citi Premier® Card

On Citi's Secure Website.

Apply Now for The Platinum Card® from American Express

On American Express' Secure Website.

Terms apply

Rates & Fees

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Welcome Offer: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

60,000 points

Welcome Offer: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

80,000 ThankYou® Points

Welcome Offer: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

100,000 Membership Rewards® Points

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

1x - 5x points

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

1x - 3x points

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

1x - 5x points

Intro APR:

Purchases: N/A

Balance Transfers: N/A

Intro APR:

Purchases: N/A

Balance Transfers: N/A

Intro APR:

Purchases: N/A

Balance Transfers: N/A

Regular APR:

17.49% - 24.49% Variable

Regular APR:

18.24% - 26.24% (Variable)

Regular APR:

See Pay Over Time APR

Annual Fee:

$95

Annual Fee:

$95

Annual Fee:

$695

Highlights:

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.

Highlights:

  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases

Highlights:

  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. And if you fly, you can receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at select airports and stadiums.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply Now for Citi Premier® Card

On Citi's Secure Website.

Apply Now for The Platinum Card® from American Express

On American Express' Secure Website.

Terms apply

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American Express credit cards

If you want control over how much your authorized user spends, then look at American Express cards. Unlike most other card issuers, American Express lets accountholders set spending limits on authorized user cards.

As of Aug. 11, 2022
Image for
Image for
Image for
The Platinum Card® from American Express Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Apply Now for The Platinum Card® from American Express

On American Express' Secure Website.

Terms apply

Apply Now for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

On American Express' Secure Website.

Terms apply

Apply Now for Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

On American Express' Secure Website.

Terms apply

Rates & Fees Rates & Fees Rates & Fees

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Credit Rating Requirement:

Good/Excellent (670-850) Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

Welcome Offer: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

100,000 Membership Rewards® Points

Welcome Offer: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

$350 statement credit

Welcome Offer: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

$200 statement credit

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

1x - 5x points

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

1% - 6% cash back

Rewards Program: Info Icon Circle with letter I in it.

1% - 3% cash back

Intro APR:

Purchases: N/A

Balance Transfers: N/A

Intro APR:

Purchases: 0%, 12 months

Balance Transfers: N/A

Intro APR:

Purchases: 0%, 15 months

Balance Transfers: 0%, 15 months

Regular APR:

See Pay Over Time APR

Regular APR:

16.24%-26.24% Variable

Regular APR:

16.24%-27.24% Variable

Annual Fee:

$695

Annual Fee:

$95

Annual Fee:

$0

Highlights:

  • Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. And if you fly, you can receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year after you select a qualifying airline and incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $25 back each month on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at select airports and stadiums.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Highlights:

  • Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months after account opening. Plans created after that will have a fixed monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • Low intro APR: 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 16.24% to 26.24%.
  • 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
  • 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
  • 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • $95 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Highlights:

  • Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Balance Transfer is back! Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from the date of account opening. After that, 16.24% to 27.24% variable APR.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%.
  • New! 3% Cash Back on U.S. online retail purchases, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
  • 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations, on up to $6,000 per year, then 1%.
  • Get $7 back each month after using your Blue Cash Everyday® Card to spend $13.99 or more each month on an eligible subscription to The Disney Bundle, which includes Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. Enrollment required.
  • Terms Apply.
Apply Now for The Platinum Card® from American Express

On American Express' Secure Website.

Terms apply

Apply Now for Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

On American Express' Secure Website.

Terms apply

Apply Now for Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

On American Express' Secure Website.

Terms apply

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TIP

Authorized user vs. cosigner

Consumers often get cosigners and authorized users confused, but these are two different things.

When someone can't get a credit card because their credit score or income isn't high enough, a cosigner with better credit or higher income can apply with them to help them get the card. The cosigner also agrees to pay credit card bills if the primary accountholder can't or won't.

Not every card issuer allows cosigners on applications.

Does being an authorized user affect my credit?

It can affect your credit to be an authorized user on someone else's credit card, but this depends on the card issuer. Most card issuers report the card's activity on the credit files of authorized users. There are, however, some issuers that don't do this with their credit cards. To find out, the accountholder can call the card issuer and ask.

If the card issuer reports the card's activity to your credit file, this can help or hurt your credit score. Your credit score should improve if the accountholder makes on-time payments and maintains a low credit utilization ratio.

On the other hand, missed payments or high credit utilization can lower your credit score even if you're not the primary accountholder. This depends on the credit scoring system. There are multiple systems, and they all have different calculation methods. The FICO system allows negative credit card activity to affect the credit score of any authorized user on the card. Under the VantageScore system, negative data doesn't always affect an authorized user's credit.

Does adding an authorized user affect my credit?

Your credit score won't change just because you added an authorized user, but the user's activity on your account can affect your credit. The most likely way this would happen is if your authorized user overspends and uses a large portion of your available credit. This will raise your credit utilization ratio, which can decrease your credit score.

If your authorized user charges an amount that you can't easily pay off, then it could eventually lead to payment issues. Even a single missed payment will do a number on your payment history and likely cause significant damage to your credit.

What are the benefits of an authorized user?

There are several benefits for the authorized user and the accountholder on a credit card:

  • The authorized user can make purchases using the credit card account. If you want your spouse, child, parent, or anyone else to be able to make purchases using your card, the best option is to add them as an authorized user. Merchants often won't accept credit cards if the name on the card doesn't match that of the person using it.
  • It can improve the authorized user's credit score. Being an authorized user is a good way for someone to improve credit scores, especially someone who is rebuilding credit and can't get approved for many cards on their own.
  • The accountholder can earn more rewards. With rewards credit cards, the account will also earn points or cash back on purchases made with the authorized user's card. Some cards even have extra bonus offers just for adding an authorized user.
  • The authorized user could share in the card's benefits. Depending on the credit card, there may be perks that both the accountholder and the authorized user can take advantage of. For example, a high-end travel card with airport lounge access may also include that benefit for authorized users, even when the primary accountholder isn't present.

What are the risks of adding an authorized user to my credit card?

There's one risk of adding an authorized user to your credit card, but it's a big one -- you're responsible for any charges your authorized user makes.

In a worst-case scenario, your authorized user could max out your credit card. That would raise your credit utilization, potentially lowering your credit score. You'd also have a large credit card bill to pay.

To protect yourself, you should only add people you trust completely as authorized users. It's also wise to set some ground rules on how much they can spend, or ask that they talk with you before making any big purchases.

Deciding to add an authorized user

There are situations when it makes sense to add an authorized user to your credit card. It could work out well if you and your partner want to combine your finances. It's also a great way to help your children build credit at an early age.

It's not a decision to take lightly, though. Unless you pick a credit card that allows a spending limit for authorized users, anyone you add will have full access to your credit line.

The safest rule is to only add an authorized user if you trust them completely with your credit card. After all, you'll ultimately be responsible for the bill.

Still have questions?

Here are some other questions we've answered:

FAQs

  • Your credit score won't change just because you added an authorized user, but the user's activity on your account can affect your credit. The most likely way this would happen is if your authorized user overspends and uses a large portion of your available credit. This will raise your credit utilization ratio, which can decrease your credit score.

  • The exact process for adding an authorized user depends on the credit card, but most will let you do so either online or over the phone. Online, look for the "add an authorized user" option and enter the required information. Alternatively, you can call the number on the back of your credit card and set it up with a customer service representative.

    Your card issuer may ask for any of the following about the authorized user:

    • Full name
    • Date of birth
    • Address
    • Social Security number

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