Adding an authorized user to your account won’t hurt your credit scores

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Dear Experian,

Will adding one or more authorized users (my husband and my daughter) to my credit card accounts affect me negatively? My daughter will not have a card to use; I only want to help establish her credit.



Dear AGF,

There is no indication on your individual report that there are authorized users associated with the account. So, simply adding authorized users to your credit card accounts will not have a negative effect on your credit report or credit scores.

But the way they use your account could impact your creditworthiness. Keep in mind that you are fully responsible for any charges made on your card by an authorized user. If they abuse the privilege of being an authorized user, you could find yourself with large debts that you are unable to pay.

When you add authorized users, the account will appear on their credit reports, too. If the account remains positive with a low balance, it can certainly help someone like your daughter who is trying to establish her credit history.

The same is true about adding someone as a joint account holder.  It will be reported on both individual’s credit reports. The difference is that a joint holder is fully responsible for making payments and cannot easily be removed from the account if there is an outstanding balance.

As long as the balance on the card remains low and the payments continue to be made on time, the account can serve as a positive credit reference for each individual who is associated with it whether as the individual owner, joint owner, or authorized user.

It is great that you are going to help your daughter begin to build her credit references.  Please remember to also help her learn the difference in credit and debt and to live credit smart.

Thanks for asking.

The “Ask Experian” team

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