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Impact of Authorized User on Your Credit

Dear Experian,

Does it affect my credit score if I have an authorized user on credit cards who does not have a good credit history? And likewise, does it help the credit score of someone with poor credit to be added as an authorized user (not joint applicant) for a card belonging to someone with a high credit score?

– BIJ

Dear BIJ,

Including someone as an authorized user on one of your accounts will not affect your credit scores, even if the other person has a poor credit history.

Separate credit histories are maintained for each individual. Accounts are reported with the names of each individual who is associated with that account. The account then becomes a part of each individual’s credit history and includes the type of association they have with the account, such as authorized user. When a person is added as an authorized user the account will appear in that person’s credit report.

If both your names are not on other shared accounts, nothing from their poor credit history will be added to yours, and your good credit history will not be added to theirs. The only change will be the addition of the authorized user account to their credit history.

Credit scores are calculated using information from your credit history. Because none of the other person’s credit history is combined with yours, making them an authorized user will not affect your credit scores. Because many scoring models do not score authorized user accounts, they may not help the other person.

The risk is that the authorized user will abuse the privilege and make charges that you cannot afford to repay. If you can’t make the payments on time, the late payments will appear in your credit report and will hurt your credit scores.

Thanks for asking.
The “Ask Experian” team

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