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Credit Card Basics

Authorized User Account Not Appearing on Credit Report

Dear Experian,

I checked my credit report online and saw that it says I have no credit cards. I am an authorized user on a card, and I pay the balance every month. Why doesn't it appear on my report?

- MDM

Dear MDM,

Dear MDM,
If you are trying to establish your credit history, being an authorized user on an account can help, but only if the credit card company reports it to one or more of the national credit reporting companies.

Although you stated that you pay the balance every month, authorized users are not contractually responsible for making payments. Because of this, not all credit card companies choose to report authorized user accounts.

Contact Lender to Ask Why Account Doesn't Appear

Call your creditor and ask about their reporting policies. If they do report authorized user accounts, you will typically see the account appear on your credit report within a couple of months after you are added to the account.

If they do not report authorized user accounts and you are trying to build credit, you may consider opening a secured credit card instead.

What Is a Secured Credit Card Account?

Secured credit cards are usually tied to a savings account where you deposit funds. The credit limit of the secured account is typically a percentage of the savings account balance. Often, lenders will report their secured accounts. Be sure to make all your payments on time and keep your balances low.

Even if your lender does not report secured accounts, they may convert the secured account to a traditional credit card and begin reporting the account after you've demonstrated that you can use it responsibly.

It's always a good idea to ask the lender about its reporting policies before becoming an authorized user or opening a secured account, especially if you are hoping to use the account to begin establishing your credit history. For more tips on building your credit, visit our blog.

Thanks for asking,
Jennifer White, Consumer Education Specialist

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