Impact of Authorized User vs. Joint Account

College students moving into college dorm
Dear Experian,

I added my roommate onto my credit card and lost my job. I had difficulty paying it off and it was closed. Now, her credit has been affected. I didn't even tell her that I added her, and she never used the card. What can I do to restore her credit?

- GNW

Dear GNW,

It sounds like your roommate was added as an authorized user only. If this is the case, then correcting the issue should be relatively easy.

Authorized users are not responsible for making payments on the account. Therefore, you should be able to call the credit card company and request that her name be removed. Your roommate can then contact the credit reporting companies and request that the account be removed from her credit report.

If you added your roommate as a joint account holder it will be more difficult to restore her credit history.

As a joint account holder she would have contractual responsibility for the debt. In order to remove it from the credit report, the credit card provider would have to alter its contract with you to remove her as a responsible party before the account could be removed from her credit report. Because you have had difficulty repaying the debt, they may not be willing to do so.

Deciding to share an account with anyone should not be done without careful consideration. As you've discovered, even when well-intended, financial difficulty for either of you can end up hurting both of you.

Thanks for asking.
The "Ask Experian" team

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