Will Authorized User Status Help You Accumulate Credit?
Becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card account is a strategy to improve credit quickly. This works best if the primary user’s card has a long history of on-time payments and the authorized user has no recent defaults on their credit report.
If you are just starting out and have a thin credit report, this will likely be more beneficial to you than if you have been using the credit for longer and have setbacks to overcome.
Either way, becoming an authorized user works best when paired with a plan to build credit over time.
Know how your credit is rated
See your free score and the factors that influence it, as well as information on how to keep building.
What is an authorized user on a credit card?
If you become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card, the issuer will send them a card with your name on it. The credit card company holds the primary account holder responsible for paying charges to the account, not the authorized user.
Since the charges you make must be paid by the account holder, you and the account holder must agree in advance whether you will be using the card or whether you will simply be listed as an authorized user. The effect on your credit is the same, even if the account holder never gives you the card to use.
If you can’t qualify for a credit card, being an authorized user can help you strengthen your credit history and can help with “age of credit,” a rating factor. If you haven’t yet a FICO score, the most commonly used scoring model, it can reduce the time it takes to generate one to less than six months. It can also allow you to enjoy the convenience of having plastic in your wallet.
How it works to be an authorized user on a credit card
Since you are not responsible for paying bills, being an authorized user of a credit card may not have a huge impact on your credit rating. But it helps those with little or no credit history to strengthen their credit history.
Ask someone who uses a small portion of their credit card limit and has a payment history on a long-standing account. Make sure the card issuer reports authorized users to credit bureaus: If your authorized user status does not appear on your credit reports, it will not help your score.
Authorized user status alone may not increase your chances of getting approved for credit cards and loans in the future. Lenders who check your credit history want to see that you have managed your own credit accounts responsibly.
Being the primary owner of a credit account will have a much bigger impact on your credit score than being an authorized user. As you work on your score, also consider the following options:
How To Build Credit Habits On Your Own
So what can you do to build your credit significantly? Whether you have a bad credit score or no credit score, here are some proven strategies:
Pay your bills on time. Your payment history weighs heavily on your credit score, so aim to pay at least the minimum payment on time.
Keep your balances low. Your credit utilization rate (the amount you owe compared to your total available credit on your credit cards) also plays a big part in your score. Try not to use more than 30% of your credit limit on any card if possible, and less is more. If you can reduce it to a single digit, you will probably get even better results.