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A dad who has recovered from money troubles is hoping to help his teen daughter start her financial life with the benefit of a good credit score by adding her as an authorized user to his credit card, but he’s worried that his past could come back to haunt her.

“I want to put my daughter, who is 16, on my credit card [as an authorized user] so I can begin building some sort of credit for her,” he wrote. “Now from what I read in a nutshell is that she will be a reflection of my credit. In my case, I had a bankruptcy seven years ago. But … in the past year I have built up my credit. Will her credit reflection be of right now (never miss a payment, I pay all credit charges as soon as they appear, usually eight to 12 times a month)? Or will her credit reflection be of my years past (my bankruptcy days from years ago)?”

We asked credit card expert Barry Paperno, who blogs at Speaking of Credit — and the dad can relax about the bankruptcy. “The only piece of credit that the reader’s daughter will share is the history of the account on which she’s an authorized user,” he said in an email. “Whatever good and bad history is associated with that account will be rolled into her daughter’s credit — no more, no less — with no influence from the bankruptcy or any other account being shared.”

As such, the daughter could file a dispute with the credit bureaus, should any additional information related to the father’s credit erroneously appear on her credit report (once one has been established).

Getting a Credit Head-Start

Per his comment, the father is aiming to help his daughter build her credit so she can get an apartment if she so chooses when she’s eighteen. (Remember, credit scores are often incorporated into rental decisions.) His desire to do so is laudable. Establishing credit early could help give his daughter a score before she is able to apply for an apartment or other lines of credit on her own. However, it would be a good idea to ask the credit card issuer ahead of time if they report authorized users to the three major credit bureaus (and then follow up to check after the fact) as not all do. Young people can also build credit by applying for a secured credit card or a student credit card with a low credit limit.

Clearly, this commenter keeps close tabs on his own score and credit habits. You can monitor your credit as well by pulling your credit reports for free each year at AnnualCreditReport.com and checking your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.

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