Home > Credit Cards > Can I Make My Boyfriend an Authorized User on My Credit Card?

Comments 0 Comments
Advertiser Disclosure


There are many reasons why couples may want to share a credit card, even if they aren’t married. They may wish to extend the convenience and security of their credit card to their partner and give them the ability to ask them to “charge it to my card.” Or, couples may just wish to manage all of their finances jointly.

You Can, But Should You?

Yes, you can easily add your boyfriend, girlfriend or anyone else as an authorized user to your credit card account, but the real question is: Should you?

Once you add an authorized user, he or she will have the ability to use the card to make any charges at any time. And no matter what, only the primary account holder will be responsible for paying the bill. This might not seem like a very big deal to couples when their relationship is strong, but it can become disastrous if the relationship falters.

How This Works

Couples may have an informal agreement about what charges are appropriate for the authorized cardholder, but the primary cardholder will always be responsible for paying the bill. Should the primary cardholder decide, he or she can cancel the card of the authorized cardholder, but that will have no effect on previous charges and will only prevent future charges.

Furthermore, there are other disadvantages to making someone else an authorized user on your credit card card account. Authorized users have the power to make charges, but they cannot make any changes to the account. They are unable to report a card lost or stolen, claim rewards or to dispute questionable charges.

Additionally, many credit cards grant benefits only to the primary cardholder, not any authorized cardholders. For example, cards that offer access to an airport business lounge such as the United Airlines Club card or the Delta SkyMiles Reserve card only honor that benefit for the primary cardholder.

Your Alternatives

Credit card holders who are interested in extending some of their purchasing power to their significant other can take some steps short of making him or her an authorized cardholder.

There are many prepaid debit cards that may be a good alternative. In fact, some of these cards, such as the Bluebird card from Wal-Mart and American Express, allow the primary cardholder to create subaccounts for authorized cardholders. The primary cardholder is then able to monitor the spending of the authorized cardholder and add funds as necessary.

On the other end of the spectrum are couples who manage their finances jointly, but find that adding an authorized cardholder grants an insufficient level of authority. These couples should look into become joint account holders. This type of account gives each person the authority, and responsibility, of a primary account holder.

Both joint account holders can dispute charges, report cards lost or stolen, or add authorized cardholders. Likewise, charges made by either account holder are the joint responsibility of both account holders, so each is responsible for the others debts. Where card issuers permit joint accounts, some permit existing accounts to be converted, while others require an entirely new account to be created.

What It Means for Your Credit

It’s important to understand the credit score implications of having an authorized user on your credit card. Adding an authorized user can benefit the new cardholder’s credit history as long as the primary cardholder is making on-time payments and keeping the card’s credit utilization low — here’s a good rundown of how to take care of your credit when you have an authorized user. The same advice for building good credit with a credit card applies with authorized users. If you want to see how your credit cards are affecting your credit, you can see two of your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.

More on Credit Cards:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.


Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team