The Pros and Cons of Being an Authorized User on Credit Card Accounts

When it comes to building credit or managing finances, becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card account can be an option worth considering. Being an authorized user allows you to benefit from the primary account holder’s credit history and responsible credit behavior. However, like any financial arrangement, there are both pros and cons to consider before becoming an authorized user. In this blog post, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of being an authorized user on credit card accounts.


1. Building or Improving Credit History: As an authorized user, the credit history of the primary account holder can positively impact your credit score. If the primary account holder has a long history of on-time payments and responsible credit usage, it can help boost your creditworthiness.

2. Establishing Credit at an Early Age: Being added as an authorized user can be an excellent way for young adults or those new to credit to begin building their credit history. It can provide them with a head start in establishing a positive credit profile.

3. Faster Credit Score Improvement: If you have a limited or poor credit history, becoming an authorized user on an account with a good credit history can help improve your credit score more quickly than starting from scratch.

4. Access to Credit Card Benefits: As an authorized user, you may enjoy some of the perks and benefits offered by the credit card, such as rewards points, cashback, or travel benefits, without being responsible for managing the account.

5. No Liability for Debt: As an authorized user, you are not legally responsible for the debt incurred on the credit card. If the primary account holder defaults on payments, it won’t directly affect your credit score.


1. No Control Over the Account: As an authorized user, you have no control over how the credit card account is managed. If the primary account holder misses payments or racks up debt, it could negatively impact your credit score.

2. Potential Relationship Strain: Adding someone as an authorized user means granting them access to your credit account. If the primary account holder is not responsible with their credit usage, it could create tension in the relationship.

3. Difficulty in Removing Yourself: While the primary account holder can remove you as an authorized user, it may require their cooperation to do so. If they are uncooperative, you may face challenges in detaching yourself from the account.

4. Limited Impact on Credit History: Being an authorized user may not have as significant an impact on your credit history as having accounts in your name. Lenders may consider this when assessing your creditworthiness.

5. Potential Risk of Overspending: If the primary account holder is not financially responsible, they may accumulate a large credit card balance, which could impact their credit and, in turn, affect your credit score as an authorized user.


Being an authorized user of someone else’s credit card account can be beneficial in certain situations, particularly for individuals looking to build or improve their credit history. It provides an opportunity to piggyback on the credit history of a responsible cardholder. However, there are potential drawbacks, such as a lack of control over the account and the possibility of strained relationships if financial issues arise.

Before becoming an authorized user, discussing the arrangement with the primary account holder and setting clear expectations regarding credit card usage and payment responsibilities is essential. Additionally, continue to be proactive in building your credit independently by opening and managing your credit accounts responsibly. Balancing the benefits and potential risks will help you decide whether being an authorized user is the right choice for your financial journey.