Prime Fico

Chapter 3: Becoming an Authorized User

In the world of credit management, becoming an authorized user of someone else’s credit card account can be a strategic move to build or improve your credit history.  Now that you grasp the advantages of entering into this arrangement, it’s time to delve into the steps in the process of becoming one. 

In this chapter, we will determine your eligibility for becoming an authorized user. Additionally, we will take a closer look at the ideal characteristics to seek in a primary cardholder to ensure mutual benefit. Finally, we will look at the actual steps you need to take to become an authorized user of a credit card account.

Are you Qualified to be an Authorized User?

Authorized users are usually people connected to the main cardholder, like a child, spouse, family member, close friend, or employee. This is because the main cardholder would naturally want to know and trust the person before letting them use their credit card.

However, being a kin is not a requirement. Anyone who meets the credit card issuer’s age requirements and has approval from the primary cardholder can become an authorized user.

When it comes to specific age requirements, various credit card companies enforce distinct minimum age criteria for adding authorized users to an account. For instance, Discover and Credit One stipulate a minimum age requirement of 15 years old. On the other hand, US Bank, Barclays, and American Express have a minimum age requirement of 13 years old. Conversely, issuers such as Wells Fargo, Chase, and Citibank do not have any age requirements. For accurate information tailored to each issuer’s policy, it is advisable to directly contact them.

Choosing the Right Primary Cardholder

Selecting the right primary cardholder is pivotal in this journey, especially if you aim to mend your credit history and bolster your credit score. Entrusting your financial well-being to another individual requires careful consideration. You want the arrangement to be mutually beneficial. 

In choosing, these factors play vital roles in determining the suitability of a potential primary cardholder. 


Being an authorized user means you gain access to someone else’s credit account, and their credit history can impact yours. Therefore, it’s advantageous to choose a primary cardholder with a good credit history, indicating responsible credit usage.

Here are other things to consider to assess your potential primary cardholder’s creditworthiness:

Before becoming an authorized user, take the time to understand the primary cardholder’s credit habits and financial behavior:

  • Payment History: Review their track record of making on-time payments. A history of late payments may negatively impact your credit.
  • Credit Utilization: Understand how they manage credit utilization. High balances relative to credit limits can impact your credit score negatively.
  • Financial Responsibility: Consider their overall financial responsibility. A history of financial mismanagement may raise concerns.

You may want to choose someone with a good or excellent credit score. This would indicate a history of timely payments, low credit utilization, and responsible credit management. Additionally, joining an account of an individual with a lengthy credit history is also a good idea. 


Only be an authorized user for a primary cardholder that you trust. Since the primary cardholder is ultimately responsible for any charges made to the account, it’s crucial to trust their financial habits and responsibility. 

Remember that If the primary cardholder fails to make payments or racks up significant debt, it could negatively impact your credit score and financial well-being. 


You may want to enter into this arrangement with somebody who communicates well. Clear communication between you and the primary cardholder is essential to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts. 

Before becoming an authorized user, discuss how you plan to use the card. Set clear terms and expectations to avoid any misunderstandings down the road. Here are some expectations you might want to talk about:

  • Card Usage: Define how you’ll use the credit card. Will it be for everyday expenses, emergencies, or specific purposes?
  • Payment Responsibility: Determine who will be responsible for making payments on the card. The primary cardholder may choose to handle payments, but clear expectations should be established.
  • Credit Card Limits: Set limits on credit card spending to ensure responsible usage.

Regular communication about the account’s status, such as monitoring spending and making timely payments, can also help maintain trust and transparency between both parties.

Steps to Becoming an Authorized User

After finding the right primary cardholder, you may now follow these steps to become an authorized user:

Steps to becoming an Authorized User

  1. Find a primary cardholder: Discuss the process with a trusted friend or relative who meets the criteria mentioned above.
  2. Provide personal information: The primary cardholder will need your full name, date of birth, and possibly your Social Security number.
  3. Contact the card issuer: The primary cardholder can add you as an authorized user via telephone, online, or through the bank’s mobile app.
  4. Receive your card: You may or may not receive a credit card in your name, but being on the account can positively impact your credit history.

Once you receive the authorized user card, you can start using it within the agreed-upon terms. Remember that while you do not legally have any responsibility for charges made on the account, any problem that will arise can impact both your and the primary cardholder’s credit history. 

By understanding the requirements, selecting the right primary cardholder, and following the necessary steps, individuals can effectively navigate the process of becoming an authorized user. It’s a collaborative effort that, when managed responsibly, can pave the way for building a solid credit history.

In the upcoming chapter, we’ll delve into the vital aspects of managing your account as an authorized user. It should give you valuable insights into how to effectively navigate this role. We’ll thoroughly explore your responsibilities, providing clear guidance on when and how to take appropriate action, including the process for removal if necessary. 

Next: Chapter 4: Managing Your Account as an Authorized User. Here, we’ll delve into the intricacies of managing your account as an authorized user, offering practical advice on fulfilling your obligations and safeguarding your credit health. This chapter aims to equip you with the knowledge and confidence needed to effectively manage your credit journey as an authorized user.