Credit Card Authorized Users—How to Avoid Getting Burned

Know the potential risks for adding an authorized user to your credit card, or being added as one on someone else's card.

Laura Adams, MBA
7-minute read
Episode #419

How Authorized Users Should Monitor Accounts

As you can guess, knowing whether a card owner is managing his or her account responsibly is completely up to you. So how do you do it? Simply watch your own credit reports carefully for red flags, such as late payments and high balances. Anything negative related to that account will hurt your credit if you don't take action.

Of course, you should review your credit reports on a regular basis, even if you're not an authorized user! You can get a free report every 12 months from each of the 3 nationwide credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) at AnnualCreditReport.com.

You can also get at least one your credit reports and scores for free from the following sites:

Having an authorized user on your credit card is a great way to give someone access to your credit line for everyday purchases or just unforeseen emergencies. It also allows you to teach someone, like a teen, about how to use a credit card responsibly.

Simply watch your own credit reports carefully for red flags, such as late payments and high balances. 

You'll be able to see when, where, and how much a user spends by viewing transactions online or reviewing your monthly statement. If both parties manage their cards responsibly, having or being an authorized user can be a smart and beneficial financial relationship.

If you're ready for help managing debt, building credit, and reaching big financial goals, check out Laura's private Facebook Group, Dominate Your Debt! Request an invitation to join this growing community of like-minded people who want to take their financial lives to the next level.

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Young Women Showing a Card image courtesy of Shutterstock.


About the Author

Laura Adams, MBA

Laura Adams received an MBA from the University of Florida. She's an award-winning personal finance author, speaker, and consumer advocate who is a frequent, trusted source for the national media. Money-Smart Solopreneur: A Personal Finance System for Freelancers, Entrepreneurs, and Side-Hustlers is her newest title. Laura's previous book, Debt-Free Blueprint: How to Get Out of Debt and Build a Financial Life You Love, was an Amazon #1 New Release. Do you have a money question? Call the Money Girl listener line at 302-364-0308. Your question could be featured on the show.