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Authorized Users

Sometimes a credit card holder will want to give another person (often a spouse, partner, or child) access to the account. Some credit applications even have a space for requesting an additional card with the other person's name on it, or the card holder can call or write and request one.

A business may have a corporate credit card account, and may give some employees authorized user status, including individual cards, to be used for business expenses. There may be wording in the employees' contracts specifying liability to the company for excessive or improper charges.

While a co-applicant is equally responsible for paying all charges on the account, regardless of who made them, an authorized user is not legally or contractually responsible for any charges, including those that s/he made. The primary cardholder (the one who actually applied for the card) is considered to be fully liable for all charges on the account, including those made by any authorized users. Verbal agreements or instructions between the primary cardholder and the authorized user do not change this. There can be a big difference between a moral/personal obligation and a legal/contractual one.

The account may appear on an authorized user's credit bureau reports, with a notation of their status. This may help in establishing or rehabilitating their credit rating, although not as much as an account that they are officially responsible for.


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