Credit Card Authorized User:
Everything You Need to Know 2023

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Updated: May 11, 2023
author photo Written by Louis BakerUpdated: May 11, 2023
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If you've ever wondered how many authorized users can be added to a credit card, our comprehensive guide is at your service.

Through our examination of major credit card issuers' policies regarding authorized users, we will provide valuable insight into the maximum quantity of authorized users allowed and the tasks and responsibilities that they bear.

Furthermore, we will assess the benefits and drawbacks of adding an authorized user to your credit card account, so you can make an informed decision.

Discover the process of adding and removing authorized users, the impact on credit scores, and how authorized users can help build credit. Let's get started!

How Many Authorized Users Can Be on a Credit Card?

The number of authorized users allowed on a credit card varies depending on the credit card issuer and the type of card.

Below, we will explore the maximum number of authorized users allowed by several major credit card issuers and discuss whether certain cards, such as business credit cards and co-branded travel cards, have different limits.

Major Credit Card Issuers and Their Authorized User Limits

  • American Express: The majority of American Express personal credit cards permit up to 99 authorized users. It's important to note that specific cards may have different limits, however.

    An exception is the American Express Centurion Card, also known as the Black Card, which has no preset limit on the number of authorized users that can be added.

  • Bank of America: Bank of America allows up to 5 authorized users for most of their personal credit cards. For business credit cards, the limit may vary depending on the type of card and the account holder's preferences.
  • Capital One: Capital One allows up to 10 authorized users for most of their personal credit cards.
  • Chase: Chase allows up to 10 authorized users for most of their personal credit cards.
  • Citi: Citi allows up to 5 authorized users for most of their personal credit cards.
  • Discover: Discover allows up to 5 authorized users for most of their personal credit cards.
  • Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo allows up to 5 authorized users for most of their personal credit cards.

Business Credit Cards and Co-Branded Travel Cards

Business credit cards and co-branded travel cards may have different authorized user limits than their personal credit card counterparts. These limits can vary depending on the card issuer and the specific card.

To meet the demands of businesses with multiple teams requiring access to company credit cards, certain business credit cards offer elevated authorized user limits. Additionally, co-branded travel cards possess diverse authorized user limits that are subject to the card issuer's discretion and vary depending on the associated travel brand.

To obtain accurate and up-to-date information regarding authorized user limits for business credit cards and co-branded travel cards, it's recommended to directly reach out to the card issuer or carefully analyze the cardholder agreement.

What is an Authorized User on a Credit Card?

An authorized user refers to an individual who has been granted authorization by the primary cardholder to access and utilize a credit card account. They are issued a credit card in their name, which is linked to the primary account, allowing them to make purchases and access account information.

While authorized users have full access to the credit limit, they do not carry any legal responsibility for paying off the debts incurred on the credit card. It is the primary cardholder's duty to bear complete responsibility for any purchases made by the authorized user.

Who can be an authorized user?

It is within the discretion of the primary cardholder to add authorized users to their credit card accounts. Typically, authorized users are close family members, friends, or employees. It's up to the primary cardholder to determine which individuals are granted access and allowed to use their credit cards.

What can an authorized user do with your credit card?

  1. Make purchases using a credit card.

  2. Access the credit card account information.

  3. Request a higher credit limit or other changes to the account (with the primary cardholder's permission).

  4. Use any rewards, points, or benefits associated with the account.

It's important to note that authorized users do not have the ability to close the account, add or remove other authorized users, or make changes to the account without the primary cardholder's consent.

What responsibilities does an authorized user have on a credit card?

  • Making purchases: Authorized users can use the credit card to make purchases, and they are expected to do so responsibly and within the spending limits set by the primary cardholder.
  • Maintaining the account: Authorized users are expected to demonstrate an appropriate level of financial responsibility by closely monitoring the balance, credit limit, and any fees or interest charges associated with the account.

    Additionally, it is crucial for authorized users to promptly alert the primary cardholder of any suspicious activity or unauthorized transactions observed on the account.

  • Abiding by the primary cardholder's rules: An authorized user should respect the rules and guidelines set by the primary cardholder. This may include following spending limits or communicating any purchases made with the card.

    Ultimately, the authorized user should strive to use the credit card in a responsible and considerate manner in order to maintain a positive relationship with the primary cardholder and avoid any negative consequences.

  • Protecting the credit card information: Authorized users should protect the credit card information, such as the card number, expiration date, and security code, to prevent unauthorized access or fraudulent use.

It's important to note that authorized users are not legally responsible for paying the credit card bill or any debt accrued on the account. The primary cardholder is ultimately responsible for all charges made by authorized users, as well as any interest, fees, and penalties that may arise from their use of the card.

How Do I Add Someone or Get Added as an Authorized User on a Credit Card?

Adding an authorized user to a credit card or becoming an authorized user is a straightforward process. However, the exact steps may vary slightly depending on the credit card issuer. Here's a general example of how to add an authorized user to a credit card:

Steps to Add an Authorized User

  1. Obtain consent: Before adding someone as an authorized user, make sure to discuss the decision and obtain their consent. Both parties should agree on the terms of use and any spending limits or rules.

  2. Gather the required information: To add an authorized user, you will need their full name, date of birth, and Social Security number. Some issuers may also require a mailing address and phone number.

  3. Log in to your credit card online account: To include an authorized user in your credit card account, you first need to log into your account on the credit card's website using your primary cardholder licenses.

    In case you are not equipped with an existing online account, you may either create one or get in touch with the credit card's customer service team.

  4. Navigate to the authorized user section: Once logged in, go to the "Account Services" section and then click on "Card Management." Look for an option that says "Add Someone to Your Account" or "Add an Authorized User."

  5. Add the authorized user: Navigate to the section of your account where user permissions or authorizations can be managed. Look for the “Add an Authorized User” button or link and click on it.

    This will direct you to a form where you will need to provide the required information about the authorized user, such as their name, contact information, and any relevant credentials.

    Once all the necessary information has been entered, carefully check the details before submitting the form for fear of any error.

  6. Reach out to your credit card provider's customer service: When it comes to failing to include an authorized user to your credit card account via the online interface, it is recommended that you contact customer service directly by utilizing the number featured on the back of your card.

    Proceed to provide the customer service representative with all relevant details regarding the individual you wish to add to your account and formally request their inclusion.

    From there, the representative will expertly guide you through the process of successfully adding an authorized user to your account.

  7. Wait for the authorized user card: The credit card issuer will process your request and send the authorized user card to the mailing address you provided. This may take a few business days to a couple of weeks, depending on the issuer.

  8. Activate the card: Upon receipt of the authorized user's card, they will be required to comply with the activation instructions as provided with the card in order to initiate usage.

How to Remove an Authorized User or Request Removal from a Credit Card Account

Example: Removing an Authorized User from a Chase Credit Card

  1. Communicate on the modification: For primary cardholders intending to remove an authorized user from their account, it would be cautious to engage in a dialogue with the individual beforehand.

    Likewise, if an authorized user wishes to be removed, discussing his decision with the primary cardholder is critical. It's essential that both parties thoroughly comprehend the reasoning for the change and any likely effects that may arise.

  2. Collect pertinent information: As the primary cardholder, obtain the full name, date of birth, and credit card number of the authorized user you wish to remove. If you're the authorized user, be prepared to provide this information to the primary cardholder.

  3. Sign in to your Chase digital account: As the primary cardholder, you can gain access to your account by logging in to Chase's official website. In case you have not registered an account yet, you may opt to create one for your convenience.

    Furthermore, if you require further assistance, you can directly reach out to Chase's customer service team.

  4. Locate the section designed for authorized users: Upon successfully logging in, navigate to the "Account Management" or "Account Settings" section. From there, locate the option that pertains to "Authorized Users" or a similar variation.

    In the event that you fail to locate a said option, you may utilize the search function on the website and conduct a search for "authorized user".

  5. Remove the authorized user: In the "Authorized Users" section, you will see a list of all authorized users associated with your account. Find the person you want to remove, and click the "Remove" button or link next to their name. Confirm the removal when prompted.

  6. Contact Chase customer service: If you're unable to remove the authorized user through your online account, you can call Chase customer service at the number on the back of your credit card.

    Provide the necessary information about the authorized user and request their removal from your account. The customer service representative will guide you through the process.

  7. Wait for confirmation: Upon initiating the removal of an authorized user, either via online or customer service channels, you can anticipate receipt of a formal confirmation email or message evidencing the successful completion of the procedure. The removal process may entail a few business days to accomplish.

  8. Invalidate the authorized user's card: Upon successful removal of the authorized user from the account, it is imperative to take preventative measures to thwart any potential unauthorized usage. One such measure is the irreparable destruction of the respective credit card.

    Additionally, the primary cardholder must maintain a cautious watch over the account to promptly detect and report any unauthorized activities that may arise subsequent to the removal of the authorized user.

Pros of Adding an Authorized User to a Credit Card

For the Primary Cardholder

  • Assist in organizing household disbursement: By adding a family member or partner as an authorized user, the primary cardholder can effectively optimize the management of shared household expenses, resulting in an effortless and efficient approach to financial oversight.
  • Accelerate the accumulation of rewards: Mostcredit card reward programs typically extend to purchases made by authorized users. As such, the primary cardholder can earn points, miles, or cash back not only on their own transactions but also on those made by their authorized users. This can make it more efficient for the primary cardholder to accumulate rewards.

    However, it's worth noting that the eligibility of authorized user purchases for rewards can vary by credit card issuer and program, so it's essential to review the specific terms and conditions to understand any limitations or exclusions.

  • Help a loved one build credit: If the authorized user is new to credit or trying to rebuild their credit history, being added to a credit card account with a good payment history and low credit utilization can help improve their credit score.
  • Set spending limits: Some credit card issuers allow primary cardholders to set spending limits for authorized users, helping to maintain control over the account and prevent overspending.

For the Authorized User

  • Access to credit: Becoming an authorized user provides access to credit, which can be particularly helpful for those who have limited or no credit history.
  • Build or improve credit: Establish or enhance creditworthiness: Good account behaviors, such as making timely payments and keeping credit utilization low, are likely reported to credit bureaus, which can help establish or enhance the authorized user's credit score.
  • Acquire the skill of using credit responsibly: An authorized user is offered a unique and invaluable chance to gain insight into the wise utilization of credit and the mastery of financial management, all while being exempt from any legal liability for the debt.
  • Benefit from card perks: Authorized users can also enjoy the perks and benefits associated with the primary cardholder's account, such as travel rewards, purchase protection, and extended warranties.

Cons of Adding an Authorized User to a Credit Card

For the Primary Cardholder

  • Account responsibility: The primary cardholder is legally responsible for all charges made by the authorized user. If the authorized user overspends or fails to make payments, the primary cardholder's credit score and financial health can be negatively impacted.
  • Potential for strained relationships: If the authorized user misuses the credit card, it could lead to financial strain and damaged personal relationships between the primary cardholder and the authorized user.
  • Higher credit utilization: An expansion in spending by the authorized user has the potential to increase the credit utilization ratio, which may have an adverse effect on the primary cardholder's credit score.
  • Obstacles with establishing limits: Implementing limitations on expenditures and closely monitoring the spending habits of the authorized user may prove to be a challenging task.

For the Authorized User

  • Restricted control over the account: Typically, authorized users are granted limited permissions, which do not extend to making significant alterations to the account, inclusive of requesting a credit limit increase, closing the account, or disputing charges, thereby annoying the authorized users.
  • Reliance on the primary cardholder's behavior: The primary cardholder's financial habits have the potential to impact the credit score of the authorized user.
  • In the event that the primary cardholder has a record of late payments or consistently exceeds their credit limit, the credit score of the authorized user could be negatively affected as well.

  • Potential for reduced creditworthiness: Having multiple authorized user accounts may give the appearance of relying too much on others for credit, which could negatively impact the authorized user's creditworthiness in the eyes of potential lenders.
  • Risk of account closure: If the primary cardholder decides to close the account or remove the authorized user, the authorized user could lose access to the credit card and its associated benefits without warning.

Authorized User vs. Joint Account Holder vs. Cosigner

When it comes to shared credit card access, there are three common options: authorized users, joint account holders, and cosigners.

Each option has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. In this section, we will compare these options from various angles to provide a clearer understanding of their differences and implications.

Control and Access to the Account

  • Authorized User: An authorized user has limited control over the credit card account. They can make purchases but usually cannot make significant changes to the account, such as requesting a credit limit increase, disputing charges, or closing the account. The primary cardholder retains full control over the account.
  • Joint Account Holder: When holding a joint account, both parties possess equal rights and authority over the credit card account. This means that both individuals can make purchases, request higher credit limits, challenge charges, and terminate the account.

    Additionally, the management of the account and the fulfillment of payment obligations are apportioned equitably between the account holders.

  • Cosigner: A cosigner is not granted direct access to the credit card account and is not permitted to make purchases or alter the account. Rather, the primary responsibility is to guarantee the repayment of the debt for fear that the cardholder will default on payments.

Liability for Debt

  • Authorized User: The primary cardholder undertakes full accountability for any debt accruing from the use of the credit card, regardless of whether it was incurred by the cardholder themselves or by an authorized user.

    Conversely, the authorized user does not bear any legal responsibility for settling any outstanding debt.

  • Joint Account Holder: The responsibility for any debt incurred on the credit card account is jointly and equally shared by both account holders. Regardless of the origin of purchases, each individual is bound by a legal obligation to repay the outstanding debt.
  • Cosigner: Although a cosigner does not have direct access to the credit card account, they are legally responsible for the debt if the primary cardholder fails to make payments. If the primary cardholder defaults on the debt, the cosigner's credit score will be negatively impacted, and they may be pursued by creditors for repayment.

Impact on Credit Score

  • Authorized User: Being an authorized user can positively or negatively impact the individual's credit score, depending on the primary cardholder's payment history and credit utilization. Credit card issuers may report the account's activity to the credit bureaus, which will reflect on the authorized user's credit report.
  • Joint Account Holder: Any activity on a joint account impacts the credit score of both individuals who hold the account.

    The responsible use of credit and timely payments have a positive effect on the credit scores of both individuals. Conversely, the occurrence of late payments or a high credit utilization rate can potentially harm the credit scores of both parties.

  • Cosigner: The payment history and credit utilization of the primary cardholder impacts the credit score of the cosigner.

    Observance of timely payments and judicious credit management by the primary cardholder can potentially enhance the credit score of the cosigner, whereas delayed payments and excessive credit usage can potentially impair it.

Will Adding an Authorized User Hurt the Primary Cardholder's Credit?

Adding an authorized user to a credit card can have both positive and negative effects on the primary cardholder's credit, depending on the circumstances. Here are some factors to consider when determining how adding an authorized user might impact the primary cardholder's credit:

Credit Utilization

Credit utilization is a significant factor that affects a credit score. It refers to the ratio of the credit card balance to the available credit limit. A lower credit utilization ratio is generally better for your credit score.

Assuming that the authorized user demonstrates financial responsibility and exercises caution in their spending, thereby keeping their balance at a minimum, the primary cardholder's credit utilization is unlikely to be impacted negatively.

Conversely, if the authorized user engages in luxuriant spending, leading to a significant increase in the account balance, the credit utilization ratio of the main cardholder may surge, thereby exposing them to the risk of potential credit score decrease.

Payment History

It is the responsibility of the primary cardholder to ensure timely payments are made, inclusive of all charges generated by any authorized user on the account.

Failure to make timely payments due to the authorized user's spending activities could have the potential to undermine the payment history of the primary cardholder and even compromise their credit score.

Account Age

An older account equipped with a positive payment history can boost credit scores. Adding an authorized user to such an account can enable them to benefit from its age.

This is because credit score patterns consider factors such as the duration of the credit history, and a longer history usually indicates greater financial responsibility and can lead to a better credit score.

However, the account age factor typically does not hurt the primary cardholder's credit score when adding an authorized user, as it remains unchanged.

Does Being an Authorized User Build Credit?

Yes, being an authorized user can help build credit for the individual added to the primary cardholder's account. However, it is important to note that the impact on the authorized user's credit depends on various factors, such as the primary cardholder's credit management and the credit card issuer's reporting policies.

How Authorized User Status Affects Credit

The cautious credit management practices of the primary cardholder can serve as a bonus for the authorized user, allowing them to reap the rewards of the former's commendable credit behavior.

The timely repayment of outstanding balances and the sensible utilization of credit can indicate well for the authorized user's credit score. Moreover, the credit account's longevity and positive payment record can be useful in elevating the authorized user's credit score.

However, it is imperative to bear in mind that if the primary cardholder's credit management habits are inferior, characterized by delayed payments or excessive credit utilization, it could potentially undermine the authorized user's creditworthiness.

Credit Card Issuer Reporting

Not all credit card issuers report authorized user activity to credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). If the issuer does not report this activity, being an authorized user will not help build credit.

Maintaining Good Credit Habits

Although being an authorized user can help build credit, it's also essential for the authorized user to develop and maintain good credit habits independently. This includes applying for and responsibly using credit in their own name, making timely payments on all accounts, and maintaining a low credit utilization rate.

Is Credit Activity Reported to the Credit Bureaus for the Authorized User?

Yes, credit activity for authorized users is often reported to the credit bureaus. However, the extent to which the activity is reported and its impact on the authorized user's credit score may vary depending on the credit card issuer's policies.

Which Credit Card Companies Report Authorized Users?

Most major credit card companies report authorized user activity to the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). These companies include:

  • American Express.
  • Bank of America.
  • Capital One.
  • Chase.
  • Citibank.
  • Discover.
  • Wells Fargo.

It is essential to bear in mind that authorized user activity may not be reported consistently or uniformly by all credit card issuers.

While certain issuers may report only specific aspects of the account activity, such as payment history, others may adopt a more comprehensive approach by reporting the entire account history, encompassing critical factors such as credit utilization and account age.

As such, it is crucial for authorized users to remain vigilant and familiarize themselves with their issuer's reporting practices to gain a comprehensive understanding of the impact it may have on their credit profile.

How Long Does It Take for an Authorized User to Show Up on a Credit Report?

The duration of the authorized user's credit status showing up on a credit report is dependent on variables inclusive of the credit card issuer and the reporting cycle of the credit bureau.

Typically, a time frame of 30 to 60 days is required for the authorized user's credit status to show up on their credit report.


Does removing an authorized user hurt their credit score?

Taking an authorized user off a credit card account can influence their credit score, depending on the account's payment history and credit utilization.

If the account has a positive payment history and low credit utilization, removing the authorized user could potentially lower their credit score. However, if the account has a negative payment history or high credit usage, eliminating the authorized user might be advantageous for their credit score.

How much does it cost to be an authorized user?

The cost of adding an authorized user is contingent on several factors, such as the issuing financial institution, the type of credit card, and the specific terms and conditions of the card.

While some credit card issuers may not levy any fees for adding authorized users, others may impose an initial or recurring charge.

As such, prior to authorizing a user, it is recommended to carefully examine the credit card's associated provisions or directly communicate with the issuer to obtain comprehensive information concerning any associated fees

Can you add an authorized user without a Social Security Number?

Although certain credit card issuers may mandate the provision of a Social Security Number (SSN) for adding an authorized user, others may permit the absence of an SSN.

In scenarios where an SSN is deemed non-compulsory, submitting the authorized user's complete name and date of birth may be enough. It is advisable to directly communicate with the credit card issuer to gain clarity on their particular demand for adding authorized users without an SSN.

Can an authorized user take over a credit card account?

Typically, an authorized user does not have the authority to take over a credit card account since they are not legally accountable for any debts incurred on the account. The responsibility of managing and making payments on the account falls simply on the primary cardholder or joint account holder.

To transfer ownership of a credit card account, the primary cardholder may be required to terminate the existing account and direct the authorized user to initiate a new credit card application under their own name.

Do authorized users get their own card?

Yes, authorized users typically receive their own credit card linked to the primary cardholder's account. The authorized user's card will have their name printed on it and a unique card number, but it will be connected to the primary cardholder's credit line.

Can an authorized user redeem rewards?

Authorized users may be able to redeem rewards, depending on the credit card issuer's policies. Some issuers allow authorized users to access and redeem rewards, while others may restrict reward redemption. It's important to review the credit card's terms and conditions or contact the issuer to clarify their specific policies.

Is an authorized user liable for credit card debt?

No, an authorized user is not legally liable for the credit card debt, as they are not the primary account holder. The primary cardholder is responsible for any charges made by the authorized user and for paying off the account balance.


The number of authorized users that can be added to a credit card varies depending on the credit card issuer and the type of card.

Before adding or becoming an authorized user, it's essential to understand the credit card issuer's policies, the responsibilities involved, and the potential impact on credit scores. Open communication and responsible credit management are key factors in ensuring a positive experience for both parties involved.

author photo

Written by

Louis Baker


Louis Baker started his career in 2017 by contracting with Experian. He also became a part-time content creator in various fields such as insurance, personal finance & investment, etc.

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.
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