What is an Authorized User?

By Chandler Sullivan
October 19, 2022 | 3 Min. Read

An authorized user is a person who has permission to use someone else’s credit card and can make purchases but usually isn’t responsible for any debt that is incurred. This person doesn’t have an individual account but will receive regular statements and some access to the account online. Being an authorized user on someone’s account (the primary account holder) is the easiest way to get a credit card without having to prove your income or assets.

Although there are no legal age limits to who can be added as an authorized user, each card issuer has different rules, policies, and processes for adding minors to card accounts. This means that you may be able to add your 14-year-old child — with restrictions — to your account. This is a beneficial way to help your child understand credit and potentially build upon their credit before adulthood.

What are the pros and cons of adding an authorized user?

Before you add a person to your account, there are some key things to know about being an authorized user.


  • Authorized users can use the card without paying interest or fees. When you’re a primary cardholder, you’re responsible for paying the full balance on time every month — even if someone else uses your card. But as an authorized user, all you need to do is pay off any charges that appear on your statement. Furthermore, if the primary cardholder doesn’t pay off those charges on time (or ever), it won’t affect the authorized user’s credit score at all.
  • You can help the authorized user build credit, responsibly. Being added as an authorized user gives another person access to a line of credit that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get because they lack income or assets. Credit bureaus take this into account when calculating your credit score


  • If you (primary cardholder) don’t pay off the balance on time, it will negatively impact your credit score and history because you are legally responsible for any charges made by anyone who uses that account.
  • If the primary account holder gets into financial trouble, banks may close down their accounts or limit access to only certain people, which could affect your ability to use your own bank accounts, so it’s important that you keep track of what they’re doing with their finances as well as yours!

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