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Weekly Tips

Authorized User vs Joint Account Holder

If you're planning to add someone, like a spouse or child, to your credit card account, you'll need to first decide whether you want to add the individual as a joint account holder or an authorized user. While this can be a confusing topic for many people, the key difference between the two is actually quite simple - one is responsible for paying the bill, and the other is not.

For example, a joint account holder is equally responsible for the account balance along with the other person named on the account. If you both fail to pay your credit card bill, then you're both liable for the delinquent debt. On the other hand, an authorized user is free to spend just like the primary account holder, but he or she has absolutely no financial liability.

Whatever your final decision, be sure you can trust the person completely and have an open discussion about how the responsibilities will be shared. When your credit score is at stake, you can't be too careful.

on Sun, 2009-08-02 17:00