Is an Authorized User Responsible for Credit Card Debt?

Authorized User responsible for debt

Last Updated on 09/16/2017 by GS Staff


No, an authorized user is not responsible for credit card debt. An authorized user can complete purchases with the primary cardholder’s credit card, but they are not liable for the debt. This is why it is so important to fully trust the authorized user before adding them on a credit card. Ultimately, the authorized user could charge thousands of dollars on your credit card and legally not be responsible for the debt.

In many cases, the authorized user will be reported to the credit bureaus. This means that the payment history on the credit card associated with the authorized user will either have an positive or negative impact on the authorized user’s credit. If timely payments are made, the authorized user will benefit. In contrast, the authorized user’s credit may be harmed if payments are not routinely made on time. You will have to check with the creditor to see how they report authorized users to the bureaus.

As a personal example, I am an authorized user on my wife’s Southwest Visa Rewards credit card. My wife applied for the card and was approved based on her creditworthiness. Once she obtained the card, she added me as an authorized user. I was issued my own Southwest Visa and make purchases as if it were a joint account. I am not considered a joint cardholder because my information was not used to qualify for the credit card. I have not checked my credit report since the card was issued, but from doing research online I would assume that this credit card reports authorized users to the credit bureaus.

There have been cases where collectors have contacted the authorized user and requested payment on a delinquent account. Remember, as an authorized user you are not on the hook for the payment. It is important to understand the type of cardholder you are to avoid potential confusion or trouble in the future. Individual (primary) and joint cardholders are responsible for the debt, while an authorized user is not.