Joint Card Holder vs. Authorized User

Discuss the Visa & MasterCard payment networks as well as cards that operate through them.
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Joint Card Holder vs. Authorized User

Postby MrMosby » Fri May 24, 2013 2:01 pm

My wife is a joint card member on my Chase Freedom card, and out of the blue today we got a letter explaining what it means to be a joint card holder versus an authorized user.

And gives her the option to sign a piece of paper to make her a authorized user instead of a joint card member.

It appears the only difference is as a joint card holder she isn't liable for the account but it still reports the same on her credit, etc.

Any idea what would have triggered them out of the blue to send the letter?
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Postby rockyrock » Sat May 25, 2013 4:54 am

MrMosby wrote:It appears the only difference is as a joint card holder she isn't liable for the account but it still reports the same on her credit, etc.

Curious, I thought it was the other way around. As an AU it was reported but you weren't liable. By definition joint indicates dual responsibility.
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Postby pewpew » Sat May 25, 2013 12:31 pm

short version:
you got that backwards. joint holder IS liable, authorized user is not. as for receiving the form..... i don't know. you usually have to ask to have that sent out to you. only they would know why you got that letter. the only way to find out is to call the card issuer.

long version:
an "authorized user" will not have the account on their credit history, since it is not THEIR account. an "authorized user" is someone who merely has permission to spend someone else's money. the "authorized user" has no obligation to pay any of it back. this is something parents usually give to their kids or employers give to their employees. a spending cap is usually put in place but the actual account owner to make sure the "authorized user" doesn't get carried away.

a "joint account" is a whole different animal. it is a shared account and all parties who sign on are responsible for it. this goes for "joint checking accounts," "joint credit cards," etc. if the account goes bad, everyone associated with it takes the fall. this is the type of account a married couple or domestic partners would hold.

back to the letter; i would have your wife's credit reports checked. the bank might want to take her off the account because for some reason they think she may be a risky investment. but if she is already on the joint account, they can't just kick her off without closing down the account altogether. they are asking nicely.
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Postby DoingHomework » Sat May 25, 2013 8:16 pm

Yeah I think it is backwards.

And I heard (but cannot confirm) that it is now or soon will be illegal to report on an AU. It seems many people built credit as an AU when they really were not responsible. Then they would get a mortgage and default...

I to be a joint account the title must be as joint tenants or something like that.

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