What Will Happen If I Add My Wife to My Credit Card?

Spouses who are authorized credit card users may not improve their credit standing.

Spouses who are authorized credit card users may not improve their credit standing.

Determining whether you should add a spouse to a credit card account can be tricky sometimes. Perhaps you’re worried that your spouse will damage your credit rating. However, helping a spouse build credit can be beneficial if you intend to buy a home, for instance. You have a better chance of getting a mortgage approved if you both have good credit ratings. In any case, consider what you and your spouse hope to accomplish by sharing a credit card.

Joint Account

People who haven't established a credit history can quickly begin building one if they're added to a spouse's credit account. However, this method of "piggybacking" on another person's account won't be effective if a spouse isn't a joint account holder. A joint account would appear on each spouse's credit report, and both spouses are responsible for repaying the credit card debt. That's crucial in helping someone establish a credit history and qualify for more credit in the future.

Authorized User

Naming a spouse as an authorized user on your credit card account isn't as effective as making them a joint account holder. Unlike joint account holders, authorized users aren't responsible for repaying credit card debt. So, an authorized user account may not help improve a spouse's credit rating. Some lenders don't focus on authorized user accounts when making lending decisions because they don't indicate whether the user pays debts on time.

Bad Credit

People who have bad credit won't see their credit rating improve immediately if their spouse adds them to a credit card account. Collection accounts, repossessions, numerous late payments and other derogatory information on a credit report outweigh the benefits of being added to another person's account. Furthermore, a spouse’s credit rating can be damaged more if a joint account is paid late.

Make a Plan

Consider whether your spouse is a good money manager before you begin sharing a credit card account. Your credit history probably will suffer if you share an account with a spouse who regularly overspends and pays bills late. In any case, discuss your financial goals with each other, and determine how each of you will use a credit card you intend to share. For example, you may decide to use the card for household purchases rather than entertainment expenses.

About the Author

As a former freelance writer for Writers Research Group, I have already written many eHow articles, and I understand how to create informative articles that read well in eHow style and rank well in search engines. I noticed the Demand Studios ad listed at JournalismJobs.com says Demand Studios offers writers thousands of titles, and writers can suggest titles as well. That appeals to me as a highly motivated writer because if I am hired, I would be eager to consistently write several eHow articles on a weekly basis and take on other writing assignments that may become available. Additionally, I have written how-to articles under my pen name, which is Frances Burks. The link below is to a guide I wrote under that pen name in a freelance project made available through Writers Research Group. Guide to Handbags http://www.work.com/handbags-4116/{{}}

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