If you've recently moved in with your partner and want to use a single credit card account to pay for your monthly household expenses, there'll be no need to go through the hassle of applying for a joint account. A much quicker and easier solution will be for one of you to add the other to an existing credit card.
Adding an Authorized User
Adding your partner to a credit card account is usually as simple as logging into your online banking and tapping in a few details or contacting your card issuer by phone. In a small number of cases you might be asked to confirm a request to add or remove an authorized cardholder in writing.
Your partner will receive a card in his name and his own PIN once he's been registered as an authorized user on your account. He'll then be able to make purchases and withdraw cash advances from ATMs just as you are. One thing he won't be able to do is discuss your account with the customer service department of your card issuer unless you've given authority for him to do so.
Use of the credit card will only affect your credit score, even though your partner's name is also on the card. If your account goes over its limit or is paid late, your partner's credit score will be unaffected, but your score will suffer. If you want to be jointly responsible for your spending, you'll need to apply for a joint credit card account. Your partner will not be able to become jointly responsible for a credit card account you already have open.
Communicate with your partner about managing the account he's been added to as an authorized user. Make sure you both know the credit limit on the account and update each other when you make a purchase. This will help you avoid going over the limit. Discuss who's going to make monthly payments to the account if you haven't set up a direct payment.
Michael Roennevig has been a journalist since 2003. He has written on politics, the arts, travel and society for publications such as "The Big Issue" and "Which?" Roennevig holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Surrey Institute and a postgraduate diploma from the National Council for the Training of Journalists at City College, Brighton.