Newly married couples share a number of financial items and responsibilities, such as bank accounts, mortgages and perhaps credit cards.A new wife does not automatically have the right to use her husband's credit card once they get married. She must be added as an authorized user to his credit card accounts.
Credit Card Agreement
Whenever anyone signs up for new credit card, he agrees to abide by the credit cards terms as listed in the written agreement. If you are a new spouse and want to use your husband's credit card, you will need to review the agreement to see if it contains any terms about marriage. Typically, only the credit card holder -- your husband -- can use the card because he is the person who entered into a contract with the credit card company.
Some credit cards allow for authorized users on an account. An authorized user is not someone who signed up for the account or signed the credit card agreement. Rather, the authorized user is someone who is allowed to use the card under the terms of the agreement because the credit card account owner contacts the credit card company and asks it to include you as an authorized user. Not all credit cards allow for authorized users, and only the credit card owner can ask the card issuer to add you to the account.
Spouses can also sign up for joint credit card accounts. When you and your spouse sign up for a joint account, both of you can use the card and you are individually obligated to pay the bill every month. You will not become a joint account holder of your husband's credit card just because you got married. You have to sign up for a new credit card with your husband and wait until it arrives before you can use it.
While using your husband's credit card without being a joint account holder or authorized user is not something that is typically allowed under the terms of the credit card agreement, that doesn't mean it never happens. Whenever you use a credit card the merchant can choose to allow you to make a purchase with it. Because spouses often share the same last name, a merchant will often assume that you are either a joint account holder or an authorized user and allow you to make a purchase even if your name is not on the card.
Roger Thorne is an attorney who began freelance writing in 2003. He has written for publications ranging from "MotorHome" magazine to "Cruising World." Thorne specializes in writing for law firms, Web sites, and professionals. He has a Juris Doctor from the University of Kansas.