What to know before getting one – Forbes Advisor


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Although increasingly rare, joint credit cards can be a useful convenience for family members or spouses who share finances but have significant responsibility. Whenever you enter into a financial agreement with another person, there must be substantial foundations for trust and open communication. Both parties should be as informed as possible of what they are committing to.

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No credit card is the best option for every family, every purchase or every budget. We have selected the best credit cards so as to be the most useful for the greatest number of readers.

How do joint credit cards work?

Where a credit card account typically has only one primary account holder, on a joint account there are two primary account holders. These two account holders can each have their own copy of the credit card and are granted equal access and rights to use the card.

Once you’ve both been approved as eligible for the card and your account is set up, both users can spend as they please using their own copy of the card. This also means that monthly payments due at the end of each statement period are the responsibility of both account holders, even if one person has not used the card at all. How you choose to distribute payments fairly depends entirely on the agreement you enter into with your account partner.

A beneficial aspect of a joint credit card is that you and your account partner can help each other maintain high individual credit scores as long as you pay off the card balance promptly each month. Make sure both account holders agree on monthly spending amounts, as your credit utilization rate will affect your credit score. If an account holder uses most of the available monthly credit, it could lower the credit ratings of both users. If you both use the card wisely, you can each build good credit faster and put you both in a position to benefit from lower interest rates and better chances of qualifying for loans and credit limits. higher credit in the future.

What to consider before getting a joint credit card

Besides the fact that joint credit accounts are no longer available at most financial institutions, you may also consider the liability of associating your own credit history with another person. Since you share 100% financial responsibility with someone on a joint credit card, the most important thing to know before signing up is whether you trust each other to use the account responsibly.

Make sure you feel comfortable communicating clearly with the other person about your spending habits, budget needs, and other financial obligations. You will essentially want to treat this co-owner as another “you” on the account. After all, the implications of this account for your credit are the same for the other person’s credit.

Sharing a joint credit card with someone should be a deal that helps both of you financially, especially since credit history and individual credit scores play such an important role when opening new accounts. .

In some cases, a partner’s high credit score may actually help a partner with a lower credit score qualify for a credit account that would not otherwise be possible. However, if a partner’s credit score is too low, it could disqualify both users for eligibility. Once a joint account is opened, keep in mind that no account holder can be removed from the account. If anything changes in your and your account partner’s agreement, you will either need to come up with a reasonable payment plan to ensure that all debts are fully repaid before closing the account, or one or both of you will need to perhaps transfer the balance to individual accounts to absorb the debt.

There are other more commonly available options for partners who wish to combine their finances, including adding themselves as authorized users on existing accounts or opening an individual account with a co-signer.

Joint credit cards and authorized users

An authorized user is someone you add to an existing account. This means that you grant them access and use of the account to spend and redeem balances, but they are not directly financially responsible for the credit balance. An Authorized User’s credit history will not be used to determine eligibility in the same way as the primary cardholder would be, which greatly facilitates the process of adding a name to the account. Most cards report payment history to authorized users’ credit reports, so authorized users can benefit from building credit through this attachment to a card that isn’t theirs.

Multiple authorized users can often be added to an account and with some banks you even have the ability to designate hierarchical access and individual billing privileges. Most spend still earns rewards on rewards cards, so the primary account holder can benefit from rewards earned by authorized users. For example, Capital One offers the choice of an account manager, which is an authorized user with nearly equal access to you as the account holder.

Joint Credit Cards vs. Cosigners

Another alternative to opening a joint account is to open an account with a co-signer. This could be useful for an applicant who may not have high enough credit to qualify for certain card privileges or who may be trying to rebuild their credit. A co-signer with good credit can increase an applicant’s chances of receiving better terms of service, better rates, and higher spending limits on a credit card.

As a co-signer, you vouch for the card applicant and therefore declare financial responsibility if they are unable to pay the card balance at any time while the account is active. In this case, you will also want to make sure the applicant is someone you trust, as not being prepared to take on this responsibility can easily affect your own credit and your credit history. Not all credit card issuers allow co-signers.

How can I get a joint credit card?

If you have decided to create a joint account for a credit card, the application process may be similar to that of a regular individual account. You will need to provide the financial history of both applicants and the card issuer will then perform a credit check on both credit histories.

As long as both of your credit scores are high enough to qualify, each party will be granted full access to the account, can make updates and changes at any time with 100% spending freedom and equal responsibility for repay balances. An issuer generally does not differentiate between cardholders with respect to charges, and monthly statements are generally not divided according to each account holder’s spending. When the card payment due date arrives, the total balance remaining on the account must be paid as you would with a main account. So remember that even though you each get your own card, the credit balance accumulates into one total amount.

Can I add someone as a joint account holder?

Generally, no. A joint account only exists as the person you opened the account with. You can add an authorized user to an existing credit card account already in your name, but to have a joint account as equal partners, the account usually needs to be opened by both parties. This also applies to removing account holders from a joint account. From the date of account activation until termination, named account holders must remain the same.

Best Joint Credit Card Options

Since many banks and credit card companies no longer offer the option of joint credit cards, you may not find many options. Be sure to do your research and always read the fine print before signing anything.

Bank of America

One of the only financial institutions currently offering joint credit accounts, Bank of America offers a fairly simple process for those who wish to share full account rights with a partner. Once a person is approved for a Bank of America credit card, they can ask a co-applicant to share financial responsibility.

American bank

US Bank allows cardholders to add a joint cardholder to all of its consumer cards, except secured cards. Once you add a joint cardholder, the co-owner cannot be removed.

Apple Card

Apple Card Family lets two people co-own Apple Card*and split and merge their lines of credit while building up credit in equal shares.

Find the best credit cards for 2022

No credit card is the best option for every family, every purchase or every budget. We have selected the best credit cards so as to be the most useful for the greatest number of readers.


While having a joint credit card can make things easier for a couple or for family members who share financial responsibilities, it’s a commitment that requires a lot of research. A joint account also represents risks and rewards for both account holders.

Since many card issuers no longer offer the option of opening joint credit cards, be aware that there are other options available for those who wish to share spending rights and payment responsibilities. Never agree to anything without fully understanding the implications for your personal financial situation and the risks to your credit.


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