Guide To Authorized Users

You can add users onto your credit card and the credit issuer will send them out a credit card of their own with their name on it. This is called an authorized user account or AU for short. This is big business in the credit space as you can make a part-time or even full-time income from renting out slots on your credit cards to others looking to thicken up their credit profile or thin out their utilization.

Back before Fico 8 came along and put less weight on AUs, the strategy was the go-to way to lower utilization and get yourself into position to bring on new credit. AUs are still really powerful, its just hard to find out which banks still report full history and what bureaus pick that up.

The only way for an AU to really work on benefiting someone’s credit profile is if the account has a positive history (no lates or derogatory’s), large credit limits help and of course-the longer the credit history the better (at least with those that actually report full history to the bureaus).

Getting these accounts to appear as a “tradeline” on your authorized user’s credit reports will depend on two major factors:

  • The issuer’s policy. All the credit issuers we list in the table below report authorized user activity to the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — in some form. As I previously mentioned not all of them report the full credit history on the AU account and some don’t report if the primary account includes negative information or if the authorized user is under a certain age.
  • The credit bureau’s policy. Even when issuers report an authorized user account, the credit bureaus might not include it in the authorized user’s credit report if it includes negative information or if the authorized user is under a certain age, depending on their policy.

Credit Issuers Data On Authorized Users

Card IssuerMin AgeMax Number of AUsReport Full Card History?HPWhat Bureaus Does AUs Show Up?Notes
American Express13 or 15 depending on card99NoNo
Bank Of Americanone9Yes
Capital Onenonedepends on accountYesNo
Chasenoneno limit
US Bank167
Wells Fargo18Yes

Credit Bureau’s Policy On Authorized Users

Experian- Yes; but if the information on the primary account becomes derogatory, the account is removed from the authorized user’s credit report.

Equifax– Yes; if the authorized user is at least 16. Both positive and negative information will be included.

Transuion– Yes. Both positive and negative information will be included.

Have Questions?

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