The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Thursday, July 9, 2020

5 Best Credit Cards for Authorized Users

5 Best Credit Cards for Authorized Users

credit card advice

Adam West
By: Adam West
Updated: March 13, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

Whether you’re looking to build your credit history, help a loved one build theirs, or add an employee to your credit account, the best credit cards for authorized users can help you achieve that goal.

Authorized users are issued their own credit card with access to your existing line of credit. The authorized user will see an improved credit score — assuming the account is managed responsibly — and the primary cardholder earns rewards for the authorized user’s purchases.

The cards below make it easy and rewarding to add an authorized user.

Best Overall | Other Cards | FAQs

Best Overall Card for Authorized Users

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is our top choice for authorized users, mainly because authorized users get the same Priority Pass® lounge access primary cardholders do. Both cardholders’ spending can also help meet the minimum amount necessary to earn the generous signup bonus more easily.

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
16.99%-23.99% Variable
$550
Good/Excellent

Plus, all purchases earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points that are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. Alas, only the primary cardholder receives the $300 annual travel credit, but all cardholders will still earn the 3X rewards points on travel and restaurant purchases.

Each additional card on the account will cost $175/year. Of course, if you don’t want to pay the premium annual fee this card charges, we’ve provided less-expensive alternatives below.

Other Top Cards for Authorized Users

The cards below all allow authorized users who are younger than 18 if you want to help build a minor’s credit history. Each issuer reports the account’s history to the three major credit reporting bureaus, which helps your authorized user build his or her credit history.

Unfortunately, it can also hurt his or her credit history if a payment is made late or the card is near or exceeds its credit limit.

2

Discover it® Cash Back

This card is currently not available.

Discover® Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Discover it® Cash Back requires authorized users to be 15 or older. The bank doesn’t charge to add authorized users, and all spending on the account earns bonus cash back on the purchase maximum in quarterly rotating bonus rewards categories when activated.

3

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

This card is currently not available.

Capital One® Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card allows authorized users of all ages. All cardholders’ spending earns an unlimited 2X miles on every purchase — and your authorized user’s spending can help you reach the spending threshold required to earn this card’s signup bonus that provides major travel credits.

Just note that only the primary cardholder can redeem rewards.

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 - 23.74%.
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% 15 Months
N/A
14.99%–23.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® places no age restrictions on authorized users and allows them to redeem accrued rewards within the shared account. The card’s 0% introductory APR applies to purchases made by both the primary and authorized cardholder.

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can add an authorized user of any age and help him or her build (or rebuild) their credit history while earning up to 2X points on all purchases. This card’s annual fee only applies to the primary cardholder; authorized users are free.

Which Credit Cards Allow Authorized Users?

Just about every major bank, community bank, and credit union that issues credit cards will allow authorized users on approved accounts. You can add an authorized user when you first apply for a card or at any time after you’ve activated your account.

If you add an authorized user when you apply, you’ll receive two cards in the mail — one with your name printed on it and another with your authorized user’s name. If you add a user after you’ve received your card, you can typically receive the authorized user’s card in the mail within seven to 10 business days.

Credit Card Issuer Customer Service Contact Numbers

Most banks allow authorized users. Call your issuer’s customer service line for account details.

Synchrony is one of the few large issuers that limits authorized users. Synchrony issues many popular retail cards and only allows authorized users on select cards in its portfolio.

But, since the majority of these cards are closed-loop, meaning they can only be used to make purchases with the specific retailer associated with the card, you may find little benefit to adding an authorized user to a store credit card anyway.

If you’re applying for a credit card with the intention of adding an authorized user, check the issuer’s terms and conditions — or contact the issuer — before you apply. Most issuers don’t charge a fee to add an authorized user and make it easy to add someone to your account.

Does Making Someone an Authorized User Help Their Credit Score?

It can, as long as the credit card issuer reports the account to the three major credit reporting bureaus and the account is in good standing. All but two of the biggest credit card issuers report to all three credit reporting bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

The exceptions are Barclays and Synchrony Bank, which only report to Equifax and TransUnion. These cardholders will receive credit reporting benefits with these two bureaus, but not with Experian.

Keep in mind that credit reporting goes both ways. While responsible spending and on-time payments can improve your and your authorized user’s credit scores, late payments and/or high balances can have the opposite effect for everyone.

FICO Credit Score Factors

Be mindful of the top two credit scoring factors to help you and your authorized user build good credit. Always pay on time and keep your credit card balance below 30% of its spending limit.

Many parents choose to help their children establish a credit history during their late teens by adding them as authorized users on a low-limit credit account. This not only has credit score impacts, but it also helps teach responsible credit behaviors at a time when adulthood is near and these skills become more important.

Note, though, that authorized users only get the credit score benefits if you provide their identifying information (including Social Security number) when adding them to the account and they receive a card in their name. If you have a business credit card that you loan out to employees as needed, the person will not see an impact on their credit score from using the card.

Do Authorized Users Get Benefits?

Benefits for authorized users vary by card. As mentioned above, the top-rated Chase Sapphire Reserve® provides luxury lounge access at select airports to both primary cardholders and each authorized user.

Most every credit card gives the same purchase rewards for every account cardholder, but read your card’s terms and conditions to confirm. The same goes for insurance and protection benefits, such as roadside assistance and extended warranty coverage.

Both Chase and Citi allow authorized users to redeem rewards earned through the joint account. Wells Fargo allows primary cardholders to choose whether authorized users can redeem rewards. All other major issuers limit redemptions only to primary cardholders.

Some high-end rewards — such as the $300 annual travel credit given to Chase Sapphire Reserve® members — only apply to the primary cardholder. Signup bonuses are generally restricted to one per account, though the authorized user can help you achieve the bonus quicker by spending on the card.

Special shopping discounts, such as Amex Offers and Chase Offers, are available to all cardholders.

What is the Minimum Age Requirement for Authorized Users?

Even though credit is a necessary component of our financial lives, most public school systems don’t teach responsible spending, budgeting, and credit building. That means it’s up to parents to set the example.

A great way to do this is to add your minor child as an authorized user on a low-limit credit card. Not only will this teach your child how to manage his or her spending, but it will help them establish a credit history and an eventual credit score.

Minimum Age for Authorized Users by Issuer

Most major credit card issuers allow you to add a minor to your account and have a card issued in his or her name.

Bank of America, Capital One, and Chase allow additional authorized users of any age. Just about every other issuer places an age limit of 13 to 16 years old for authorized users.

Citi, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo are the only issuers who do not require the Social Security number of the authorized user, which may limit the information submitted to the credit bureaus under the user’s name.

If you’re adding an authorized user with the intent of improving his or her credit score, check with the issuer before applying to make sure the bank reports the account information to all three credit bureaus.

You Earn, They Learn

Adding an authorized user to your credit account can not only boost the user’s credit score, but it can help you earn more rewards and reach spending thresholds for signup bonuses faster.

But it’s important that you discuss the responsibility of card ownership with anyone you are considering adding as an authorized user. Irresponsible spending and late or missed payments can sink your and your authorized users’ credit scores and quickly negate the rewards earned and the benefits of being a cardholder.

But if you spend wisely, the best credit cards for authorized users can give everyone an advantage on their credit-building journey and make it easier for you to earn while they learn.

Advertiser Disclosure

CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation from many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across the site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.