Did you know you can add your child as an authorized user on credit cards? But should you? Does adding a child as an authorized user on credit cards hurt you? Here are the benefits of adding your children as authorized users to your cards and which banks let you add a child as an authorized user.
- Adding a Child as an Authorized User on Credit Cards
- What’s an Authorized User
- How to Add An Authorized User
- Why Add Your Child as an Authorized User
- Which Banks Let You Add a Child as a Credit Card Authorized User
Adding a Child as an Authorized User on Credit Cards
Here are some things you should know about adding children as authorized users on your credit cards.
What’s an Authorized User
An authorized user is someone who’s allowed to use your credit card but is not responsible to pay the bill.
So you want to be sure your kid won’t go crazy and run up your entire credit line after you’ve added them to your card. Whereas, a joint user is responsible to pay the bill.
An authorized user isn’t legally responsible to pay the bill. They’re limited to making purchases only. Usually authorized users can’t make changes to your card, such as requesting credit line increases, changing your address, or closing your card. And usually, they can’t take out a cash advance or authorize a balance transfer.
How to Add An Authorized User
You can add an authorized user by calling the number on the back of your credit card. If you’re applying for a new credit card, you can add their name to the application.
When you add an authorized user to your card, the bank will issue a credit card with their name under your account.
Some banks like American Express will issue a new credit card number. While other banks like Chase, Citibank, Barclays, and US Bank will issue a card with the same credit card number. Adding your child as an authorized user to credit cards is easy.
Why Add Your Child as an Authorized User
There are several reasons why you’d want to add your child to your credit cards.
1. Meet Minimum Spending Requirements
Even with the 7 unusual ways to meet minimum spending requirements, sometimes it can be difficult to complete credit card minimum spending.
Adding your child or children on your credit cards can help you meet minimum spending requirements on newly opened credit cards with large sign-up bonuses.
Your child can be making purchases at the same time you’re making purchases, so you’ll reach your minimum spending sooner.
2. Exceed Daily Limits
Adding your child as an authorized user on credit cards means you can vacation more.
Because some purchases, such as gift cards, are limited to a daily purchase amount, when you add your child or children as authorized users, you can exceed those daily purchase limits by double, triple, or quadruple.
For example, Simon Mall gift cards are limited to $10,000 a day per person. If your kids are authorized users on your credit cards, this means you can buy $40,000 worth of Simon Mall gift cards a day (or more depending on how many kids or authorized users you have).
So put those kids to work, it’s about time they helped earn miles and points for the family.
3. Bonus Miles and Points
Some banks may offer bonus miles when you add an authorized user to your account.
4. Establish Credit
Your child can establish credit.
Adding your child as an authorized user to credit cards will start their credit history. They’ll get a huge leg up in terms of their credit score by being able to piggyback on your credit (assuming you have good credit).
A great credit score is the golden ticket and can help your child get a job, get into college, etc. Because you don’t want them to be living at home with no job!
Plus your kid may get targeted for large welcome offers/bonuses! (My kids get 100,000 offers from American Express Platinum every few months.)
Pro-tip: Yes, you can use someone else’s 100k Amex Platinum code!
5. Teach Budgeting
Adding your children as authorized users on your credit card teaches them responsibility, budgeting, and prepares them for living on their own.
Although, some parents may feel more comfortable using prepaid cards or gift cards vs adding their kids to their credit cards.
But just because you add your kids as authorized users doesn’t mean you have to actually give them the cards. What they don’t know won’t hurt them nor will it hurt your credit.
Safely keep authorized user cards out of spendthrift hands
6. Airport Lounge Access
Pro-tip: Most airport lounges have a minimum age requirement of 18. So your unaccompanied minor won’t be able to use their lounge benefit. But once they become an adult, they can relax in the lounge.
7. Global Entry and TSA PreCheck Refunds
8. Statement Credits
Some cards allow authorized users to take advantage of perks like statement credits.
Which Banks Let You Add a Child as a Credit Card Authorized User
Banks have different rules on adding children as authorized users to credit cards. Some banks, like American Express, have restrictive rules. Whereas other banks, like Capital One, are very lenient.
1. American Express
Your child must be at least 13 years old to be added as an authorized user to your American Express cards. This is great news because when I first wrote this post, the minimum age used to be 15.
Have your child’s date of birth and social security number handy because it’s a requirement. American Express reports authorized user accounts to the credit bureaus. Depending on when you opened your first Amex account and your child’s age, they might become a member many years before they were born. 😉
American Express does not charge a fee for authorized users cards on:
- American Express Business Gold Rewards card
- American Express Delta Platinum SkyMiles card
- American Express Everyday Preferred card
- Hilton Honors American Express card
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass card
- American Express Gold Card
You will pay a fee for authorized user cards on these cards:
- American Express Delta Reserve card – $175 for each authorized user card (see rates and fees)
- American Express Delta Reserve Business card – $175 per authorized user (see rates and fees)
- American Express Platinum card – $175 for up to 3 authorized user cards (see rates and fees)
- American Express Platinum Business card – $300 for each authorized user card (see rates and fees)
Authorized users of American Express cards are issued a separate credit card number. Different card numbers mean you can get more AMEX Offers.
If you aren’t comfortable allowing your child access to your entire credit limit on your American Express card, you can set a limit for each billable period.
For example, you can let your child charge $500 in December because of the holidays. Then in January, you can change the limit to $100.
This prevents your child from going hog wild and running amok with your credit cards.
American Express sends authorized user cards in 2 to 3 business days via FedEx or UPS.
When this post was first published on December 4, 2014, there was no minimum age to add your child to your Barclays cards. You could add your infant. Nor was there a fee to add authorized users to any Barclays cards.
And you didn’t have to provide the authorized user’s social security number or date of birth. However, Barclays will not report the information to the credit bureau, unless you provide your child’s social security number.
But now, an authorized user has to be at least 13 years old. And Barclays requires their date of birth and social security number. Authorized user accounts are reported to the credit bureaus which builds your child’s credit history and credit score.
When you add your child (or another person) as an authorized user to your Barclays cards, you’ll be reminded that you are responsible for all transactions.
Authorized users on Barclay cards can obtain cash advances, request checks, and can request a payment via check for overpaid accounts.
But they can’t close the account or add additional authorized users, request an increase or decrease to your credit limit, or request balance refunds.
A separate credit card number is issued for authorized users of Barclays cards.
Barclay sends authorized users cards via regular mail in 7 to 10 business days. For a fee of $29, you can request to receive cards in 1 to 2 days via FedEx.
You can add anyone as an authorized user on your Chase cards for free. There is no minimum age requirement. When this post was first written Chase didn’t require a date of birth or social security number to add an authorized user.
Now, Chase requires the authorized user’s date of birth. Chase reports authorized user accounts to the credit bureaus.
Pro-tip: Being an authorized user on Chase cards counts towards the 5/24 limit (5 cards received in 24 months).
Chase also gives you the option to add your child as an authorized user without sending a card.
You will be reminded by Chase that you are liable for the full balance and your authorized users on Chase cards have access to your full credit limit.
Authorized user cards on Chase accounts are sent in 1 to 2 business days via UPS.
Citibank has no age restrictions for authorized users. They do not require a date of birth, social security number, or fee when you add authorized users to your Citibank cards.
Authorized user accounts on Citibank cards are reported to the credit bureau.
You can have authorized user cards sent express delivery via FedEx for free. Or you can wait 5 to 10 business days for delivery via the postal service.
5. US Bank
There is no minimum age requirement or fee to add an authorized user to your US Bank cards. You have to provide their full name, date of birth, and social security number.
US Bank reports authorized user accounts to the credit bureaus.
US Bank authorized user cards are sent in 5 to 10 business days.
You can add a child as an authorized user on your credit cards.
The benefits of adding your child to your cards far outweigh the risks. By adding your kids to your credit cards you help them establish credit and learn how to budget. You get the benefits of meeting your minimum spending faster plus bonus points for adding your child to your credit card.
It took about 30 minutes to add my kids as authorized users on all my credit cards. Depending on how many open credit cards you have, it might take less time.
What’s stopping you from adding your kids as authorized users to your credit cards?
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For Delta Reserve rates and fees, click here.
For Delta Reserve Business rates and fees, click here.
For Amex Platinum rates and fees, click here.
For Amex Business Platinum rates and fees, clickhere.
Traveling Well For Less has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Traveling Well For Less and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.
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Everything You Need to Know How to Earn Miles With Airline Dining Programs -
Friday 3rd of January 2020
[…] When you split the check you can pay with the same credit card or debit card, an authorized user card, or use a different […]
Thursday 5th of January 2017
Great article! Has anything changed, or is still the same for 2017? Thank you!
Thursday 4th of December 2014
Excellent idea! I had no idea I could add my underage children to make an additional 5k miles. Thanks again Deb.
Debbie @ Traveling Well For Less
Thursday 4th of December 2014
Yep. And you can earn even more miles and points than 5k. wink :)
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Debra Schroeder is a travel writer with 26 years of experience using miles and points to travel the world. A former 12-year travel industry executive, she knows how to find the deals and how to creatively finance trips, like getting a trip to Hawaii for practically free or a $26,000 trip to Australia for $208. She’s always looking for the best deal, whether it’s a hostel, luxury resort, or somewhere in between.