There are plenty of reasons why you may want to add someone to your credit card account, either as a joint account holder or as an authorized user. But later, you might change your mind, or have a good reason to revoke that person’s access to your account.
For example, an authorized user may be abusing his or her card by charging too much. Cardholders may also wish to separate their finances from a spouse or significant other due to a breakup, separation or divorce. In other situations, friends or family might be added as authorized cardholders in order to have their credit score benefit from your good credit. But if your credit is suffering, or the authorized user no longer needs the help, then it might be time to end that arrangement.
No matter what your reason is, here is how to remove someone from your account:
An authorized cardholder is someone who has a credit card under your account, and can make charges, but is unable to perform most other account functions. Authorized cardholders do not have any obligation to pay for their charges, or any other charges to the account. This ability to make purchases that they do not have to repay can tempt some authorized cardholders to abuse their charging privileges.
Yet the one change that authorized cardholders can make is to remove themselves from an account. Either the primary account holder, joint account holder or the authorized cardholder in question can contact the card issuer to remove that authorization. In most cases, cardholders or authorized cardholders can call or email the card issuer to remove the authorization, but some banks require the request to be submitted in writing in order to be finalized. Authorized cardholders should then destroy their cards.
Joint Account Holders
A joint account is an arrangement where two people share the status of primary account holder, and both have complete authorization to make any change to an account that a primary account holder would. Additionally, both joint account holders are individually responsible for the repayment of all debts, regardless of which cardholder happened to make the purchase. In fact, many card issuers no longer permit joint accounts, although some still do. See Are Joint Credit Cards a Good Idea?
When it comes to making changes to an account, either party can close a joint account without the consent of the other. So in situations of breakup or divorce, either party can unilaterally close the account by contacting the card issuer over the phone or in writing. Once closed, the cards of both joint account holders and any authorized cardholders will be deactivated, and any future attempt to make purchases will be declined. Nevertheless, both joint account holders will still be individually responsible for paying off any remaining balance under the terms existing at the time the account was closed.
When to Take Someone Off of Your Account
Timing is key to this process, as many account holders wait until after they find out that an authorized or joint account holder has been ringing up large purchases. One prudent step that cardholders can take, short of taking someone off of their account, is setting up email or text alerts so that they can be informed of activity by their joint or primary account holders. However, some cards allow primary account holders to set limits on the spending of authorized cardholders.
The best practice with both joint accounts and authorized cardholders is to communicate with the other people on your account in order to let them know what charges they have permission to make, and under what circumstances the account will be closed. Breaking up is hard to do, but removing someone from your credit card account is actually quite simple.
When you share credit, it’s especially important to keep an eye on your credit scores. If you’re an authorized user, you’ll want to be as certain as you can that the primary user has good credit. And if you’re hoping to help someone by making them an authorized or joint user on your account, you’ll want to be certain that your credit is good enough to boost theirs. Both parties can get free credit scores once a month from Credit.com, along with a road map for improving or maintaining them.
More on Credit Cards:
- The Credit.com Credit Card Learning Center
- 6 Smart Credit Card Strategies
- How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit
Image: Ciaran Griffin