An authorized user is a person who has permission to use your credit card account, but not responsibility for making the payments on the account. You may have added a child as an authorized user on your account to allow them to jumpstart their credit or to give them a way to make credit card purchases.
There comes a time when authorized users must be, or maybe choose to be, removed from the account, especially if their credit card use is hurting your credit score or vice versa. You might even opt to remove an authorized user to avoid paying an additional fee for having another person on your account.
Process to Remove an Authorized User
Removing an authorized user from a credit card is pretty easy. You can call the credit card issuer at the number on the back of your credit card and request that the authorized user be removed from the credit card. If you have multiple authorized users but are only removing one, make sure you specify which user you’d like to remove from the account.
You can follow up your request with a letter to prove that you made the request. For example, you can write “Per our phone conversation on 7/17/2020, I would like to remove Jane Doe’s authorized user status from my account ending in 1234 effective 7/17/2020.”
Credit card issuers often have a specific address for receiving letters. Check your credit card statement for your credit card issuer’s address for correspondence. Send the letter via certified mail if you’d like confirmation that the credit card issuer received the letter.
You may even be able to easily remove the authorized user through your online account or the card issuer's smartphone app for some issuers. Log into your account, and look for an option to manage users.
Once the authorized user is removed from the account, they'll no longer have access to make purchases using their credit card. The primary account holder can keep and use any rewards that were accumulated on the account.
It's helpful to let the authorized user know that you’re removing them from the account, so they know not to try to use their card. Otherwise, they could be unpleasantly surprised with a declined transaction after trying to use that credit card to make a purchase.
Removing Yourself as an Authorized User
If you need to remove yourself as an authorized user, you may be able to get yourself removed by following the same process—by making a call to the credit card's customer service.
In some cases, the card issuer may require the primary account holder to make this kind of change to the account. If this isn't possible, and the credit card company won’t remove you without the primary account holder’s permission, you can as least use the credit report dispute process to have the account removed from your credit report. That way, the account history will no longer affect your credit score.
File a dispute with the credit bureaus if the account continues to show on your credit report even after you've been removed. You can have the account information removed from your credit file.
The primary cardholder is solely responsible for paying back any purchases made by the authorized user while they were listed on your account. Your credit card agreement overrides any verbal agreements you had with the authorized user to pay their share of the credit card bill.
The authorized user doesn’t have any legal responsibility for the charges they made to the account.
What About a Joint Cardholder?
There is no process for removing a joint cardholder from a credit card account. Joint cardholders apply for and hold the credit card together. Both parties’ are equally responsible for the credit card balance and remain on the account for as long as it's open.
If joint cardholders no longer want to share a credit card, they must pay off the balance or transfer it to a credit card held by just one of the account holders. Once the balance is taken care of, the account can be closed to prevent further purchases.