Being an authorized user on a credit card gives you all the privileges that come with using the credit card without the responsibility of making payments toward the balance. Many credit card issuers report authorized user accounts to the credit bureaus, which means the account history will appear on your credit report, too.
How Being an Authorized User Affects Your Credit
The account history on an authorized user account can help your credit if the credit card is managed well. Meaning, all the payments are made on time and the balance is kept below 30% of the credit limit. However, late payments and high balances can hurt your credit score even though you're just the authorized user.
Removing Yourself As An Authorized User
There are a few reasons you'd want to be removed as an authorized user. If having the account on your credit report is hurting your credit score and your ability to be approved for other credit cards and loans, removing yourself from the credit card allows you to have the account removed from your credit report. Maybe you're ending your relationship with the primary account holder and you want to eliminate all ties. You might also want to remove yourself if you were added without permission.
To remove your name as an authorized user, start by calling the credit card issuer and simply asking them to remove you from the account. Depending on the bank, you may be able to request this change even though you're only the authorized user.
Some credit card issuers require the primary account holder to make these kinds of account changes. In that case, you'll have to ask that person to call and have you removed from the account.
However, if the primary account holder can't or won't call for you, e.g. you are no longer speaking, and the credit card company won’t remove you without the primary account holder’s permission, you can use the credit report dispute process to have the account removed from your credit report.
Once you're removed from the account, you'll no longer be able to make purchases on the credit card account. You should shred any physical copies of the credit card to reduce the risk of fraudulent purchasing being made on the account. The primary account holder is responsible for all the purchases you made on the account, even the ones you made. (There may be an exception for spouses in community property states.)
If, after removing yourself as an authorized user, the account still appears on your credit report, you can dispute the account to have it removed. The entire history of the account will drop off your credit report and will no longer be used to calculate your credit score. This could be bad or good for your credit score depending on the account history and the other information on your credit report.
Different Process for Joint Accountholders
You can only remove yourself this easily when you're an authorized user. As joint account holders, you are jointly liable for the credit card balance and you cannot simply remove your name from the account. Instead, you'll have to pay off the balance and then request that the account be closed.
Unless the joint account was opened fraudulently, e.g. the other person signed your name without your permission, you also cannot remove it from your credit report. Otherwise, the account will continue to be reported for the duration of the credit reporting time limit or indefinitely if the account is kept open and in good standing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does it take to remove an authorized user card from your credit report?
Your credit report updates whenever it receives new information, so the time it takes to remove an account depends on how often that card company reports information to credit bureaus. Companies have a lot of flexibility in how often they report information, but you can generally expect companies to do so at least once per month. If your credit report hasn't been automatically updated after a month, you might want to officially dispute that authorized user account.
How old do you have to be to be an authorized user on a credit card?
The minimum age to become an authorized user on a credit card varies by company. Some companies might not set a minimum age, in which case a child could be added to a parent's credit card account at any point. To learn the requirements for your card, just call customer service and ask.