Q. I just read the article about getting added as an authorized to accounts in good standing (e.g. parents’ accounts or friend’s account) in order to improve credit score.
I have a related situation. A few years ago, my husband opened a credit card in his name and added me as an authorized user about a year later. He maxed out that card and was late several times in paying the bill. Now that card is on my otherwise great credit report, and it’s pulling my score down.
Can I get this off my report? To do so, do I contact the bureaus, the creditor, or both? And what documentation do I need?
A. Being an authorized user on a credit card in good standing can be a good strategy for improving your credit. However, technically, authorized user accounts are not supposed to appear on your credit report, as explained in this article. However, it is common for the credit bureaus to report authorized user accounts on credit reports.
An authorized user account is not the same as someone who is a joint user on an account. The difference between a joint user and an authorized user is that the authorized user’s credit history is not considered when issuing the account. An authorized user’s influence over how the account is used is limited. For instance, an authorized user cannot call and have a new card delivered to him or her – cards for authorized users are sent to the primary card holder.
Since your husband added you a year after the account was originally created, the credit card company should be in no doubt that the account is not a joint one – your credit history was not used in the decision to issue the card. The simplest way to remove this account is to have your husband call the credit card company and get your name removed as an authorized user. Subsequently, this account should automatically fall off of your credit report. The credit card company should be able to do this, and they will merely deactivate your card.
Should you meet with resistance to removing your name, either from your husband or the credit card company, you can write the bureaus and inform them that you are only an authorized user and not a joint credit card holder and the account should come off of your credit report. Credit reports should have a code by each account which indicates it is an authorized user account. Disputing the account status code is a legitimate reason for writing a dispute letter to the credit bureaus. You don’t need to send in any documentation.