What is Means to Be an Authorized User on a Credit Card
Last Updated: March 17, 2017
One of the most misunderstood areas of credit is when someone is an authorized user on credit card account. So it is no surprise that one of the most asked questions on our credit report discussion forum goes something like this: "I am an authorized user on a credit account. Can I get this account listing off my credit report?" We first need to make sure everyone understands what an authorized user is and why would someone be one in the first place? Only then can we address how to get this account removed from your credit report.
Who is an Authorized User?
Let's say you have a child who is going off to college and you would like for him/her to have a credit card to use. You can call up the bank and request this child be listed as an authorized user on this credit card. They will add this person to the account and they will issue a credit card in your child's name. The company does not use the credit score of the child but it does show up on the child's credit report. This is a good way for a parent, who has good credit, to help their child establish credit.
Why Would You Want to Remove an Authorized User?
Maybe the parents had to file for bankruptcy and this account is showing up as a negative on the child's credit report. So, instead of helping their credit score, it is hurting it.
Changes Regarding Authorized Users
There have been some changes regarding authorized users and how they are viewed by FICO. For more info, read these proposed changes to credit scoring which addresses authorized users.
Not too long ago, we received this letter:
|I saw on a message board that it is illegal under the FCRA for the bureaus to report accounts on your report for which you are an authorized user. I am on my brother's two Capital One accounts as an AU and he has been delinquent on this account. They are refusing to take it off my report. Could you send me the section of the FCRA stating that this is illegal/and or post to the site?|
According to Section 603 of the FCRA, the way I interpret it, only information on credit issued to a consumer is allowed. If you are an authorized user, you do not fall under these categories, you are not responsible for the debt and did not receive credit. An authorized user doesn't have credit on this account and it's only the signor that is responsible. So, in essence, if an account on which you are an authorized user shows up on your report, it would be someone else's credit (the signor on the account.) I've had lots of readers successfully challenge this to both the creditors and the bureaus, and have accounts in which they were authorized users removed.
FCRA Section 603
Definitions; rules of construction [15 U.S.C. ß 1681a] (what credit lines can be reported).
(l) Firm Offer of Credit or Insurance. The term "firm offer of credit or insurance" means any offer of credit or insurance to a consumer that will be honored if the consumer is determined, based on information in a consumer report on the consumer, to meet the specific criteria used to select the consumer for the offer, except that the offer may be further conditioned on one or more of the following:
- The consumer being determined, based on information in the consumer's application for the credit or insurance, to meet specific criteria bearing on credit worthiness or insurability, as applicable, that are established
(A) before selection of the consumer for the offer; and
(B) for the purpose of determining whether to extend credit or insurance pursuant to the offer.
- that the consumer continues to meet the specific criteria used to select the consumer for the offer, by using information in a consumer report on the consumer, information in the consumer's application for the credit or insurance, or other information bearing on the credit worthiness or insurability of the consumer; or
- of the information in the consumer's application for the credit or insurance, to determine that the consumer meets the specific criteria bearing on credit worthiness or insurability.
(3) The consumer furnishing any collateral that is a requirement for the extension of the credit or insurance that was
- established before selection of the consumer for the offer of credit or insurance; and
- disclosed to the consumer in the offer of credit or insurance.