How to remove an authorized user from a credit card account
Either the primary cardholder or the person 'piggybacking' can ask to be removed
By Connie Prater | Updated: September 28, 2016
Have you been piggybacking on another person's credit card account and want to stop riding their credit coattails?
Being an authorized user -- also known as "piggybacking" -- on a credit card account means the primary account holder gives you permission to use his or her account to shop or make purchases. That primary account holder is responsible for repaying any debts you may incur with the card. (Note: Being an authorized user is not the same as being a joint account holder or co-signer, where both users are responsible for repaying the credit card debt.)
Besides spending privileges, the biggest advantage to piggybacking is that it can give the authorized user's credit history and credit score an immediate boost. That's because once you become an authorized user on an account, the primary account holder's credit history on that specific card can appear on your credit report.
A person with no credit history of their own or a low credit score can benefit from this arrangement. Parents often add their children as authorized users to give them a head start in achieving good credit. However, there's also a risk: The primary account holder's payment history may nosedive or contain negative information. In that instance, the piggybacker's credit score could be hurt, and the authorized user may want to be removed from the account. Once removed, the credit history of the primary account holder -- negative or positive -- will disappear from the authorized user's credit reports.
The procedures vary slightly among major card issuers, but all allow either the primary cardholder or the authorized user to request removal.
Here's a quick reference list to help steer you through the process of removing an authorized user from a credit card account:
|Decline the ride: Rules of major card issuers for removing authorized users
|Credit card issuer||How to remove authorized users from accounts||How long does it take?||Who can make request?|
|American Express||Call the number on the back of the card or customer service at 800-528-4800||Card will be canceled within 72 hours after request is submitted||Either primary cardholder or authorized user|
|Bank of America||Call the number on the back of the card or customer service at 800-432-1000||Immediately||Primary cardholder
|Barclays||Call customer service at 1-888-710-8756 or visit the Barclays website||Immediately||Primary cardholder|
|Capital One||Call 800-955-7070 or log into the online servicing center to request the change||Immediately||Primary cardholder|
|Chase||Call the number on the back of the card or 800-432-3117||Immediately||Primary cardholder
|Citi||Online or call 888-248-4226||Immediately||Either primary cardholder or authorized user|
||Call 800-347-2683||Shortly after the request is made||Primary cardholder|
|USAA||Call customer service at 800-531-8722 or visit the USAA customer website||Immediately||Either primary cardholder or authorized user|
||Call 800-872-2657, go online or mail a request to: Cardmember Services, P.O. Box 6352, Fargo, North Dakota, 58125||Immediately if done over the phone; 1-5 business days if done via mail or online||Either primary cardholder or authorized user|
|Wells Fargo||Call the number on the back of the card, 800-869-3557 or mail a request to: Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., P.O. Box 10347, Des Moines, IA 50306||Immediately||Either primary cardholder or authorized user|
|Issuer information updated using CreditCards.com research current as of Sept. 23, 2016|
See related: When is it not good to piggyback on mom and dad's credit, Credit card authorized users, joint account holders: Know the difference, Cardholders' mistakes can bring down authorized users' credit score, Act fast to remove authorized user when your credit goes south
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