USA   |   UK   |   Australia   |   Canada
ADVERTISEMENT

Forging hubby's signature on a card application

She made herself an authorized user, then fell behind on payments

By

To Her Credit
To Her Credit, Sally Herigstad
Sally Herigstad is a certified public accountant and the author of "Help! I Can't Pay My Bills: Surviving a Financial Crisis" (St. Martin's Press, 2006). She writes "To Her Credit," a weekly reader Q&A column about issues involving women, credit and debt, for CreditCards.com, and also writes regularly for MSN Money, Interest.com and Bankrate.com, and has guested on Martha Stewart Radio and other programs. See her website SallyHerigstad.com for more personal finance tips and free budgeting worksheets.
Ask Sally a question, or read her previous answers in the To Her Credit archive
Question for the CreditCards.com expert

Dear To Her Credit,
I opened a credit card in my husband's name, with me as the authorized user. I forged his signature on the application. He was unaware of this and now it's affecting his credit negatively because I've fallen behind on the payments. What can I do to remove this from his credit?   -- Dani

Answer for the CreditCards.com expert

Dear Dani,
There's precious little you can do to simply remove this from your husband's credit record at this point, I'm afraid.

You've already got three strikes against you:

  1. You forged a signature. What spouse hasn't forged a signature at some time for expediency's sake? No admissions here, but sometimes it's no big deal. If you're going to forge a signature, however, don't do it on an income tax return or an application for credit. Ever.
  2. You didn't tell your husband. The fact that you didn't tell him indicates that it was more than just forging his signature because he happened to be at work. You deliberately applied for credit in his name, behind his back. That's fraud.
  3. You didn't keep up with the payments.

You can't go to the credit card company now and say, "Oh, I want to take my husband off this card." You can close the card so no more purchases can be made, which is probably a good idea. But the damage is done.

If your husband discovered this when he checked his credit report, he's probably upset -- and justifiably so. To show that you're sorry, you need to make amends. The best way to do that is to catch up on the payments, and then pay off the balance as quickly as possible. I don't mean make the minimum payments for the next 10 years or make extra payments when you have the money. To get rid of this debt, you need to concentrate your full energies on it until it's gone.

Think of this debt payoff plan as a sprint. You're going to do things you couldn't do long term, you're going to live in a style you wouldn't find comfortable very long, but you're going to pay off this debt faster than you ever thought possible. Here's how:

  • Work more. Take more hours on at work, if possible. Work evenings and weekends, even if it's delivering pizzas, cleaning houses or babysitting. Every dollar goes to paying down debt.
  • Stop spending. No manicures, eating out, clothes or movies. You don't have time, anyway, with all this extra work.
  • Sell something. If you bought things with the credit card, some of it may still be returnable. Look around for things of yours that you can sell. Have a garage sale or sell things online.

This may seem hard, but it's not forever. You made a mistake, but almost all mistakes in life can be fixed if you work hard enough. Your husband's credit score will improve when the account is current, and it will be even better when it is paid in full. In time, this account will matter less and less on his credit history until it disappears altogether.

See related: Dealing with a spouse's secret credit card debtWhos pays secret debt in divorce

Meet CreditCards.com's reader Q&A experts
Vexed by a personal finance problem? CreditCards.com's Q&A experts answer questions from readers every weekday. Ask a question, or click on any expert to see their previous answers.
Gary Foreman, New Frugal You columnist Gary Foreman,
"New Frugal You"
Sally Herigstad, To Her Credit columnist Sally Herigstad,
"To Her Credit"
Tony Mecia, Cashing In columnist Tony Mecia,
"Cashing In"
Barry Paperno, Speaking of Credit columnist Barry Paperno,
"Speaking of Credit"
Elaine Pofeldt, Your Business Credit columnist Elaine Pofeldt,
"Your Business Credit"
Erica Sandberg, Opening Credits columnist Erica Sandberg,
"Opening Credits"

Published: November 8, 2013



Join the discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.

Three most recent To Her Credit stories:

Share This Story




Follow Us!


Credit Card Rate Report

Updated: 10-22-2014

National Average 15.07%
Low Interest 10.37%
Business 12.80%
Balance Transfer 12.82%
Student 13.14%
Cash Back 14.98%
Reward 15.05%
Airline 15.46%
Bad Credit 22.73%
Instant Approval 28.00%

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT