Bank of America makes it easy to add an authorized user to your credit card. Here’s how to add someone to your account, and a few things to consider before you do.
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If you have a Bank of America credit card, you can add friends or family to your account as an authorized user. They’ll receive a credit card of their own and can use it to spend on the account, with access to your credit limit.
There are several benefits to adding someone as an authorized user on your credit card. You can help a friend or family member with low credit boost their credit score, and if you share finances with a partner, you can easily get all of your spending in one place. Plus, if your card earns rewards, the authorized user’s purchases will also bring in cash back or points.
However, there are also some downsides that come with adding someone as an authorized user. Once you add them to the account and give them the right to use the credit card, you’re ultimately responsible for their spending. If you’re considering adding someone as an authorized user on your Bank of America card, we can help. Keep reading to learn how to add an authorized user, potential costs of adding someone to your account and whether it’s a good idea to add an authorized user.
How to add an authorized user to your Bank of America account
Bank of America makes it easy to add an authorized user to your credit card account. You can add someone over the phone by calling customer service, but it’s even easier to do online. You just need the authorized user’s name, birth date, Social Security number and phone number.
Here’s how to add an authorized user to your Bank of America account online:
- Log in to your Bank of America online account
- On the page that displays your accounts, choose the credit card you want to add an authorized user to
- Click on the “Information & Services” option
- Find the menu titled “Services” and click on the “Add an authorized user” option
- Enter your authorized user’s personal information
- Click “Submit”
Once you’ve added your authorized user, the issuer will mail a credit card, with the authorized user’s name on it, to your address. Simply activate the card and give it to your authorized user — then, they’ll have the ability to spend on it.
It’s also worth noting that because the authorized user’s card will be mailed to the address of the primary cardholder, you could choose not to give it to them.
Often, people add an authorized user as a way of helping people with poor credit improve their score or help children with no credit history to build up their credit.
However, if they spend on the account, you’re the one responsible for paying back those purchases. Instead, you might choose to add them to the account so that your regular payments are reported on their credit report, but without letting them spend on the card.
Is there a fee for adding an authorized user to your Bank of America credit card account?
It’s free to add an authorized user to your Bank of America credit card account, meaning you won’t be charged any sort of fee. The other good news is that if you have a credit card with an annual fee, it only applies to the account, not each individual user.
Should you add an authorized user to your Bank of America card?
Bank of America makes it easy to add an authorized user to your credit card, but it’s worth asking yourself whether it’s a good idea. There are some pros and cons to having an authorized user, and it could have major implications for your financial health as well. Let’s examine them, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
You may choose to add your partner as an authorized user on your card to make it easier to track your collective spending together, especially if you share finances. Similarly, a parent might choose to add their teenage or adult children on the card to use for regular spending or for emergencies. However, most people choose to add an authorized user to their account to benefit the other person’s credit score.
When you add someone as an authorized user on your credit card, they’ll get credit for your entire payment history — including the time before they were on the account. Their credit will also be impacted by the account’s credit utilization, meaning the percentage of available credit being used.
The better (and longer) the payment history and the lower the credit utilization, the better the effect on the authorized user’s credit score. For this reason, people often choose to add a loved one who may be struggling with poor credit.
There is one benefit for the primary cardholder. If the card you intend to add a user to is a rewards card, all purchases made on the authorized user’s card are eligible to earn rewards as well. So as the primary cardholder, if you’re waiting to earn more points to book a future trip, adding an authorized user could only benefit you.
Unfortunately, the credit score benefits of having an authorized user only help the authorized user. They don’t help you as the account holder, especially if your credit is already healthy.
As previously discussed, even though an authorized user can use their card to spend on your account, you, as the main account owner, are completely financially responsible for your and their balances. If an authorized user racks up a large balance you can’t pay off, you could see your credit score and financial health ruined. The same can be said for cash advances and checks, which the authorized user can request, but which you are responsible for all the same.
If the authorized user continually overspends on your card and doesn’t pay you back, you may have to remove them from your card. The process is relatively easy, but you must contend with the fact your relationship may be impacted.
Ultimately, you should only add someone you know well and trust as your authorized user. Establish how they will use the card and how and when they’ll pay you back (if that’s what you want) before you hand over the card.
Adding an authorized user comes with plenty of benefits, including making it easier to manage your household budget and helping a loved one boost their credit score. However, there are also some downsides and potential dangers you should look out for.
The good news is that if you’re a Bank of America credit card customer, this issuer makes it easy — and free — to add authorized users to your account.
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