Adding an additional cardholder can help you earn extra rewards while also boosting their credit, as long as you trust them to spend responsibly.
You already know that your on-time Wells Fargo credit card payments boost your credit score. But did you know that your payments could also help increase the credit score of a family member or friend with a lower score? Or that your payments could help your children build their own credit scores?
It’s true. This can all happen if you add friends or family members– or anyone else – as authorized users to your Wells Fargo credit card account.
Just be careful: While adding authorized users can help others build or repair credit, it could leave you with some financial pain if your authorized users don’t follow your spending rules.
What is an authorized user?
An authorized user is someone who has access to your credit card account. When you add an authorized user to your account, that person receives a credit card in the mail with its own unique number. But when they make purchases with this card, the charges go onto your account.
You’d add an authorized user to your Wells Fargo credit card to help that user build or repair credit. Every time you make an on-time payment on your card, it’s reported to the three national credit bureaus of Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
These on-time payments steadily improve the credit score of both you and your authorized users. This is why parents might add their children to help them build a score or a friend or family member with a low score that needs a boost.
There is a risk here for you: Authorized users aren’t responsible for paying off any of the charges they make. When they make a purchase, the primary account holder is responsible for paying it off. If you don’t, that charge will carry over past your credit card’s due date, triggering your card’s interest rate. If your authorized users make a lot of charges and don’t pay them off in full? You could face unexpectedly higher credit card bills each month.
That’s why it’s so important to come to an agreement with your authorized users, spelling out exactly how much they can charge each month and when they must pay you for their purchases. If they don’t follow this agreement? You can remove them from your account.
It’s not all risk when you add an authorized user, though. If you have a Wells Fargo-branded rewards card – such as the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card* or the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card* – your authorized users will rack up rewards points and cash back bonuses when they use your card to make purchases, helping you earn rewards and cash back at a faster pace.
Authorized user eligibility requirements
You can add anyone as an authorized user to your Wells Fargo credit card account. This includes family members, of course, but can also include friends, employees or anyone else you’d like to add.
To add authorized users, you must provide their name, address, date of birth and Social Security number.
How to add an authorized user to your Wells Fargo account
You can easily add an authorized user to your account by first logging onto Wells Fargo Online Banking. After logging in, click on the “Account Services” tab and then click “Credit Card Service Center.” Next, click on the “Request credit card features” heading. You can then click the “Additional cardholders for your account” link, which will allow you to add authorized users.
Fee for adding an authorized user
There are no fees for adding an authorized user to your Wells Fargo credit card.
Managing authorized user access
You can’t set limits on how much your authorized users spend each month. That’s why it’s important to only add authorized users whom you trust to follow whatever spending rules you set up with them.
Fortunately, it’s easy to remove authorized users from your Wells Fargo account if they are not following your limits.
Again, log into your Wells Fargo account. Click on “Account Services” and then on “Credit Card Service Center.” Next, choose the “Request credit card features” heading. You can then click “Additional cardholders for your account” to remove any of the authorized users on your account. You can also call the 800-number on the back of your Wells Fargo credit card to remove users.
Pros and cons of adding an authorized user
There are both risks and rewards for adding an authorized user to your Wells Fargo card.
- Credit score boost: When you add authorized users, you can help them repair damaged credit. When you make an on-time payment on your Wells Fargo card, that payment is reported to the national credit bureaus, which will provide a boost to your credit score and the scores of any authorized users.
- Building credit scores: Some people don’t have enough of a history to have a credit score. This often happens with young adults who haven’t yet applied for their own credit cards or taken out any loans. You can help these consumers build their credit scores by adding them as authorized users. They’ll get the benefits of positive credit history without having to qualify for a card themselves.
- A boost to your rewards: When authorized users make purchases with their Wells Fargo card, those charges go onto your account. This can help you earn rewards and cash back bonuses at a faster rate.
- Overspending: You are responsible for any charges made by your authorized users. If they refuse to pay you for their charges? You’ll have to make the payments – something that could bust your monthly budget.
- A higher credit-utilization ratio: Your credit utilization ratio – a measure of how much of your available credit you are using – can help or hurt your credit score. If that ratio is high, your score will take a dip. If authorized users run up your credit card balance and then don’t pay you back for your charges? Your credit utilization ratio could rise, and your credit score could fall.
- You could hurt your authorized users’ scores, too: If you make a payment 30 days or more past your due date, your credit score could fall by 100 points or more. And if you have authorized users on your account? Their scores will fall, too. Only add authorized users if you’re certain that you’ll always make your credit card payments on time.
Should you add an authorized user to your Wells Fargo card?
Adding an authorized user to your Wells Fargo credit card could improve the credit of your spouse, children or friends. But don’t ignore the risks. If authorized users run up charges on your account, you’re the one responsible for paying them off.
The key? Only add authorized users whom you trust. And be sure to reach an agreement on how much these authorized users can charge and when they must pay you back for their charges.
*All information about Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card and the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.