Adding an authorized user to your credit card can help them build credit, but it can put you at risk of paying for someone else’s charges.
Citi is an advertising partner.
But be careful. When you add someone as an authorized user, they have access to your credit limit. If the authorized user runs up charges and refuses to pay for them, you will be held responsible for paying off that debt.
This is why Michael Foguth, founder of Foguth Financial Group in Brighton, Michigan, advises weighing the possible downfalls carefully before adding an authorized user. And you should only add an authorized user if you completely trust them.
“It’s all risk and no reward for you,” Foguth said.
Adding an authorized user on a Citi credit card
- What is an authorized user
- Why add an authorized user?
- What are the requirements for becoming an authorized user on a Citi credit card?
- How to add an authorized user to your Citi account
- Is there a fee for adding an authorized user to your Citi credit card account?
- Can you set up specific credit limits for authorized users on a Citi card?
- Do authorized users have access to all the benefits of a Citi credit card?
- Can you limit the access your authorized user has to some benefits on your Citi credit card?
- What are the pros of adding an authorized user to your credit card?
- What are the cons of adding an authorized user to your credit card?
- How adding, and becoming, an authorized user can affect credit
- How to remove an authorized user from a Citi credit card
- How to take advantage of being an authorized user on a Citi credit card
What is an authorized user?
When you add an authorized user to your Citi credit card, you are giving this person permission to use your credit card. The authorized user will get their own credit card with the same account number as yours. They can then use this card to make purchases using your account.
But creating such an arrangement doesn’t mean your authorized user will follow the rules. Even if you come to an agreement on how the card will be used, there is no law forcing the authorized user to follow it. If the user doesn’t pay up, you’ll have to cover the authorized user’s charges.
Why add an authorized user?
When you make payments on time each month, they are reported to credit bureaus. As long as you pay on time and keep your balance low, this will strengthen your credit score. Since it will also show up on your authorized user’s credit report, your on-time payments will boost their score too.
Since many young people don’t have any credit, adding your children as authorized users can help them kickstart their credit history.
What are the requirements for becoming an authorized user on a Citi credit card?
You can add anyone as an authorized user on your Citi credit card. Citi also imposes no minimum age requirement for an authorized user, so you can add your children to your Citi credit card account while they’re young. Be careful, though: You don’t have to give these children access to any credit card. They don’t need to use the card to gain the credit benefits that come with being an authorized user.
How to add an authorized user to your Citi account
Adding an authorized user to your Citi card is a simple process. First, log into your online Citi account. Click on the “Services” tab at the top of the screen. Click on the “Credit Card Services” option that comes up in the dropdown menu.
You can then click on the “Authorized Users” option on the services page. Once you get to the “Manage Authorized Users” page, you can click on the “Add New Authorized User” option. If you have more than one Citi credit card account, you’ll have to choose the account to which you want to add an authorized user. You’ll also have the option to give your authorized user online access to your Citi account.
You then have to provide the authorized user’s information, including their first and last name, county they live in, date of birth, Social Security number and primary phone number.
See related: How to add an authorized user to a Chase credit card
Is there a fee for adding an authorized user to your Citi credit card account?
There is no fee for adding an authorized user to a Citi card. In fact, you can add up to 10 authorized users at no cost.
Can you set up specific credit limits for authorized users on a Citi card?
Do authorized users have access to all the benefits of a Citi credit card?
Citi says authorized users have access to the same benefits that primary cardholders have. This includes access to Priority Pass airport lounges and Citi Prestige concierge services. Every purchase your authorized user makes on your card will count toward your rewards point totals, but only you can cash in those rewards
See related: Cards that reward you for adding an authorized user
Can you limit the access your authorized user has to some benefits on your Citi credit card?
What are the pros of adding an authorized user to your credit card?
Adding an authorized user doesn’t help you or your credit. But it can make a big difference in the credit of a child, family member or friend.
“A lot of parents see an opportunity for their kids,” said Xavier Epps, CEO and founder of Washington, D.C.-based XNE Financial Advising. “They want to give their kids a jumpstart before they head off to college. They want them to be in a decent spot when compared to their peers who might not have had that opportunity to be an authorized user. It gives them a head start on their adult life.”
Epps said parents can add their children as authorized users even when their sons and daughters are too young to use a credit card. The goal here isn’t to give these children access to a credit card. It’s to steadily build them a credit score so that when they want to apply for their own cards or loans, they have a credit history that lenders can study.
What are the cons of adding an authorized user to your credit card?
You have no control over how much an authorized user charges to your account. You also can’t force authorized users to pay when they run up charges on your credit card. Remember, if an authorized user racks up a significant amount of debt on your card, you’re the one ultimately responsible for paying it off.
“I wouldn’t do this, to be very candid,” said Howard Dvorkin, a certified public accountant based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and chairman of Debt.com. “My wife has her own credit card. My kids have their own credit cards. I have my own credit card. If you don’t do it this way, you are putting yourself at risk.”
If you still want to add authorized users, you should clearly spell out how much they can spend and when they must pay you back. You might say that an authorized user can only make $50 of charges a month. You might also agree that authorized users must pay you enough to cover their charges by the first or last day of every month.
And if your goal is to simply provide authorized users with credit help, you can state that your authorized user isn’t allowed to make any purchases on your Citi card account for any reason. In such situations, you don’t have to give your authorized users a physical copy of their credit card.
“Think about the risk you are taking on,” said Epps. “The risk factor changes based on a relationship. If you have a good relationship with the person you are adding, there’s less risk involved.”
How adding, and becoming, an authorized user can affect credit
Authorized users will see a quick benefit to their credit when you use your credit card wisely. If you make your payments on time each month, your authorized users will see a bump in their credit score. They’ll also see their score improve if you keep your credit card’s balance low.
But if you make your credit card payment 30 days late or later, your authorized user’s credit score will take a hit, just like yours will. Your authorized user’s score will suffer, too, if you run up too much debt on your credit card account. So use your card wisely: Charge what you can afford to pay off each month and make those payments on time.
How to remove an authorized user from a Citi credit card
If you are the primary holder of a Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, you can remove an authorized user online by logging onto your Citi account. If you are the primary cardholder on any other Citi credit card, though, you can remove an authorized user through Citi’s online chat feature or by calling the issuer.
How to take advantage of being an authorized user on a Citi credit card
If you are added as an authorized user, follow the rules the primary cardholder sets up regarding how much you can charge each month and when you must pay the cardholder back. If you don’t, the primary cardholder can drop you from the account. Once this happens, you’ll no longer receive that boost to your credit.