Removing yourself as an authorized user can lower your credit utilization ratio and the age of your credit history, both of which can have a negative impact on your credit score.
Adding your partner as an authorized user to your credit card is one way to help your partner’s credit — provided, of course, that you are responsible for your own use of the card.
However, if your relationship ends, you may want to deactivate them as an authorized user. What effect will this have on your credit score? What is the simplest and cleanest way to accomplish this? Here’s what you need to know.
How to remove your partner as an authorized user
Getting your name off your partner’s cards, and vice versa, should be a relatively easy task. Just contact your card issuers and tell them you want your partner removed as an authorized user. And your partner should have the same conversation with their issuers.
Another alternative is to contact your partner’s card issuers yourself and ask to be removed as an authorized user. That sounds like a simple task, but card issuers take different approaches to having an authorized user remove themselves from an account. Some might remove you on your own say-so, but others will also require your partner’s consent to have you removed as an authorized user.
If you’re on good terms with your partner and they are on board with the plan you outlined, getting their consent should not pose a problem. If your partner isn’t agreeable to this plan, it may be a bit more complex.
Either way, when you remove an authorized user, it’s good practice to get a new card with a new number for your account, as a safeguard, since your partner has the existing card number. If you have any recurring billings associated with the card, make sure to notify the merchants of your new card number.
What impact will it have on my credit score?
The primary impact on your credit score will be on your credit utilization, which accounts for approximately 30 percent of your FICO credit score. Considering the credit line you had access to while an authorized user will no longer be available to you, you will have a lower total credit to dip into.
If you have a total credit line of $20,000 on your own cards and $15,000 on your authorized user accounts, your total credit line, which used to be $35,000, will now drop to $20,000. If you do carry a balance on your cards, say $5,000, it means your credit utilization will jump from 14 percent to 25 percent. Credit scoring formulas look more favorably on a lower credit utilization ratio, so there could be a negative impact as a result.
For those who use an authorized user account to build up their credit history and don’t have much of a track record with cards beyond that, removing yourself from an authorized user account would take a toll on the length of your credit history. This factor accounts for about 15 percent of your credit score.
If you have your own cards that you use responsibly and have a credit history that goes back a while, being removed as an authorized user will not have much of an impact on the average age of your accounts, and consequently your credit score. If the account lingers on your credit report, it will count toward the age of your credit history even though the account will not be updated.
Removing yourself as an authorized user from a partner’s credit card account is a relatively simple process if your partner goes along with the plan. Two potential credit score fallouts could be from any impact on your credit utilization ratio and the age of your credit history.
If you pay off the balances on all your cards immediately after resolving the authorized user situation, your credit utilization will go down considering the zero balance. That will be a near-term positive for your credit utilization. If you do carry balances in the future, though, your credit utilization factor will be higher, which would mean a less beneficial impact on your score.