Apple Card Family lets you co-own an Apple Card with a partner or spouse, then add dependents who can make purchases and earn rewards. Find out how to add an authorized user to your Apple Card, and why you might want to consider it.
Adding an authorized user to a credit card can make sense in a variety of situations, including instances where the main cardholder wants to help their teenager build credit. Authorized users can also help boost the overall amount of rewards a household can earn. After all, having two or more family members charging purchases to a rewards credit card will lead to more rewards points due to elevated spending levels.
Still, different card issuers have their own unique rules on adding an authorized user. Further, it’s very rare to find a “joint credit card,” or a credit card that lets two people co-own the same account.
However, an April 2021 announcement from Apple promised to change up the Apple Card authorized user process in a way we have never seen before. The new program is called Apple Card Family, and it’s available for Apple Card users who manage this program with their iPhones.
What is Apple Card Family?
With Apple Card Family, two people can actually co-own an Apple Card, giving them the chance to share a credit limit and build credit in conjunction with one another. Further, parents with the Apple Card can extend authorized user status to their children, with built-in spending limits and controls to help everyone stay on the same page.
According to the news release, “Apple Card Family is designed to help the Family Sharing group achieve a healthier financial life by making it easy to track spending, all on iPhone and with a single monthly bill.”
How does Apple Card Family work?
Generally speaking, Apple Card Family allows up to two people to manage an Apple Card joint account, in which case they will share and merge their credit lines and be equally responsible for repayment. Apple Card Family also lets the two account owners add dependents to the card, and all of the credit purchases and payments show up on one single monthly bill.
Note that Apple Card Family is built into the Apple Wallet app on iPhone, so account holders can seamlessly track spending for all their family members on the go. Also, be aware that each Apple Card Family user is able to contribute to the family rewards pool. While the Apple Card doesn’t charge any fees, users earn:
- 3% cash back on purchases made with Apple
- 3% back on Panera Bread, Exxon/Mobil, Walgreens, Nike and Uber and Uber Eats purchases when using Apple Pay
- 3% back at T-Mobile stores when using Apple Pay
- 2% back on all other Apple Pay purchases
- 1% back on all other purchases made with the physical card
How to add an authorized user to your Apple Card
Like everything else related to the Apple Card, you’ll build your Apple Card Family and add new Apple Card authorized users using your iPhone. Here are the steps you’ll take to do just that.
Access your Apple account on your iPhone
First, open the Apple Wallet app and tap on your Apple Card. From there, tap the “more” button and go to the “People” heading.
At that point, tap “Share My Card.” Then select a family member from your Family Sharing group.
Invite a participant
If you want to invite an account co-owner, tap on “Become Co-Owners.” However, you’re adding an authorized user to your Apple Card, so you will tap on “Add a Participant” instead.
Apple says you will be presented with instructions and need to provide some requested information at this point in the process.
Once you have shared requested information with Apple, you can tap “Send Invitation.” You will also need to authenticate the transaction with your Apple pass code.
Accept the invitation
Your new authorized user (presumably a child or dependent) will need to accept the invitation on their end in order to move forward. They can do this by opening the Wallet app and tapping on the badge notification on the upper right-hand corner of their screen.
From there, they will tap “Continue” and “Accept Apple Card.”
Requirements and limitations of adding an authorized user to your Apple Card
Keep in mind that co-owners of the Apple Card are jointly responsible for repaying all charges made to an Apple Card Family account. However, participants in the Apple Card Family can only make purchases up to their limit and view their own transactions and information.
If an Apple Card Family participant is 18 years or older, they also get access to a few more potential perks (for example, they have the option to order their own titanium Apple Card). Users 18 years and older can also opt-in to build credit while part of the shared account.
With any Apple Card Family account, co-owners have to be 18 years or older, and Apple Card authorized users need to be at least 13.
What’s the maximum number of authorized users allowed?
Be aware that a maximum of six people can form an Apple Card Family. This can be made up of one account owner and up to five other participants or two co-owners and up to four participants.
Pros and cons of consolidating multiple Apple Card accounts within a single family
The advantages of Apple Card’s new Apple Card Family option may be easy to realize if you’re part of a family group who is actively trying to track spending and maximize finances together. The built-in limits for participants give parents the chance to teach kids positive spending habits, and the fact that teenagers as young as 13 can see their own purchases and information can help them learn how to use credit responsibly.
Other advantages of Apple Card Family include:
- The chance to earn more rewards on all family purchases made with the Apple Card account
- Ability to see all transactions and purchases in one place
- Easy account monitoring using the iPhone
- Joint credit card access for two spouses or partners
- Existing Apple Card owners have the ability to merge their current accounts for a higher spending limit and greater purchasing power
Still, there are some potential downsides any time you combine credit card accounts with another person, including a spouse or partner. For example, Apple points out that “all account activity, including positive or negative payment history, will be reported to credit bureaus for participants who opt in to credit reporting as well as all Apple Card co-owners.”
This means co-owner credit mistakes could actually work against teenagers who have opted in to build credit for the future. If an account co-owner stops making payments on the bill, for example, Apple Card joint account owners and teenagers reported on the account could take a hit. Of course, the potential for credit score damage may apply when an authorized user is added on any other credit card as well.
The six-person limit for Apple Card Family can also be a major downside for big families and don’t forget that each participant will need their own Apple device to be able to make purchases in conjunction with the Wallet app.
Finally, keep in mind that the Apple Card has a few downsides when compared to other credit card options. For example, Apple Card does not allow balance transfers, and the rewards rate isn’t that great for people who don’t make a lot of Apple purchases (as well as for individuals who don’t make all their purchases using Apple Pay).
In fact, some families might be better off choosing a different rewards credit card for all their spending and bills.
Adding authorized users to a credit card is nothing new, but the Apple Card Family offering is still newsworthy. After all, Apple enthusiasts now have the chance to co-own a credit card account with a partner or spouse, which is unique in itself. Further, the Apple Card authorized user process works seamlessly with the iPhone, and co-owners can add spending limits to dependent accounts to keep everyone on track.
Just remember that everyone in your plan will need to have their own compatible iPhone or iPad with the latest version of iOS or iPadOS.