What You Need to Know About Joint Credit Cards

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If you’ve ever had a hard time getting approved for a credit card, or your goal is to be approved for a card that’s a bit out of your league, then you might want to consider a joint credit card.

DISCLAIMER: You should only consider this if you have had an extremely trustworthy partner, who also has good credit!

I know, because I get tons of emails from my YouTube viewers dealing with ruined credit at the fault of a friend, partner, or family member that was irresponsible. You can find one of my most popular videos about credit here.

I also know from experience: carelessly using student credit cards with really high-interest rates got me into a whole lot of trouble in college! But since then I’ve worked my way up to a perfect credit score (I just hit 810 Y’all!) and now I get to share my tips with you! Let’s go over the top things to note about joint credit cards:

  1. A popular misconception is that with two names on the account, responsibility is split 50/50. Nope! You’re each responsible for 100% of the credit card usage. All of the credit card activity shows up on BOTH of your credit reports, regardless of who swiped the card or who forgot to send a payment.
  2. If you haven’t discussed with your partner, IN DETAIL, what the rules will be for using the joint card – then you need to rewind it back! The most important thing to do before even considering applying for a joint credit card is, come to an agreement on how the card should be used. The worst case scenario is that this ends up damaging both of your credit reports, credit scores and ruining your relationship! Ouch.
  3. If things do go badly, getting your name removed from the account is NOT an option. In that case, your only option is to close the account completely. This is because the bank relied on your combined earnings and each person’s credit history when approving your application. If you do end up closing the account, it hurts both of your credit scores because it lessens your total available credit and lowers your average age of credit. Eww.
  4. When you have a thin credit profile or no credit at all, you don’t qualify for great credit card deals on your own. If your partner or family members aren’t comfortable adding you as an authorized user because they aren’t willing to take 100% responsibility for your spending (which is totally reasonable), a joint credit card could be a good option here. If approved, your credit score will get a boost from the higher credit limit on your new joint card – but don’t go wild with the swiping now! Experts recommend using less than 10% of your total available credit each month and paying your monthly balance in full. Once I took these steps my credit score increased drastically!
  5. It’s really hard to find joint credit card offers these days. PNC Bank and U.S. Bank are two of the only banks that still offer joint credit card applications. Banks much prefer to only have to hunt down one person for payments instead of two – which means joint credit cards are getting less and less common. Because they’re so rare, it can be hard to find offers with good rewards or 0% introductory APR – which can be the main benefits of getting a new credit card in the first place!

Ultimately, getting a joint credit card with someone isn’t something you should take lightly. It can be a blessing or a curse!

I can’t stress this enough: only apply if you’re extremely confident that both account holders will use the card responsibly and respect the rules you both agreed on before applying! And remember – no matter what kind of card you have: Swipe responsibly so you can pay your balance in full each month!

Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further