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If you’re an authorized user on someone’s account your credit score may have been getting a boost from their responsible credit use. If, however, their account is in collections or late you may be left with a damaged credit rating and feeling helpless. The good news is there are a couple of steps to take if find yourself in this situation. If you’re on someone else’s account and don’t want their irresponsibility to hurt you anymore or are just curious about what to do in such a situation, read on.
If the primary account holder of the account is mis-using their credit and you’re paying for it the first step is to get off the credit card account immediately. Being an authorized user on someone’s account means you’re authorized to use a their credit account with your own card and make purchases independently. The good news is being an authorized user does not make you liable for payments on the account and creditors cannot go after you in any way.
Unfortunately, getting off the account is necessary because, although you aren’t liable for the debt, all payments and activity on the account are reported to your credit report. On-time payments and good credit use benefits you but irresponsible credit use, whether it’s yours or not, can hurt you badly. Clearing this negative impact from your credit will solve your problem. But how do you get off the account?
You’ll probably be able to have all the information regarding the account cleared from your credit report. You’re basically given two options. You can either contact the credit bureaus and go through the formal dispute process with each bureau or you can try asking the primary account holder to remove you as an authorized user. Obviously you should try asking the primary user first because the dispute process can be difficult and lengthy.
Once you’re removed as an authorized user from the account simply allow a month or two for the information to update on your credit reports. Most likely all records of the account will be cleared from your credit and you’ll be left with the credit score you deserve. Remember in the future to consider carefully before agreeing to be an authorized user on anyone’s account. While it may benefit you there’s also the potential for serious harm to your credit, whether or not you’ve done anything wrong.
In addition, you should read more about the new scoring method FICO 08 and the changes it makes to authorized account users and the impact it has on credit. You may be surprised to know that authorized users will no longer receive a credit boost from their status on another’s account. This change is being brought on by abuse of the system known as piggybacking.