Will your credit score improve if you are an authorized user on a credit card account?

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ANSWER UPDATE:

It was true per the last answer, but I have been researching this and found out that FICO has "Fair Isaac Innovation Will Restore Authorized User Accounts to Calculation of FICO 08 Scores". This information is directly from the Fair Isaac website. The article found here http://www.fico.com/en/company/news/pages/07-31-2008.aspx.

The answer to the above question is definitely yes. Authorized users are reported to the 3 major credit bureaus. And being an authorized user will affect your FICO score.


Answer I just researched this a little more, and came up with an article directly from Fair Isaac. As one of the posters below said, they are discontinuing use of authorized user accounts in the computation of the FICO score. The '08 version of the FICO scoring software, available in September 2007, will completely bypass any accounts listed as Authorized User. Fair Isaac expects that about 30% of consumers will see a drop in their FICO score as a result of this. Initially, the new software will only be implemented by one of the credit bureaus (I don't think they named which one). The other two will pick it up in early 2008.
So, it's a feature that's being closed due to abuse by the credit-repairing industry. Read the article at: http://www.fairisaac.com/NR/exeres/FAC104CE-DF7F-4610-8A36-85F39C4ED9AB,frameless.htm  
First of all, let me advise that I work in the credit card division of a major bank. I agree with the Banana Republic poster. If your spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend or whatever (mother, daughter, son, etc) is on YOUR account as an authorized user, that person will ALSO receive the late mark(s) whenever you're 30 days late. I've seen it a zillion times. The authorized user is not financially responsible for the account; however, the information will be reported on the authorized user's credit history as well. Good be good marks, could be bad marks.
Keep in mind, the chances of eliminating this from an authorized user's credit bureau reports are slim to nothing if the late payment was a valid late payment. Nothing we can do on that. The authorized user can contest it, especially with the credit bureaus, but good luck on that.
Best advice: Keep your accounts separate. His and hers. It makes life much simpler and you know who is responsible for what spending, balance, late fees, etc. I've seen husbands and wives ruin their spouses' credit history, and parents doing the same thing to their kids.  
NO. You would have to be a joint cardholder in order to get credit reporting. But that means it will report any missed payments on your credit also, and if the card balance isn't paid, they can come after you as well as the primary cardholder; authorized users are not held responsible for balances. (I worked for a major credit card co.)
UPDATE: Your credit card company may not but most do. A/U accounts can be reported to credit agencies. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 allows this. Most banks do report A/U information.
Always take an A/U account over a joint account if possible. With an A/U account the information will be reported to the credit agencies however you are not liable for any charges. With a joint account if the primary cardholder is late or goes into collections the company could try to collect from you.  
It can MOST DEFINITELY affect your credit regardless of who uses the card the most or who makes the payments.
Fourteen years ago, my college roommate put me down as an authorized user on her visa account. She didn't have to supply my ssn or birthdate on the application, just my name and the account still showed up on my credit report. Last year one of my mastercard interest rates went up from 9.9 to 23.99% and when I called to find out why, they indicated it was because of negative info on my credit report. I was dumbfounded, so, I got my report for the first time ever (I know, I should have checked it more frequently) and discovered that the visa account was on there (I had long since forgotten about it and the roommate and I parted ways not long after graduation). It turns out the account had been sent for collections last year and that's what was impacting my credit. Keep in mind, all she put on the application 14 years ago was my name, I didn't have to sign a thing. As a matter of fact, I didn't know about it until the cards came to our apartment and she gave me mine!! My address was the same as hers, so I guess that's how they managed to attach it to my credit; however, I never used the card and have moved 3 times since then and it still followed me.
Anyway, I contacted the visa company and explained the situation. They said since I was only an authorized user and not a joint account holder, they could remove my name from the account and remove the account from my credit report. Between the visa company and the collection agency, it took about 45 days for this to all get straightened out, but now my interest rate is back down ....it's even a bit lower that it was originally.
So, double check with the credit card company about their authorized user policy. I believe the FCRA governs this, but it wouldn't hurt to double check with the card issuer, just so you know your rights.  
I just went through this same situation. I received a letter in the mail that said my credit card (the # didn't match MY card) was being closed due to nonpayment of 180 days. I pulled up a free credit report through Experian and it showed that my now ex-wife had opened a card up in her name, with me as an authorized user. I never received a card in the mail (or she disposed of it) so I had no clue of it. I had already turned in PreApproval papers for a home mortgage and my lender called me back and said "NO WAY" due to that bogus credit card. I just called and they took it off. In addition, a letter will be sent that I can use for my preapproval. It states that I am not liable for the outstanding balance.  
Wow, reading through this forum definitely shows a lot of wrong answers. The answer to this question is a most definite YES it can affect you. Make sure your mom pays on time, and doesn't carry more than a 50% balance relative to total limit. Then it's a good thing to be under that card.  
I just recently opened up a Banana Republic card that I put my husband down as an authorized user. Because I was 30 days late on one payment, his credit now is being affected. How can I convince the company to retract their reporting about my husband?  
A/U accounts reporting wise only affect the primary cardholder. The code used on a/u trades exempt them from impacting their own credit report. An a/u account will not help improve their score. Only primary and joint impact scores. A creditor can question why on your bureau there is a delinquent a/u account but legally it cannot be held against you.  
Lots of misinformation here.
Authorized Users can have their credit report (and credit score) affected by the account on which they are listed as an authorized user.
The comment about scores not using accounts with A/U code is misleading and simply wrong.
"If you're an authorized user on a credit card your FICO score reflects that account in the same way a primary user's FICO score would reflect it" Craig Watts - Consumer affairs Manager, Fair, Isaac and Co.
Fair Isaac is the company that generates the FICO score used by credit card, auto, and mortgage lenders.
Not all credit card companies report authorized users, some like MBNA only report authorized users that are a spouse of the primary cardholder. A few don't report information for A/U at all.
The number of card providers that report A/U information is rising because it is the intent of the federal government to allow A/U information assist people with little or no credit history.
For example is you have no credit, and are unable to get a major credit card. Your parents decide to list you as an A/U. You use the card responsible (and they don't remove you from the card). A year later you now have credit history (and a better FICO score) so you can open your own credit account. This practice started in 1974 with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of Regulation B. Among other things this was designed to allow housewives to establish credit in their own name by being listed as an A/U on their husband's credit account.
Just remember the reporting of information can be good or bad. If the primary card holder pays on time, keeps accounts out of collections, and keeps the balance low it will help your credit history (and score). If the primary card holder pays late, ends up in collections, or routinely maxes out the account you could see your credit score plummit along with theirs.
In getting listed as an A/U make sure you select a good primary card holder. Parent's, spouses, or anyone with good credit history makes a good choice. Friends, roomates, college buddies, or anyone young, with short credit history, or poor credit score would be a poor choice.
For more information see bankrates article on dangers of A/U: http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/cc/20030312a1.asp  
An Authorized User may or may not affect credit scores depending on that Cards terms (fine print). Some Card terms will hold the Authorized user responsible for charges (like some AMEX cards) and hold the primary or Joint user blameless.
Do not sign up as an authorized user for a credit card whose contract will not allow you to enter your social security number or ITIN number especially if you are trying to improve your credit score. In most cases, the Primary cardholders' seasoned (and assuming good) history will not impact your score, because your credit file can not be traced.
In some cases, if you have a no credit history file or very little credit establishment, becoming an authorized user on someone's highly seasoned account can reap substantial rewards. It depends on what type of credit item that is at issue. If that person has 15years or more of excellent and substantial credit amounts ($20,000 or more) with low balances (15% or less), adding yourself as an authorized user, with SS# reporting, can boost a 550 rating (with no bad items) up to the 700 level in as little as 3-4 months. However, the authorized user's card must be used to make some small purchases during this time, and should not be closed in less than one year.
In some cases, the primary account holders entire credit history can apply to your score. Your credit card issuer does not control these formulas, Experian, Transunion, and Equifax do.
If you have horrible credit, including Bankruptcy or Collections and repossessions, or a combo of these, and your score is in the 400-550 range, applying this method may raise your scores less than half of the example above. However, bankruptcy means little on a credit record as far as boosting your scored is concerned. You can arise at the 700+ range in a matter of 12 months if your clever.
If you think it will take too long to raise your scores, you might be able to apply for an ITIN from the IRS, and use it in place of your SS# on all new applications for credit. You will have a new file but no credit history. You may save several months of time achieving the score you want this way, but only for new credit cards or auto loans. Mortgages are more complex. Additionally, IRS is making it a bit more difficult to get new ITINs, unless you insist.
A 2nd social security number is possible. There are some firms that will help you do this or sell you more info on it. Your original social security number will be cross referenced with your new one on your SSA files. In this way, a new world of opportunity opens up, as you will be able to get a mortgage out of a fresh start, and apply for a drivers license with a new SS#. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The creap above is encouraging you to commit a felony. I advice you to forget what you read about getting an ITIN and using it in place of a social security number. If you do it the wrong way, you can get in serious trouble.
A bit higher, another creap is giving bad advice - 50% utilization is way to high for the card! Think < 30% and better to be < 10%. If the card won't do that for you, then why bother? Also, make sure that the card is 100% clean of lates and that it is at least older than your oldest open credit card account and the history on the card is longer than the average history of your revolving credit.
About AU accounts - yes, it does affect your score.....let me put it this way - My TU score went up 45 points when a single AU account appeared.
What's interesting is that it also appeared on Experian and I got no bump at all.
Also, it never showed up on Equifax.
It can take up to 90 days to appear. The reason for this is that Equifax will only show the tradeline if you have the same home address as the primary account holder. When the tradeline first hits Equifax, they grab the reported address and change your address! But the tradeline isn't listed because the address didn't match your current address! Then, the following month, when the card reports again, the address will match and the tradeline will be added.
The inpact of AU's is very different based upon the particulars of your credit report. My TU has no derogs at all and a short history, so I got a big boost. My EX has a relatively long history and one CO, so I got no boost. When I get the CO deleted next week, I will report back, as I expect to see the AU contribute to my sudden jump forward!




Yeah they do seem to show up on credit scores, but how? When you add someone as an A/U it has no way of identifying who this person is. I can just easily list John Doe as an authorized user and use the card at the self check at Walmart. Who is to say which John Doe gets the credit score? Anytime I request an A/U off a credit card website it does NOT require my new person's SSN nor any other personal identifying information. So, how in the world can it show up on someone else's credit report?
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