FAQs About Adding Authorized Users to Chase Credit Cards

One benefit of the Chase United MileagePlus Explorer card (Flyertalk link) is getting an additional 5000 bonus miles for adding an authorized user. To add an authorized user, all you need to do is call Chase and give them a name, and then Chase will send you a new credit card with that name on it.

Question #1: What is an authorized user?

An authorized user is someone who’s allowed or authorized to use your credit card. This means that the person is allowed to spend as much money as he wants, but he doesn’t have any responsibility to repay any debt that accumulates. This is distinct from a joint user, who is also allowed to spend as much money as she wants but is also personally liable for any debt that accumulates.

Question #2: What information do you need to add an authorized user for Chase?

Since there’s no personal liability for an authorized user, the bank doesn’t actually need to be able to identify the authorized user. Thus, all that’s required is a name. Any name. There’s no verification that the name you’re providing is for a real person or not.

Question #3: What’s the impact on the authorized user’s credit score?

In theory, being an authorized user on a credit card shouldn’t have an effect on that person’s credit score since he isn’t personally liable for the credit extended, but there are many anecdotes that contradict this. One of the most common scenarios of adding an authorized user is parents adding a child as an authorized user on a credit card so that the child starts developing a credit history. This is almost certainly a good idea if the parents are responsible users. But there are also stories of people being denied credit because parents are carrying a high balance or are behind on payments on a credit card for which the person is an authorized user.

Question #4: How does a credit card appear on an authorized user’s credit report if Chase doesn’t ask for a SSN or other identifying information?

The answer is that it doesn’t necessarily appear on the authorized user’s credit report. In general, it seems like if the name that you add as an authorized user is someone who shares your address, then Chase will be able to use that name/address combination to report information to the credit bureaus. But if the authorized user doesn’t share an address, then that credit card information can’t be connected to the authorized user, so nothing gets reported.

Question #5: Can an authorized user sign up for the same credit card and still get the sign-up bonus?

Yes! Being an authorized user on a credit card does not preclude you from getting that credit card yourself and receiving your own sign-up bonus.

Question #6: So what does this all mean?

I suggest that if you’re adding an authorized user solely to receive an additional bonus, you should just make up a name to give to Chase. You’ll receive the new credit card with the fake name, and you can just cut the credit card up before it ever gets used (in my experience, the other credit card doesn’t even need to be activated to get the additional bonus). This is easier and less hassle than adding a real person and potentially affecting his/her credit report.

16 thoughts on “FAQs About Adding Authorized Users to Chase Credit Cards

  1. Carol

    Do you know if there is an annual fee for the authorize user’s card?

    Also, my idea was to get cards for my family that is immigrating to the US but won’t have SSN for a while, so the credit cards as authorized users would help them start building their credit. It seems Chase Sap. wouldn’t be the best option for that, then… Do you know any credit card that would be ideal to build credit as an authorized user?

    Reply
    1. Edward Post author

      The only Chase card that I can think of that charges to add an authorized user is the Chase Palladium card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred and United cards do not charge fees to add authorized users.

      I don’t know enough about credit reporting to know if what you’re suggesting about adding people without SSNs as authorized users will work. My impression is that the cards won’t show up unless there are other financial records of them sharing an address with you that Chase can tie together.

      Reply
      1. Jose delgado

        I have a question. What if the person that added me as a authorized user lived at my current address 5 years ago and also owns the house that I’m currently living in. Can my name be linked with the address and send it to the credit bureaus?

  2. juno

    I am currently out of the country working now and would like to add my sister as an authorized user. Can the card be sent directly to her address? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Mike

      I am wondering this as well. Will the Authorized user’s card be sent to my address or the address that I enter for them if it is different? Thanks!

      Reply
      1. James

        Were you able to figure this out, cos i just got approved and have my finacee as an authorized user and she works in Philadelphia, can the card go to her address as i gave her address while filing the chase bank application page. any response would be helpful. they said wait for 7-10 days, will i be receiving the card or would she as the authorized user?

      2. Bri

        hi so does the authorized user card go to their address or will it come to mine approved for chase card added my son who is away at college they asked where to send it.?

  3. Monica

    I just got approved and added my son has a secondary user will his card be delivered in the same envelope has mine, or will his be mailed separately?

    Reply
    1. john

      Monica i would like to find out if your son got is card in a seperate address when you order.Please reply ASAAAAAAAAAAAp

      Reply
  4. JRG

    Just remember, too, that although some cards give the primary user free checked bags and such, that does NOT apply to the authorized user using the car when they are ALONE. For example, my AA Barclays card gives me a free checked bag on AA flights I purchase, but an authorized user (flying alone) doesn’t get that perk.

    Reply
  5. Richard

    I added my brother as an authorized user to my boa credit card account, he’ll get his card soon. does he need to activate his card also because my card is already activated and his card will come in the same card number, expiry date and cvv?

    Reply

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