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Being an authorized user on a credit card is the easiest way to get a card you may not qualify for with your own credit score. However, having authorized user status can still affect your credit report. If you want a Capital One credit card, it’s helpful to know if they report authorized users first.

does capital one report authorized users to credit bureaus
Does Capital One report authorized users to credit bureaus? Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

For instance, a young adult might be better off being an authorized user if they can’t get one of the best travel credit cards for students. A person rebuilding their damaged score can also benefit if the primary user has strong credit.

It’s important to know how each bank reports authorized user activity to the credit bureaus. This information may affect your credit score and (more importantly) future credit card approval odds.

Does Capital One Report Authorized Users to Credit Bureaus?

Capital One notifies the three major credit bureaus that you are an authorized user for personal credit cards. This reporting applies to the Venture, Quicksilver, Savor, and Platinum card families, including some of the best Capital One credit cards for travel. Your Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit report usually update with your new credit account information in a few business days.

This is standard reporting practice for all of the large banks including Chase and American Express. Reports to all three can make sure your credit score is consistent across all three bureaus.

Your credit report will show the account age and credit utilization ratio for that card. This information will affect the primary cardholder’s credit score more because they are responsible for paying the monthly balance.

However, being an authorized user can either help or hurt your credit score. The answer depends on the age and how you manage your other credit accounts.

Positives

Here are some of the benefits of Capital One reporting authorized users information to all three bureaus.

Can Build Your Credit Score

Payment history, average account age, and the credit utilization ratio help determine your credit score. These three factors combined influence 80% of your credit score. You want to look for someone who can add you to a credit card that is older than yours and has a positive payment history.

The primary user’s good credit can help build your credit score. Ideally, they will have a 750 credit score and at least one credit card account that’s been open for more than 10 years. They will also have a credit utilization ratio below 30%.

For example, one person saw their score increase 20 points because they were added to an account that was 20 years old. It might not be a large jump, but its better than a drop. They explained, “I can tell you I had mine add me to a card she has, it is 20 yrs old, had a very high credit limit and owing about 25% of that limit…it boosted me 15-20 points per report.”

Remember that being added to an account that’s the same or newer than your current accounts or has a negative credit history can lower your score. While it may only be a small decrease, note that it is something to look for.

Avoid Annual Fee

Besides helping build credit, being an authorized user is free for all Capital One credit cards. Even if the primary holder pays $95 a year for their Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card or Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card, they pay $0 for your card.

This is an easy way for you and your spouse to only pay one annual fee and earn the same rewards currency on all purchases.

No Hard Credit Pull

The primary member only needs to add your name, contact information, and Social Security number to their account. Capital One never does a hard credit pull for you to become an authorized user. No hard pull means you won’t see a credit score dip like when you apply for a credit card.

Under Age 18

Capital One requires you to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card. It’s possible to be an authorized user as a minor under age 18.

Negatives

There can be a few downsides to being an authorized user on any credit card.

Too Many New Credit Cards

Possible the largest downside to being a Capital One authorized user is if you have good credit and plan on applying for one of the best Chase credit cards soon.

You see, Chase discourages card churning with its “5/24 rule.” Your application for almost any Chase-issued travel credit card will most likely be declined when you have added at least five new credit cards to your credit report in the last 24 months. This includes accounts where you are an authorized user.

So if you have four new credit cards, you should apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred Card first to be your 5th new credit card in the last 24 months. If you are above the 5/24 mark and want a Chase card, the primary cardholder can still add you as an authorized user. However, this too will count as a new card.

Missed Payments

Authorized users are not responsible for making the monthly payment. However, being if the primary cardholder begins carrying a balance or missing payments, their payment history and credit utilization factors will drop. This can have a negative impact on your score.

If this happens, closing your card can boost your score. Your score can increase even when the primary credit card is older than your own credit cards.

Tradeline Renting Discouraged

Recent credit scoring models like the FICO Score 8 don’t emphasize authorized user activity as much as before. Most banks use this score version when you apply for a credit card.

In the past, people with bad credit would pay a fee to a credit repair agency to be an authorized user on a stranger’s credit card. This is known as “tradeline renting.” Although it still happens today, credit scores don’t get the boost they once did.

All FICO versions list which credit cards you are the primary or authorized user on. This lets lender see the full picture of how you handle credit. You should still only become an authorized user if the primary cardholder has a similar or better credit profile than your own to avoid unnecessary score drops.

Does Capital One Report Authorized Users to Credit Bureaus?

Yes, Capital One notifies the credit bureau when authorized users are added to any credit card account. This can be an easy way to help build someone’s credit history. However, you should think twice if you plan on applying for multiple credit cards in the near future or the primary cardholder has fair credit.

Josh Patoka

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