Credit cards exceptional financial instruments. They allow you to buy without any cash and earn rewards while at it. Another interesting feature is the option of adding another person as an authorized user to your card. However, credit card usage does have a huge impact on your creditworthiness. So, does removing your name from a shared credit card affect your credit score?
Who is an Authorized User
An authorized user is anyone who has the issuer’s permission to use a credit card belonging to another person. However, unlike the owner, an authorized user has no legal obligation to make payments.
Generally, card issuers report the authorized users’ accounts to the major credit bureaus. This means that the card’s history will be part of the authorized user’s credit report.
As such, when the card is well managed, both the credit score of the owner and that of the authorized user get impacted positively. It follows that, if the card is mismanaged by either party, their respective credit scores take a hit.
Note: An authorized user is different from a joint credit account holder. In the latter, both parties are liable for the credit card debt. Also, joint holders have to settle the debt first and have the account closed to end liability to either of you.
How Removing Yourself As An Authorized User Impacts on Your Score
There are many reasons why you may want to cut ties with the primary cardholder. They could be maxing out the card and being deliberately late with the payments. These are moves that could hurt your credit score and even make it harder to get approved for other credit facilities in the future.
You could also be a dependent who now wants to stand on your own feet. For whatever reason you want to disassociate from the credit card account after you are no longer an authorized user, the entire card’s history may drop off from your credit report. This can affect your credit score in either of two ways:
1) Your Credit Score Improves
Assuming that the card was not well managed, then your credit score should increase when the negative records are expunged. Some of the factors that indicate bad card usage include:
- Maxing out the credit limit
- Carrying a balance
- Paying only the minimum
- Continually paying late
- Borrowing against the card (cash advances)
- Not using the card for a long time
During the time when you are an authorized user, bad usage of the card affects up to 65% of your credit score: Amounts owed (30%) and Payment history (35%). This is according to the FICO credit scoring model which is used in the majority of lending decisions.
2) Your Credit Score Worsens
On the other hand, if the shared credit card was among the main facilities in your record that was keeping your credit score high, removing your name will make your score dip. Apart from the Amounts Owed and Payment History that goes into the calculation, there are other categories that are impacted by credit card usage:
An additional 15% of Fico Scores are determined by the age of your credit (Length of Credit History). As such, if the shared card was well managed and for a long time, its records help in raising your score.
Also to a smaller extent, the card contributes to your Credit Mix which accounts for 10% of your Fico Score. This category looks at the combination of your credit accounts including credit cards, installment loans, and mortgages.
So, if the shared card made up a big part of your record, then your score could worsen when you remove you are no longer an authorized user.
A shared credit card is a good start for building or rebuilding your credit score. Its effects on your score can, however, be positive or negative. And since the card’s usage is not firmly within your control, the primary cardholder has to be on board in observing best credit card practices.