Why Is My Boyfriend’s Credit Card On My Credit Reports?

The following question was submitted as a comment to one of my articles, via Facebook.

“John, I have an error on my credit report and I need to get it corrected. My boyfriend’s credit card is on my credit reports. How did that happen? I’m just an authorized user on his account.  I don’t get the bill, I don’t pay the bill. How can I get this corrected?”

A: I know you were probably surprised to find your boyfriend’s credit card on your credit reports but I can assure you that it’s quite common. Credit card accounts are almost always reported to the credit reports of the authorized user, like you in this example. This isn’t what I would consider to be an error.

Look at the credit report more closely and you should see some indication that you are simply an authorized user on the account.  Sometimes it’s as overt as “Authorized User” and sometimes it’s more subtle with the code “A” associated with the account designation. “A”, as you have probably already figured out, stands for Authorized User. The “A” code is located in a field called the “ECOA” field, which designated your relationship with the account. If you were a co-signer or the primary card holder the designation would state as such.

Having an authorized user account on a credit report can help your scores, especially if the account is properly managed and has a low balance relative to the credit limit and has never been delinquent.  And, if the account is old then that’s a bonus.

Still, if you do not want the account on your credit reports you can have it removed.  All you need to do is have your name removed as an authorized user and then contact the credit bureaus and let them know that you are no longer an authorized user. I would caution you that you will lose any credit score benefit when the account is removed, so think about what you’re about to do.

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Credit Reporting Expert, John Ulzheimer, is the President of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com, the credit blogger for Mint.com, and a Contributor for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.  He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. Formerly of FICO, Equifax and Credit.com, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry.  Follow him on Twitter here.