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Credit cards that offer free authorized users

Share your credit card account with a partner or family member and enjoy the benefits.

Most credit cards give you the option to add an additional cardholder so you can both enjoy the convenience and benefits of your account. If you have a rewards credit card, you can even earn more points if both you and the authorized user charge purchases to the account. But adding someone to your credit card account can also lead to an additional annual fee so it’s important to compare options until you find the right card for you.

What is an authorized user on a credit card?

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An authorized user is a person who can use your credit card account to pay for purchases. Authorized users get their own card that’s linked to your account. This means you are still fully responsible for managing the account and paying off the balance — even if it’s from purchases they’ve made.

What can authorized users do?

The access and features available to additional cardholders can vary between cards and what the main cardholder approves. Usually, authorized users can do the following:

  • Make purchases
  • Earn reward points
  • Check balances and transaction histories
  • Set up and change their own PIN number
  • Make payments towards the account balance
  • Report suspicious transactions and lost or stolen cards
  • Order a replacement card
  • Cancel their cards

Authorized users may also be able to enjoy benefits such as travel insurance or free checked bags. However, often the main cardholder has to be present. Check your credit card’s terms and conditions or ask your bank for specific details of what features an authorized user would get through your account.

What’s the difference between authorized users and joint credit cards?

Authorized users get access to your credit card account and every purchase they make becomes your liability. In comparison, a joint credit card account offers shared responsibility, both card members can make changes to the account and are both liable for any unpaid balance.

Compare credit cards that offer free additional cardholders

Name Product Welcome Offer Rewards Purchase Interest Rate Annual Fee Min. Credit Score Description
Tangerine World Mastercard
10% cash back
Up to 2% cash back
19.95%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 680
Earn an extra 10% cash back (up to $100) when you spend $1,000 on everyday purchases within the first 2 months. Until October 4, 2021. Plus, get a 1.95% interest rate on balance transfers for the first 6 months (valid within the first 30 days of account opening, 1% transfer fee applies).
American Express Cobalt Card
50,000 points
Up to 5x points per $1 spent
20.99%
$155.88
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 50,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year. Earn 2,500 Membership Rewards points for each monthly billing period in which you spend $500 in net purchases on your card (up to 30,000 points). Plus, earn a Welcome Bonus of 20,000 Membership Rewards points when you spend a total of $3,000 in purchases on your Card in your first 3 months of Cardmembership.
Brim Mastercard
Up to $200 worth of bonuses
1 point per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to $200 worth of bonus points when you shop with Brim retailers for the first time through the Brim mobile app.
SimplyCash Card from American Express
4% cash back
Up to 1.25% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn 4% cash back on purchases (up to $200 cash back) for the first 6 months of Cardmembership.
BMO Rewards Mastercard
10,000 points
Up to 2 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 725
Get a bonus of 10,000 BMO Rewards points when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. Apply by October 31, 2021 . Plus, get a rate of 1.99% on balance transfers for 9 months. A 1% fee applies to transferred balances.
Scotiabank Value Visa Card
0.99% rate on balance transfers for 6 months
N/A
12.99%
$29
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get a 0.99% introductory interest rate on balance transfers with a 0% transfer fee for the first 6 months. Apply by November 21, 2021.
SimplyCash Preferred Card from American Express
10% cash back
2% cash back
19.99%
$99
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn 10% cash back on all eligible purchases (up to $400 in cash back) for the first four months of Cardmembership.
American Express Business Edge Card
57,000 points
Up to 3 points per $1 spent
19.99%
$99
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn up to 57,000 Membership Rewards points in your first year.
American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card
2,000 Miles
Up to 1 Air Mile per $5 - $10 spent
20.99%
$120
Min. recommended credit score: 700
Earn a Welcome Bonus of 2,000 AIR MILES within the first three months. That’s enough to redeem for $200 towards your purchases with AIR MILES Cash.
Shell CashBack Mastercard from BMO
$50 in cash back + 1% cash back
Up to 1.5% cash back
19.99%
$0
Min. recommended credit score: 660
Get $50 in cash back bonuses once you charge your first eligible purchase to your card. Plus, earn 1% cash back for the first 6 months on all eligible purchases.
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What are the pros and cons to getting an authorized user?

    • Shared access to credit. If your partner or family member doesn’t have a credit card or may not be eligible to get one, adding them to your account could be a convenient alternative.
    • Help build credit history. If you pay your balance on time, the authorized user can also get the benefit of building credit. Keep in mind, not all card issuers report authorized users to the credit bureaus.
    • Earn more points. With two people spending on one account, you could earn more points quicker if you are using a rewards credit card. This can lead to faster reward redemption for things like travel, shopping, and entertainment.
  • Simple process. It’s relatively easy to apply for an authorized user, or to remove one from your account.
    • You’re responsible for the account. As the primary cardholder, you will be legally accountable for all transactions and repayments.
    • Credit history. Details of the credit card will be listed on your credit history, so any issues such as late payments could impact on your credit score.
  • Additional fees. Some credit cards charge an additional cardholder annual fee on top of the regular annual fee you’ll pay for the account. Make sure you check this cost before you request a secondary cardholder to help stay on top of fees.

How can I add an authorized user to my credit card?

If you want to get a secondary card for your partner or family member, you’ll need to fill out an application. This could be available through your credit card provider’s website or online banking service. It may also be included when you apply for a new credit card.

To complete the application for an additional cardholder, you’ll need to make sure they meet the eligibility requirements and provide a range of other personal details. These vary between cards but usually include the following:

    • Minimum age. This is usually the age of majority in your province.
  • Identification. This includes the full name, date of birth, residential address and contact details for the person you want to add as an additional cardholder.

Once you’ve submitted the application and supporting documentation, your credit card provider will review these details. If your request is approved, your additional cardholder should receive their card in around 10 business days.

Bottom line

Getting an additional cardholder for your account can be a convenient way to share your credit card benefits. But it’s important to carefully consider the risks and discuss financial management of the account with your authorized user so that you can make this option work for you. If you haven’t found the right credit card for you to share, make sure you compare your credit cards options until you find the right fit for your wallets.

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