Supplementary credit cards allow others to have access to your credit card account. As a cardholder, you can apply to link another card to your account for a partner, child, parent or colleague. Supplementary cards provide financial freedom and flexibility, as well as increased earning potential for rewards.
This guide breaks down supplementary credit cards, how they work, why you might want one and what to be careful of once you apply.
What are supplementary credit cards?
Supplementary credit cards are credit cards linked to an existing credit account, which is held by the primary cardholder. All charges made on a supplementary card appear on the account of the primary cardholder. The primary cardholder must lodge the application for the supplementary card. Once a supplementary card is issued, it can be used in the same way as a regular credit card. Supplementary cards can make the same range of transactions, while being subjected to a credit limit.
Who can I get a supplementary credit card for?
You can get a supplementary credit card for anyone, so long as they meet the eligibility requirements of your bank. Supplementary credit cards can be appropriate for:
- Family members. Giving your partner or children access to credit in the case of an emergency can be a reliable security blanket. Banks have varying age requirements for supplementary cardholders.
- Boyfriends and girlfriends. You do not need to be related to intended supplementary cardholders. This means you can apply for a supplementary card for your boyfriend, girlfriend or even a friend.
- Colleagues and employees. Business credit cards can offer supplementary cards with benefits such as logo printing and consolidated statements.
Why should I consider supplementary credit cards
Applying for a supplementary credit card can open up a number of advantages, both for the account holder and the card recipient. These advantages include:
- Financial independence. Once a supplementary credit card is issued, it operates in the same manner as a regular credit card. This means users have the financial freedom to make purchases and withdrawals without the need for prior authorisation. Supplementary cards can be particularly useful for families with dependants, such as a non-working partner or older children.
- Extra rewards. Once a supplementary card is linked to an account, it can typically accrue rewards at the same rate as the primary card. For account holders, this means the chance to earn extra rewards points, frequent flyer miles and other benefits. If you have more people spending on your account, your reward-earning potential is naturally higher.
- Easy tracking. While all charges from supplementary cards come to the primary account holder, the charges can be distinguished. This means you’ll get a monthly breakdown stating how much was spent on each card. This allows you to track expenses, apply for limit adjustments and manage finances as you see fit.
- Financial responsibility. Many parents use supplementary cards as a way to teach their children about financial responsibility and sensible spending. By providing a child with a supplementary card, parents can keep a watchful eye on spending and use monthly statements as discussions tools. The primary account holder can serve as a safety net for the supplementary cardholder until she or he is ready to strike out on their own.
- Low cost. Many supplementary cards carry no additional charges and have no application costs. Others have an annual fee that may be waived for the first year. If you’ve arrived at the conclusion you want a supplementary card, chances are you won’t be discouraged by surrounding fees. Be sure to check the terms and conditions surrounding supplementary cards for your credit card account.
What should I keep in mind when it comes to supplementary credit cards
While supplementary credit cards offer a number of benefits and advantages, there are some potential drawbacks to be wary of. These include:
- Credit history. Primary account holders are putting their credit history at stake by linking supplementary cards to their account. All spending, missed payments and surpassed limits are ultimately the responsibility of the primary account holder.
- Overspending. Having supplementary cards can increase spending. While this may be the desired outcome, you should be sure to check account transactions regularly to ensure spending hasn’t blown out.
- Risk. Supplementary cards increase risk. Having two, or more, cards exposes you to more chances of lost cards, stolen cards and other card-related issues.
How to apply for a supplementary credit card
Applying for a supplementary card can be a simple process. Different banks have varying procedures and requirements, so you’ll have to check with your card supplier to find out the specifics. In general, you’ll need to check:
- The application process. You may be able to request a supplementary credit card via an online application form, a phone call to your bank or a visit to your local branch.
- The eligibility requirements for supplementary cardholders. Some banks require supplementary cardholders to be of a certain age. This may be 16 and older or 18 and older. If you’re looking for a supplementary credit card for your child, be sure to check they’re eligible.
- The documentation required. Check with your bank. In many cases, you’ll only need the application form and a copy of the intended supplementary cardholder’s identification (NRIC or passport).
Supplementary credit cards can be a versatile and flexible financial tool that aids both the primary account holder and the supplementary cardholder. With considered use, the advantages of supplementary credit cards outweigh the potential drawbacks. If you’re ready for a credit card that offers supplementary cards, click here to start comparing options.
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