Want to share your credit card account with a partner or family member without paying an additional fee? Compare your options and learn more here.
Most credit cards give you the option of having an additional cardholder so that you can both enjoy the convenience and benefits of your account. If you have a reward or frequent flyer credit card, you can also earn more points if both you and an additional cardholder charge purchases to the account.
But adding someone to your credit card account can also lead to an additional annual fee. So if you want to make the most of this feature without paying more, use this guide to compare credit cards that offer free additional cardholders. We also go through important details about getting an additional cardholder and look at what else you should consider so that you can decide if this option is right for you.
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Compare credit cards that offer free additional cardholders
What is an additional cardholder on a credit card?
Also known as supplementary or secondary cardholders, the term “additional cardholder” refers to a person who can use your credit card account to pay for purchases. In some cases, additional cardholders can also enjoy other benefits, such as complimentary insurance.
Additional cardholders are issued with their own card that’s linked to your account. This means you’ll still be responsible for managing the account and paying off the balance – even if it’s from purchases they’ve made. You can discuss payment details directly with your additional cardholder to work out a system that’s fair for both of you. Just remember that the primary cardholder (or main account holder) is legally responsible for the account.
What can an additional cardholders do?
The access and features available to additional cardholders can vary between cards. Usually, they’ll be able to do the following:
- Make purchases
- Earn reward or frequent flyer points for eligible spending
- Check balances and transaction histories
- Set up and change their own personal identification number (PIN) which is different from yours
- Make payments towards the account balance
- Report suspicious transactions and/or lost and stolen cards
- Order a replacement card
- Cancel their cards
Additional cardholders may also be able to enjoy benefits such as complimentary insurance and have the ability to redeem reward points. Check your credit card’s terms and conditions or ask your bank for specific details of what features an additional cardholder would get through your account.
What’s the difference between additional cardholders and joint credit cards?
While additional cardholders are able to access your credit card account, you remain responsible for managing it as the primary cardholder and details of the account are only listed on your credit history. In comparison, a joint credit card account offers shared responsibility and is listed on both your credit file and the credit file of the other person. There are also fewer credit cards that offer joint applications compared to those that offer additional cardholders.
What are the pros and cons to getting an additional cardholder?
- Shared access to credit. If your partner or family member doesn’t have a credit card and may not be eligible to get one, adding them to your account could be a convenient alternative.
- Earn more points. With two people spending on the one account, you could be able to earn more points and get rewards faster.
- Simple process. It’s relatively easy to apply for an additional cardholder, 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. Note that additional cardholders won’t have details of the account added to their credit history.
- 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 additional cardholder 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. Additional cardholders must be at least 16 years of age. Note that some credit cards have a higher minimum age of 18.
- 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. They may also have to provide some personal financial details, such as employment status and income.
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.
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 additional cardholder so that you can make this option work for you.