Joint credit cards
The pros and cons, who's responsible, how to apply and the 7 Australian banks that offer this type of account.
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Only a few credit card providers in Australia allow you to apply for a joint credit card with your partner or a family member. With this option, both people get access to all the credit card's features and share responsibility for managing and paying off the account. Use this guide to compare credit card brands that offer joint accounts and weigh up the pros and cons of getting a credit card with another person.
Financial institutions that allow joint-account holders
The following table outlines different banks that accept joint credit card applications. Where possible, we have included specific conditions for the application process.
|Banks that allow joint-account holders||Conditions|
|All joint account applications must be opened in a branch.|
|You can apply for a joint account online or by downloading and filling in the joint credit card application form that's available on the Hume Bank website.|
|The online application includes a section for additional applicants. The Community First website also includes a downloadable application form with the option of a joint applicant.|
|When you apply for a credit card online, you will be asked how many people are applying. This gives you the option to select two people if you want a joint credit card account.|
|You can apply in a branch or call 13 14 22 and apply over the phone, as long as both of the joint applicants are present at the time of the application.|
|When you apply online, you can select between one or two applicants.|
|The downloadable credit card application form on the Australian Military Bank website includes a section for the second applicant.|
How do joint credit card accounts work?
A joint credit card gives you and another person equal account access and status. This means you can both use the card and both share financial responsibility for the account.
When you apply for a joint credit card, the issuer will consider the personal and financial details of both you and your partner. If your joint application is approved, the details of the account are listed on both your credit files and can impact on your individual credit ratings.
What are the pros and cons of a joint credit card account?
- Can help get your application approved. If you have a poorer credit score and credit history than your partner, a joint credit card application can improve your chances of getting approved. This is because the credit card provider will assess both applicants jointly and a strong credit score can balance out the weaker one.
- More flexible credit limits. The combined income of two people usually results in a higher credit limit or a more flexible one than the limit you might be offered when you apply individually.
- Can improve your credit score. If you're approved for a joint credit card account, you can use it to help repair your credit score (or your partner's credit score) by making payments on time and avoiding carrying debt. Learn more about how to improve your credit rating.
- Reduces bills and fees. Having a joint credit card account means you get one bill each month instead of two or more. This makes it easier for you to manage shared bills and also saves on costs such as interest and annual fees.
- Limited options. Not all credit card brands offer joint credit card accounts, which means you will have fewer options to choose from and compare.
- Application risks. If you or your partner has a bad credit score, your application for a joint credit card could be declined. This is because the credit card provider will assess both applicants jointly and a bad credit score can outweigh an average or good one. In this case, the result could be a rejection for both applicants and a black mark on both your credit reports. Find out what your credit score is.
- Overspending. With two people spending on one card at the same time, there is a higher change of going over your credit limit. Make sure you both track the account balance and share spending details so that you can avoid fees and other issues that can come from maxing out a card.
- Shared debt. Sharing legal responsibility for the joint account credit card means you also run the risk of taking on debt that is not your own. If one party is not able to manage spending and repayments responsibly, both cardholders will suffer the consequences for it – including possible legal repercussions and a bad credit rating.
How does having a joint account affect my credit score?
When you get a joint credit card or loan account, the details are listed on each person's individual credit file. This information is very similar to what's added when you apply for an individual credit account and includes the following:
- A credit enquiry for each application you make
- The type of account you're approved for (a credit card in this case)
- The total credit limit for that account
The main difference between individual and joint accounts is that the other person will be listed as a joint applicant when these details are added to your credit file. Their credit file will also show you as a joint applicant and joint cardholder.
Joint account holders also share legal responsibility for the account. This means the way that it's managed can have an impact on both of your individual credit scores over time.
For example, if you both make repayments on time each month, this could have a positive impact on your credit scores.
On the flipside, if one of you forgot to make a payment by the due date, it could hurt your individual credit scores. It wouldn't even matter which of you forgot to make a repayment in this situation.
You should also be aware that the total credit limit for the joint account will be listed on both of your credit files. So, even though you are sharing the account, the entire limit could impact your credit score depending on the credit limits for your existing accounts.
As the impact of a joint account can affect you and your partner differently, it's a good idea to talk through your goals before you apply.
What other options are there for sharing a credit card account?
Most credit card issuers give you the option of requesting a supplementary or additional card for someone. In this case, you become the "primary cardholder" and your partner becomes a the "secondary cardholder".
This means you are the only person responsible for managing the account. The supplementary cardholder, on the other hand, is just an “authorised user” and has no liability for any debt owing on the credit card.
Compare credit cards that offer free additional cardholders
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
Joint account credit cards are a handy tool for couples who want to share a budget and take on the equal responsibility of a credit account. However, as not every bank offers joint bank accounts, you’ll need to compare your options to determine which card is right for you and your partner.