Are you thinking about applying for a joint credit card with your spouse? Check out this guide to learn the top tips for opening a joint credit card.
You’ve thought about it for some time now, and after plenty of discussions, you and your spouse decide that it’s time to open a joint credit card account. It’s a big step in the relationship, and it should take some serious thought. This account will join you and your spouse together financially for as long as it’s opened for.
Are you ready to make this big commitment? Keep reading for a complete guide on the top tips for opening a joint credit card account!
Know the Multiple Types of Shared Accounts
There’s not just one type of shared account. And in many cases, people tend to use the term “joint credit” very loosely. However, it’s important to know that different lenders and banks offer different types of shared accounts.
It’s important to know the difference between them.
As an authorized user, you have permission to use the credit, but you’re not responsible for paying it back. The account holder is responsible for making the payments because it’s their account and they’ve simply given you rights to spend money on it.
You, as an authorized user, never filled out or signed an application for the credit. However, do keep in mind that even though the account holder is 100 percent responsible for paying the credit back, if the account holder fails to make payments, some lenders will come after you for payment.
With a joint credit account, you’re a partner on the account. This means that you’re 100 percent responsible for the bill and making payments. In this situation, you sit down and fill out and sign an application for the account.
This means that the account is in your name and the credit you use goes towards your credit score. The other person on the account, your spouse, is also 100 percent responsible for making payments and handling the bill.
As a co-signer, you’re signing to be responsible for making payments, however, the account is in someone else’s name. Because it’s in someone else’s name, you cannot use this credit or loan and you most likely won’t have access to the account’s information.
The account holder will be the one receiving and paying the bills for the account. But if the account holder fails to make the payments, or is late on a payment here and there, the bad credit behavior can affect your credit score.
Know Joint Debt Is Your Debt
When opening a joint account, any debt that is accrued is 100 percent your debt. It’s not split 50/50. You’re responsible for paying all debt off.
Joint credit history does not exist. This will affect you and your partner equally. The entire debt is put onto your credit history as it is put on your partner’s credit history as well.
This can either be a good thing or a bad thing. If you have a credit card account in both names that’s never used and always kept paid off, then it’ll significantly boost both of your credits. However, if one spouse is using this account and maxing it out without paying it back, then it’ll significantly drop both of your scores.
If you have weak credit and don’t want to bring your spouse down, then there are other options. There are guaranteed approval credit cards as another option. This is also true if you have great credit and don’t want to add your spouse with weaker credit to your account.
Even those with bad credit can apply, and you don’t have to worry about it affecting your spouse.
Discuss a Purchase Limit
Once the joint account is opened, it’s ideal that you and your spouse discuss a purchase limit. Talk about what the max amount of money is that either of you can charge to the card. Be sure not to go over this limit and always keep the credit card at least at 30%.
If you set spending limits and stick to them, then trust is built and credit scores remain healthy.
Always communicate about the credit card account effectively. Aside from discussing purchase limits and setting them in place, you want to be open about any spending associated with the account. Even if it’s a purchase made below the discussed limit.
Keeping your partner in the loop helps both of you stay on top of the spending and payments. If a situation calls for a purchase to be made that’s larger than the purchase limit, discuss this with your partner. You should seek out other alternatives first.
But if there aren’t any, be sure to have a payment plan in effect for paying this large purchase back.
Always Check the Balance
At the very least, always check the balance. Communication is key when dealing with a joint credit card account, but it’s still important that you check the balance and monthly statement regularly. It’s easy to forget all about that $22.93 purchase at the grocery store, and the $15.72 purchase at the drive-thru, and that $10.99 transaction at the car wash.
These small purchases add up quick, so be sure you’re constantly checking the balance to ensure you’re not over-spending.
Ready to Apply for Your Joint Credit Card?
Are you ready to begin the application process with your spouse for your joint credit card account? After reading these helpful tips above, we hope you’re now better prepared than you were before.
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