I recently financed a car purchase, and my father co-signed for me. I received the first bill, to find out that he is listed as the primary account holder with the finance company, although I am the one who will be making payments. They said they cannot change the primary account holder without refinancing.

Does this affect my ability to build good credit history with the loan?

  • 1
    Secondary question you might ask. If he is the co-signer and if the paperwork you filled out to get the loan is different than the loan, can they just fix their error without re-financing? (Assuming there was an error)
    – MrChrister
    Aug 30, 2012 at 23:54

1 Answer 1


It sounds like your father got a loan and you are making the payments.

If your name and SSN are not on the loan then you are not getting credit for making the payments your father is. So it will not affect your credit. If you are on the loan as a secondary borrower it will affect your credit but not substantially on the positive but could affect it substantially on the negative side.

Since your father is named as the primary borrower you will probably need to talk with him about it first. If this is a mistake the 2 of you will need to work together with the bank to get it corrected. Since your father is currently listed first the bank is probably going to be unable(even if they are willing) to make a change to the loan now with out his explicit permission.

In addition if the loan is in your fathers name, if it is a vehicle loan, then the car is most likely in your fathers name as well. Most states require that the primary signatory on a vehicle loan also be the primary owner on the title to the vehicle. If your fathers name is the primary name on the title then you would have to retitle the car to refinance in your name.

  • Even if I lacked the credit to get the loan without a co-signer, I should be able to still be the primary borrower, right? And would being the primary borrower have a stronger positive effect on my credit? This is definitely a mistake.
    – Kevin C.
    Aug 31, 2012 at 17:56
  • @KevinC. - You CAN be a primary borrower but that does not mean that the bank is willing to give you a loan as the primary borrower even with a cosigner. It is possible this was the only way the bank was willing to extend the loan. I also updated the answer with a bit I hadnt thought about until you asked that question.
    – user4127
    Aug 31, 2012 at 18:12
  • So, I take it the primary borrower stands to gain a stronger positive impact on their credit history? The lender has said they don't do refinancing, might I have any recourse since this is a mistake?
    – Kevin C.
    Aug 31, 2012 at 18:54
  • @KevinC.- Have you talked with your father. This may not have been a mistake. It will really come down to how the paperwork was filled out. If they filled out the paperwork with him as the primary borrower and you both signed it then it is done. If the paperwork was filled out with you as the primary borrower then the loan could be voided but you will probably need a lawyer to be sure. But I really doubt there was any mistake.
    – user4127
    Aug 31, 2012 at 20:18

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