I have a credit card account with three cards; each has a unique number and a unique name. The three people may be in the same room, or they may, in the extreme case, be on different continents.

The issuer insists that fraud alerts can go only to the primary person. Thus, if my wife is someplace trying to buy something, and the anti-fraud algorithm decided that her presence in, say, a music store in Jersey City is so suspicious as to trigger a rejection, the resulting text message and / or call comes to me. I might be in the bottom of a well, unavailable, so she's stuck.

Is this universal across card issuers? Do I have any other choices other than to give up on joint accounts?

  • 1
    Well, the obvious alternative is to get separate credit card accounts for each person. Aug 10, 2015 at 15:36
  • 3
    'give up on joint accounts'.
    – bmargulies
    Aug 10, 2015 at 15:40
  • @ChrisInEdmonton: The obvious problem is that the other family members may not have sufficiently good credit to get cards with terms that are as good, or even any cards at all. Aug 10, 2015 at 18:50
  • See if any of those $100+ annual fee cards with concierge services can handle a 1:N contact information model.
    – user662852
    Aug 10, 2015 at 20:02

1 Answer 1


This will depend on whether the fraud alert system is manual or automatic, as well as the financial institution's policies.

For manual systems, there is usually more leeway on who can be contacted. Automatic systems can fail at a number of points, including the contact options made available to it.

Generally, the primary account holder will be able to confirm any activity on an account, while additional account holders will be able to confirm only their activity. However, this can be more of a matter of bank policy, as some will allow any account holder to confirm all activity.

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