First of all, the other person would not get the physical cards (I would get the second card with their name, but destroy them upon receipt), so the balances should be safe.

However, I'm unsure if the above does not open some kind of security / fraud backdoor that I am not aware of.

The purpose of the above, is to "bump" the credit score of the other person. I'm just afraid, it might also lower my score (as theirs is ~600) ?

Considering it took me quite a few years to get to the 750 (Equifax) / 730 (FICO), I want to hear all risks associated with putting someone else's SSN on my credit cards.

  • @quid : Correct. The second card would arrive at my home address, and I would cut it up (to make it 100% safe for me - e.g. to avoid a scenario where I suddenly end up with maxed out cards). The only purpose is to boost the credit score of the other person, but I have zero idea of the inner workings, so my first and biggest worry is if it won't 'average' also my credit score.
    – RubyNoob
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 0:56
  • Please edit your question, including the title, to make it clear you're not asking about committing fraud, as so many commenters understood from your original wording.
    – TecBrat
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 2:18
  • See also: money.stackexchange.com/q/29858/10997
    – Ben Miller
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 3:52
  • 1
    I did* totally misunderstand. Sorry. Comment deleted. Poorly worded title, though
    – Mawg
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 20:29
  • 1
    @RubyNoob I didn't realize until I read your comment that you weren't actually putting them on the account except as an authorized user... to my knowledge that won't actually show up on their credit report if they have no potential responsibility to pay the bill.
    – user12515
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 6:38

3 Answers 3


I think your question is about making someone else an authorized user on your credit card to help their credit score, but not giving them a physical card. Right?

The other person would still be an authorized user in the bank's system with a card in their name and social security number (even if you physically destroyed the actual piece of plastic). Since the bank would consider them to be an authorized user, it is possible they could use that status to obtain an additional card, make balance transfers onto the account, obtain cash advances, or otherwise access the account. While a bank may not allow him to do all of these things without your approval as the primary account-holder, it is unlikely that this is truly guaranteed, and you will be unable to complain as the other person is, in fact, an authorized user. Since you're responsible for the debt as the primary account-holder, you'd be stuck paying the bill.

So I would only do this if you can truly trust the other person with up to the credit limit on the card.

  • Depending on the bank, it is very likely they could call and say, "My name is so-and-so, here is my social security number, I lost my card and I need a replacement." I think most banks would send them a new card without a moment's hesitation. Maybe there'd be extra checks because they're not the primary account holder. But if you have any question at all if this person might do something like that, I wouldn't agree to this unless you're prepared to lose an amount equal to your credit limit.
    – Jay
    Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 6:26
  • @Jay but they'd send the card(s) to OP.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 18:06
  • @RonJohn Hmm, when I made my wife an authorized user on my credit cards, the new cards arrived addressed to her, not to me. They came to "my" address, but we live in the same house so that's her address too. Can an authorized user have a different address than the primary user? That issue has never come up for me so I've never asked. But now that I think of it, as long as it's arriving addressed to this other person, even if the bank won't record a different address, they could just tell the post office to forward their mail.
    – Jay
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 15:54
  • @Jay when new cards (me and two authorized users) have come, they've always been addressed directly to my name. But... my daughter lost her CC a few months ago; sadly, I don't remember which of us called, or how it was addressed. Didn't seem important at the time. (She lives with me, too.) This is definitely something to think about.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 16:01
  • 1
    And even if the bank does send the card to your address, the authorized user is still on the account with your authorization, so it's entirely possible they could walk into a branch, show ID, and take a cash advance. Or gain access to online banking and a virtual card number that way. If someone is on file with the bank as an authorized user, I think you have to assume there's likely some way that person will be able to use the account. Like you say, the question is whether you can truly trust them not to do so. Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 21:23

The real problem with your scheme is that the other person isn't going to get much of a bump to their credit score and depending on how the card issuer reports (or doesn't report) authorized users, there may be no benefit to them at all.

These types of tricks are usually not worth the effort to try them, the best way to build credit is to use it and be responsible about paying it back.

  • I disagree. I added my friend as an authorized user and it increased his credit from roughly 550 to almost 750 in a single month. Commented Apr 7, 2016 at 21:34
  • @Comptonburger Did the credit card company also assign any responsibility for paying the bill to your friend? All the credit cards I have ever had have made a point to tell me when I add an authorized user that that user isn't in any way getting credit and I am responsible for paying all charges they make. It would seem really strange in any case for an authorized user to get a bump from that alone - for instance, imagine a company credit card with lots of employees as authorized users.
    – user12515
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 6:37

What your are trying to do is called piggy backing to boost the credit score of a person, relative or not it doesn't matter it works the same. While this is not illegal, some frown upon it since the person getting the boost is not actually learning any financial responsibility. I think some people on the forum think your are Using someone else's SS# or letting someone else use your SS# that is not the case, you are only adding another person into your line of credit to help the credit score of another person. The only issue that I see would be that since you are giving someone access to your line of credit they may or may not possibly put you in debt from improper use. As you stated above, this person will not be getting an actual card from you since you will destroy it so there really should not be a problem.

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