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While I still lived at home a few years ago, my parents added me onto one of their credit card accounts and gave me a card with my name on it. Fast forward to moving out and living with my wife; we are looking to rent a house and move out of our apartment. The manager of the property we're looking at asked for a credit report which I gave him, and my score was in the high 700s (in the US btw). I thought that couldn't be right and when I looked at the report, I had 2 years of our apartment rent, then records dating back to 3 years before I was born to the credit card from my parents. Now I know this is great, not like the parents that ruin their kids credit.

I'm not sure what to do about this. Should I roll with it and use the credit, or should I try to have the removed? On one hand this isn't an accurate and if it was looked at closely on any application it'd be seen I am younger than the account. I don't know what that would then mean. On the other, the person we are looking to rent from said with the good credit, we may be able to talk with his realtor friend to get a great deal on a house and have payments on that instead of rent payments.

Also, if we were to miss a payment for some reason, would this effect just my credit or would it somehow effect my parents? We haven't missed anything yet, but wanted to be sure in case we did.

Any advice? Is this something I can, or should fix?

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    "we may be able to talk with his realtor friend to get a great deal on a house and have payments on that instead of rent payments" Don't confuse being able to get a mortgage, with it being a good idea. It is great to have the option to buy a house, but think long and hard about whether it's a good idea for you. There are many questions on this site you can look at on that subject. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Jul 25 '17 at 14:05
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I'm not sure what to do about this. Should I roll with it and use the credit, or should I try to have the removed?

This is actually working as intended, it's called piggybacking, it doesn't make sense to me that they do it this way, but becoming an authorized user on your parent's account impacts your score (can help or harm, depending on the account history).

Also, if we were to miss a payment for some reason, would this effect just my credit or would it somehow effect my parents?

The only way you could hurt their credit score is if you maxed out their card and they were unable to pay it, their card is the only link between your credit score and theirs.

Any advice? Is this something I can, or should fix?

As long as they are okay with you being on the account and they keep the account in good standing (on-time payments and low usage relative to their limit), it helps you out. When you get removed from your parents' card, the credit score benefit can go away, so it makes sense to build your own history and/or get approved for the mortgage before you get removed from your parents' card.

Edit: This article on The Balance indicates that being removed as an authorized user doesn't always cause the account to fall off your report, so I changed the wording to indicate that the benefit can go away, not that it will.

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    Great answer. In response to "why" - a credit score is a measure of default probability. Being an authorized user on an account with a solid history correlates well with lower risk, hence why it is factored into the score. – Rakurai Jul 25 '17 at 3:21
  • If banks/credit agencies can (and do) track and use past associations with bad credit risks to downgrade someone's credit rating, I see no problem with using past associations with good credit risks to help you credit rating. – TripeHound Jul 25 '17 at 8:08
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    Are you sure that removing the OP from his parents' card now will make all of that credit history disappear from the report? – Ben Miller Jul 25 '17 at 11:06
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    @BenMiller That's a good question, I read a number of articles that seemed to indicate that with authorized users the account is removed from the credit report, unlike a closed account. blog.credit.com/2015/03/… But, like so many credit score related things, it seems like the answer might be more "it depends," as this article indicates it may or may not: thebalance.com/authorized-user-credit-scores-961087 – Hart CO Jul 25 '17 at 13:47
  • @HartCO As someone who was recently an authorized user on a corporate credit card and is no longer so, I can confirm it does get removed from the report. – Ivan Jul 25 '17 at 22:38
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On one hand this isn't an accurate and if it was looked at closely on any application it'd be seen I am younger than the account.

Until you apply for a mortgage, it's unlikely this will ever get noticed. Landlords, auto financiers and student loan officers either didn't notice or didn't care that I had accounts on my credit history 20 years older than me for most of my adult life.

The person we are looking to rent from said with the good credit, we may be able to talk with his realtor friend to get a great deal on a house and have payments on that instead of rent payments.

Something about this strikes me as fishy. If you're looking to rent, rent. Don't go looking for one thing and come home with another, especially if someone's enticing you into it. This is how "free Disneyland tickets" turns into "I think I just bought a timeshare."

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The credit score algorithm has inefficiencies. It is okay to accept that. Nobody deserves one score over another, don't think too hard about it, it is a corporate machination which functions completely independently of mores. A higher score gives you advantages in society built around it.

The purpose is to give the lender a way to quickly judge risk of missed payments and default while having transparency into the details. If the lender doesn't look at your credit history and experiences a default that is the risk they took. If you do default your credit score will plummet. Your primary goal is to not overleverage yourself and get into situations you can't actually afford. If you can afford the rent, or are offered a lower mortgage rate and actually want that, then just roll with it.

Finally, be aware that some credit scoring algorithms do, or plan to, severely diminish the scoring affect of piggybacking on someone else's credit.

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