Alice and Bob are considering applying for a loan - for a discussion example, an Acme credit card.
They have no previous credit connection.

Applying individually, Alice would probably not be approved but Bob would get very good terms (in both cases, based on credit history). Would the loan terms resulting from their joint application be like Alice's individual experience, like Bob's, better, worse, or somewhere in the middle?

Assume the loan is approved and added to the credit reports of both, showing that it's responsibly managed. There are no other substantive changes to either one's credit report. Bob and Alice then go to apply individually for different cards. Compared to the situation in which the Acme card were individual, is Bob's application negatively affected by having Alice on the Acme card? Is Alice's application helped by having Bob on the Acme card, more than it would be if she had been able to get that first card individually?

Do the answers depend on which one is the primary and which one is the co-applicant?
Would any of the applications lead to better terms if Alice were an "authorized user" (assuming that goes on Alice's credit report) instead of a co-applicant on the Acme card?

  • 1
    This is actually going to vary heavily depending on the loan type and who the lender is. In mortgages, some lenders explicitly take the "middle score" of each application (take 3 credit scores, toss highest and lowest), and then take the lowest score of the two applicants - and that's the one they use. In car loans I've seen some companies consider only the 'primary' borrower unless their credit isn't good enough, then go to the next. Some lenders offer completely different products based on such situations. I think you'll find it very hard to generalize, as underwriting guidelines differ.
    – BrianH
    Aug 9, 2017 at 23:06
  • @BrianHall I did specify credit card in the question, but your comment has helpful information.
    – WBT
    Aug 10, 2017 at 5:23


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