My partner is always telling me to use this or that card of his when I need to go out shopping. He's the only one of the two of us with a credit card. I get a bit paranoid that the people in the shop will realise I am probably not called "Peter" (since I'm a female) and I'll get in trouble/have our credit cards revoked.

Are my fears unfounded?

edit: I'm based in Sweden, and our cards are MC/Amex with Swedbank.

  • 2
    Adding location, bank, and CC will elicit more accurate info, victoria.
    – gef05
    May 19, 2011 at 14:39
  • That's a good point, although to be fair I doubt we have that many Swedish posters around.
    – victoriah
    May 19, 2011 at 17:56
  • It helps all of us get a handle on your question - regardless of whether we are from Sweden or not. Thanks for updating the post.
    – gef05
    May 19, 2011 at 19:23

4 Answers 4


From the issuing bank's perspective it is probably ok.

As an example:

From Bank of America's Terms of Agreement for Visa Cards/Mastercards (USA). Note the second bullet:

You may allow authorized users on your account in the following ways:

(1) by notifying us that you want someone added to your account as an authorized user;

(2) by lending your card or account number to another; or

(3) by any other ways in which you would be legally considered to have allowed another to use your account or to be legally prevented from denying that you did so.

Downloaded from https://www.applyonlinenow.com/us/agreements/BAC/EN/VISA-MASTERCARD%20SECURED-ENGLISH.pdf

BUT, from the merchant's perspective it's less clear. Merchants can refuse the card for a variety of reasons, and I'm guessing this is one such reason (ie. mismatch between name on card and individual in possession of card).

Edited 1232 EST (my original post was unclear).

  • 2
    Best long term solution is to add you as an authorized user, they may ask for your SSN, but you don't need to provide it for them to make you an authorized user and send you a card with your name on it. Your partner would still be liable for the charges.
    – Alex B
    May 19, 2011 at 16:39

From the Bank's point of view, an approved transaction is an approved transaction, meaning that if you indirectly approve the transaction (as the cardholder) by giving the card to your spouse/child/friend/parent/significant other, thats all they are worried about. That being said, modern fraud detection algorithms are particularly sensitive - especially since they are tuned towards the false-positive side on purpose (better to catch a few non-fraud transactions then to let some real fraud slip by). If you shop at significantly different places than your significant other it may trigger a fraud alert on his card so that is something to watch out for, (same with a child using his parents CC to buy online game accounts - happened to me when I was younger).

On the side of the Merchant it is their responsibility and their financial liability (in some cases) if they let you use someone elses card to make an unauthorized purchase so you may well be denied the ability to make the transaction. In the worst case they are not allowed to confiscate your card, and if they try to do so (while it is messy) calling the police and having your partner verify by phone/in person that the card wasn't stolen may be required. Usually if you share the same last name merchants will let you use the card. If it is a debit card they shouldn't care as long as you have the PIN.

If you are really worried you can have your partner sign the back of the card with the note along the lines of "signature - I authorize Victoria to use this card". This will - at the very least - keep them from being suspicious enough from confiscating the card. I have a coworker that signs his with "check ID please" so he gets carded every time.


Although it's Not encouraged by Banks; its a common practise with merchants accepting this for smaller amounts. This is more of convinience and ease of use rather than anything else.
The number of cases where people do this and deny later is less. Take for example, you partner can raise a dispute that he has not swiped the card. He may even produce an evidence that at that time he was not in city or was in office. Now if the card is not reported stolen, and resued again by your partner, the card company would indicate that your partner let the card to someone else.
So most of the merchants would accept this and the amount they lose would be very little to none.

  • 1
    The fact that you deny a transaction while still using the card indicates nothing but the fact that someone swiped the card without your authorization. It can be the same card taken by someone and then returned to your wallet, or a copy of your card forged at the corner gas station. Doesn't mean a thing, but they will suggest changing the card number if it happens frequently.
    – littleadv
    May 19, 2011 at 18:55
  • @littleadv: Agree.
    – Dheer
    May 20, 2011 at 4:04

All what was said here is false. Visa, Mastercard, etc, authorize the card only to the cardholders. That means he cannot give this card to someone else, not even for internet transactions. The legal owner and authorized for payments is only the cardholder, banks can allow a second person to his account and they issue a second card, this is something else, but if your name is not on the card legally you cannot use it. Its fraud. Even if its your sister, brother, etc.

  • This seems rather simplistic, given gef05's answer making it clear that at least one bank provides wider authorization. Nov 3, 2011 at 16:48
  • 2
    I'd also suggest if you're going to say "All what was said here is false", you could offer up some kind of reference to support your answer? For instance, gef05's answer had quoted terms and conditions from an actual card issuer. Nov 3, 2011 at 19:34

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