Credit Card with Cosigner

Should I get a credit card with a cosigner? What are the pros and cons?
Expert answer by Mira Nurdin,
6+ years in marketing and finance, online shopping guru
If you have bad credit or no credit, getting a credit card may be difficult. Luckily, difficult does not mean impossible. If you want to work on improving poor credit, one of the ways that you can get a credit card is to find card issuers or banks that allow cosigners. A cosigner is often referred to as a co-applicant as well, so make sure you look for terms like this when you apply as well. If you are considering getting a credit card with a cosigner, here are some things you should know first. 

Benefits of Adding a Cosigner

If you don’t have good enough credit history

If you have a co-applicant, the most important thing to keep in mind is that both you and the other person share credit building responsibilities. If you have a family member, friend, or partner who has decent credit, they can act as your credit card cosigner. This will allow them to sign on and share the account, which also means you both get something out of the deal. Since each person will have access to the account, everyone can take a look at and monitor the activity. Each person can also access the account to make sure the bill is paid on time, which will help you both build a better credit score. 

If you don’t meet the income qualification

A stable income is important when it comes to qualifying for a credit card. Many credit card issuers also require an income of a certain amount. If you don’t make much money, adding a cosigner to your application can help you qualify for the credit card. This can be very useful for students who are under 21.

A hidden benefit

One of the hidden benefits of a cosigner on your credit card is that sometimes it inspires you to manage your credit responsibly simply because you are being held accountable by the other person. Most people tend to make better decisions if someone else is looking. This means that a cosigner on a credit card could help you get into the practice of managing your credit more responsibly. If you are getting a credit card to build credit due to past issues with bad credit, this will be an important part of building and maintaining a good credit score. Joint applicants will both be sent the bill when the credit card is due and will be held accountable equally.

Which Banks Allow Cosigners?

Many credit card issuers allow cosigners on accounts. For instance, the following banks will allow you to apply with a co-applicant if you can’t qualify for a credit card on your own.
Bank of America
US Bank
Wells Fargo

Consider Being Added as an Authorized User

Although some of the other credit card issuers do not allow cosigners, you can often add another person to your account as an authorized user. Adding an authorized user can help the person with poor credit start building a positive credit history. If you know someone who is willing to add you to their account as an authorized user, you can take advantage of the same benefits you would have if you added a cosigner. As an authorized user, you can build your credit and establish a credit history. Because you are essentially sharing the account, it’s important that you manage it responsibly or you could have a negative impact on the other person’s credit.
The main difference between co-signing and being an authorized user is that an authorized user doesn't have a legal responsibility for card payments.
Than means it is the primary cardholder responsibility to pay off balances, so be careful with adding someone on your account.
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