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Credit Card Authorized vs. Joint
Old 03-01-2018, 11:47 PM   #1
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Credit Card Authorized vs. Joint

I'm guessing someone here may have been through this situation...

As I am the financial planner/manager/tracker for us, I have been writing up a survivor plan for DW to help her take control if need be. One thing I just realized is that our long held credit cards list me as owner and her as authorized user. If I die first, will she lose the use of those cards? Do I need to go through the process to get her listed as joint owner instead?
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Old 03-02-2018, 12:04 AM   #2
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Or you could have her get a CC where she is the owner and you as an authorized user. I think that might be worth it if there was a good CC deal you wanted to take advantage of. Otherwise, it may be best to get her listed as joint. I need to do that with my Fidelity CC. I set it up with DW as an authorized user. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that meant that she could not see the card/transactions using her Fidelity log in. Much like our separate IRA's, we can't see each other's individual accounts. This is problematic for me because unlike in your case, DW is the manager/tracker.
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Old 03-02-2018, 12:06 AM   #3
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Maybe. I don’t think there is such a thing as a truly joint credit card account. But the bank may be willing to reissue cards to her.

I agree that she should have at least one credit card in her name so she can establish credit.
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Old 03-02-2018, 02:49 AM   #4
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Much like our separate IRA's, we can't see each other's individual accounts. This is problematic for me because unlike in your case, DW is the manager/tracker.

At Fidelity, you can grant account access to your spouse under More / Account Features / Authorized Access. This works for taxable and retirement accounts but not for the CC.

“You can grant other individuals the right to view and/or manage your accounts. There are four levels of authorized access: Inquiry Access, Limited Authority, Full Authority, and Power of Attorney (POA).”
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Old 03-02-2018, 06:45 AM   #5
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Maybe. I don’t think there is such a thing as a truly joint credit card account. But the bank may be willing to reissue cards to her.

I agree that she should have at least one credit card in her name so she can establish credit.
I agree with audreyh1. The issue of credit card "owner" and "authorized user" came up recently in my household. I contacted our "joint" credit card provider and were told that they no longer allow "jointly owned" credit card accounts, and they were not aware of any company that does. Apparently companies got tired of going after multiple owners, and with a single owner have made it clear where the responsibility for payment stops.
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:06 AM   #6
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I would just have her apply for a card in her name, then after a while I'd have her apply for a second one as a back-up.

I can't remember what radio show I heard it on (Clark Howard, I think) but apparently some CC companies make the survivor of a joint CC reapply and are granted (or not) a new card with a new number so the original card goes kaput. That spurred me into applying for one of my own.

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I agree with audreyh1. The issue of credit card "owner" and "authorized user" came up recently in my household. I contacted our "joint" credit card provider and were told that they no longer allow "jointly owned" credit card accounts, and they were not aware of any company that does. Apparently companies got tired of going after multiple owners, and with a single owner have made it clear where the responsibility for payment stops.
That's interesting. One would think they would be happy to have several people to go after in the event of non-payment, but then logical thinking and CC companies don't exactly go together.
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:28 AM   #7
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This thread made me think. I looked, and most of our credit cards are actually in DW's name. The two that we use the most (for bill paying and joint shopping), are in my name, but the worst thing that will happen to her if I die and they shut off access to her is that she'll lose a significant amount of credit limit. And truthfully, that might not be a bad thing. But her credit rating is a few points higher than mine. But since we do so much purchasing online, we both use each other's cards interchangeably. Since we're a good team and go over the purchases at least monthly it's no big deal. It may not be what the CC companies prefer, but it works for us.
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:36 AM   #8
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At Fidelity, you can grant account access to your spouse under More / Account Features / Authorized Access. This works for taxable and retirement accounts but not for the CC.

“You can grant other individuals the right to view and/or manage your accounts. There are four levels of authorized access: Inquiry Access, Limited Authority, Full Authority, and Power of Attorney (POA).”
This. DH and I have full view and access of each other's accounts. They appear under the 'authorized' accounts section.
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Old 03-02-2018, 09:25 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
...

I agree that she should have at least one credit card in her name so she can establish credit.
I think OP is missing out on some great benefits of treating his wife as an equal. His wife should get CC in her name.

My DW and I each have a bunch in our own names, this gives us double benefits.

I signed up for a CC with bonus - get whatever it is by putting all our spending on it for 3 months.
She signs up for some CC with bonus - gets whatever it is by putting all our spending on it for 3 months.
Sometimes it's the same CC as it's such a great bonus.
If we don't want to keep the CC , we cancel it after 11 months to avoid any fee.

Our Credit Scores are each above 800.

Most importantly it means we each have our own Credit Report and CC's should either of us die.
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:20 PM   #10
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Or you could have her get a CC where she is the owner and you as an authorized user. I think that might be worth it if there was a good CC deal you wanted to take advantage of.
That's a good thought, independent of what we do with the existing cards.
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:25 PM   #11
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At Fidelity, you can grant account access to your spouse under More / Account Features / Authorized Access. This works for taxable and retirement accounts but not for the CC.
This is good, and we have already done this so we can see each other's accounts, I had just overlooked the credit cards (and the primary one is the Fidelity card). We also have each others login details for other accounts that aren't as easily shared.
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:30 PM   #12
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I can't remember what radio show I heard it on (Clark Howard, I think) but apparently some CC companies make the survivor of a joint CC reapply and are granted (or not) a new card with a new number so the original card goes kaput.
That would seem to defeat the purpose of having a joint card, but I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised.
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:30 PM   #13
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At Fidelity, you can grant account access to your spouse under More / Account Features / Authorized Access. This works for taxable and retirement accounts but not for the CC.

“You can grant other individuals the right to view and/or manage your accounts. There are four levels of authorized access: Inquiry Access, Limited Authority, Full Authority, and Power of Attorney (POA).”
Are you adding them as an agent?
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:31 PM   #14
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That would seem to defeat the purpose of having a joint card, but I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised.
Well - is it truly a joint credit card? I think you need to talk to your card issuer to find this out and find out what happens if one of you passes.
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:47 PM   #15
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I agree with audreyh1. The issue of credit card "owner" and "authorized user" came up recently in my household. I contacted our "joint" credit card provider and were told that they no longer allow "jointly owned" credit card accounts, and they were not aware of any company that does. Apparently companies got tired of going after multiple owners, and with a single owner have made it clear where the responsibility for payment stops.
I know the Fidelity card allows it, as I have downloaded a form to do it (though it looks more like a credit application). Websites for our other two cards don't have any apparent links or info on joint accounts or converting to one, so maybe Fidelity is the exception.
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:42 PM   #16
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I know the Fidelity card allows it, as I have downloaded a form to do it (though it looks more like a credit application). Websites for our other two cards don't have any apparent links or info on joint accounts or converting to one, so maybe Fidelity is the exception.
The Fidelity credit card is issued by Elan financial, although Fidelity may be able to answe your questions.

This card as just issued within the past couple of years.

I know that ours is not joint and I am the primary cardholder.
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Old 03-02-2018, 09:22 PM   #17
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Is there any requirement informing the CC company of the holder's death? Why say anything to them? Just keep using the card as authorized. It's not your obligation to inform them.

I was curious about DW's credit and so I opened a creditkarma login for her to check. She shares 4 of the same cards I do; 2 Chase cards, 1 Capitol One card and 1 Syncbank card. So some how we are both listed on those 4 cards. The only cards she isn't on is Home Depot, SAM'S and COSTCO. But I only use those cards at those stores and no place else.
On top of that, the security questions asked to identify her to create an account with creditkarma were for our car, financed through the manufacturer; Subaru. I know I bought the car as it was a gift to her from me.
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Old 03-02-2018, 09:31 PM   #18
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Is there any requirement informing the CC company of the holder's death? Why say anything to them? Just keep using the card as authorized. It's not your obligation to inform them.

I was curious about DW's credit and so I opened a creditkarma login for her to check. She shares 4 of the same cards I do; 2 Chase cards, 1 Capitol One card and 1 Syncbank card. So some how we are both listed on those 4 cards. The only cards she isn't on is Home Depot, SAM'S and COSTCO. But I only use those cards at those stores and no place else.
On top of that, the security questions asked to identify her to create an account with creditkarma were for our car, financed through the manufacturer; Subaru. I know I bought the car as it was a gift to her from me.
Well, actually, I think you are required to inform them.

And if the issuer is associated with a financial institution where you have a banking relationship they are going to find out anyway.
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Old 03-02-2018, 11:29 PM   #19
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This article: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/cred...t-cardholders/ states that only the card holder is responsible for paying the bills, "The principal cardholder is the only one legally on the hook for debt on the account" So the issuer needs to be told if the card holder dies since there is no one left alive legally responsible for the bill.
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Old 03-03-2018, 08:21 AM   #20
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Most cards don't have anything joint. There is Basic (owner) and Additional. Yes, those Adds will be helped into their own account if needed, but agree with others, DW should have her own. The basic is the one with the contract with the bank, so without them, the account folds.

She might need more than just a credit card too if she outlives you significantly, so it's important for her to have her own healthy credit history.
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