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jonmyers
Posts: 62
Registered: ‎12-04-2010
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AU vs Secondary Member

I'm wondering what people's thoughts are on Secondary Members on a Credit Card.  Here's the skinny: I"ve had Discover for 10 years (got it in college).  Had some rough patches during/after college that knocked my FICO down.  I've been working on keeping good credit to the point where I touched low 800's earlier this year from one of the CR's (whichever one FICO uses for their Scorewatch).  Wife's been working on her credit.  Similar story: rough patches during/after college.  She's younger (not as much time as passed since college to wash the baddies), so she was high 500/low 600 earlier this year.  She was added as an AU about a little more than a year ago to start some sort of relationship with her and Disc (she was not approved for her own account at that time).

 

I've been thinking about pulling her score again and apping at Disc, so I called them today just to see what they might be looking for/what AU history did in their considerations/when a good time to apply again.  The person I talked didn't answer any of those questions, but suggested that we add her as a "Secondary Member."  This is a new term for me, but what it means is the account is a joint account and both people are liable for charges made.  Activity would then post on her reports.

 

Talking with Customer Service, they tell me that it's a written app (both parties have to sign), a hard pull for her, no pull for me, new account for her, doesn't change my account age.  The only drawback being a possible decrease in limit if they determine her a higher risk.

 

I requested the information be mailed to us.

 

Anybody familiar with this?  Anything I should be aware/concerned for?  Is it significantly different or easier than her applying for a whole different account?

 

Thanks!

jonmyers

Valued Contributor
ptr2593
Posts: 1,486
Registered: ‎08-14-2011
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Re: AU vs Secondary Member


jonmyers wrote:

I'm wondering what people's thoughts are on Secondary Members on a Credit Card.  Here's the skinny: I"ve had Discover for 10 years (got it in college).  Had some rough patches during/after college that knocked my FICO down.  I've been working on keeping good credit to the point where I touched low 800's earlier this year from one of the CR's (whichever one FICO uses for their Scorewatch).  Wife's been working on her credit.  Similar story: rough patches during/after college.  She's younger (not as much time as passed since college to wash the baddies), so she was high 500/low 600 earlier this year.  She was added as an AU about a little more than a year ago to start some sort of relationship with her and Disc (she was not approved for her own account at that time).

 

I've been thinking about pulling her score again and apping at Disc, so I called them today just to see what they might be looking for/what AU history did in their considerations/when a good time to apply again.  The person I talked didn't answer any of those questions, but suggested that we add her as a "Secondary Member."  This is a new term for me, but what it means is the account is a joint account and both people are liable for charges made.  Activity would then post on her reports.

 

Talking with Customer Service, they tell me that it's a written app (both parties have to sign), a hard pull for her, no pull for me, new account for her, doesn't change my account age.  The only drawback being a possible decrease in limit if they determine her a higher risk.

 

I requested the information be mailed to us.

 

Anybody familiar with this?  Anything I should be aware/concerned for?  Is it significantly different or easier than her applying for a whole different account?

 

Thanks!

jonmyers



From what you're saying, I don't see any upside to adding her as a "secondary member."  Same benefits as an AU (helps her AAoA, good history on the account, etc) but could potentially drop your limit, and she gets an inquiry.

 

I would just add her as an AU and let that help her score/report.

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New Contributor
jonmyers
Posts: 62
Registered: ‎12-04-2010
0

Re: AU vs Secondary Member

The upside is that DC would report her usage.  AUs don't get that, nor the AAoA.

 

The don't report AUs because they are not responsible for debt incurred.  We haven't seen DC TL on her report yet, and they confirmed yesterday that they only do it when the person is liable for the debt.  We added her as an AU to establish a history with DC, even though it does little for her credit history.

 

I realize it would be a hard pull for her, but the way I see it, it would be a hard pull for her to app for her own card.  If we have a better chance at having her being approved for 2ndary user, I'd rather burn the hard that way.

 

Re: CLD, I don't mind losing some points if our limit goes down.  I figure it's worth it to help establish her credit.

 

jonmyers

Valued Contributor
thom02099
Posts: 1,350
Registered: ‎08-30-2011
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Re: AU vs Secondary Member

[ Edited ]

jonmyers wrote:

The upside is that DC would report her usage.  AUs don't get that, nor the AAoA.

 

The don't report AUs because they are not responsible for debt incurred.  We haven't seen DC TL on her report yet, and they confirmed yesterday that they only do it when the person is liable for the debt.  We added her as an AU to establish a history with DC, even though it does little for her credit history.

 

I realize it would be a hard pull for her, but the way I see it, it would be a hard pull for her to app for her own card.  If we have a better chance at having her being approved for 2ndary user, I'd rather burn the hard that way.

 

Re: CLD, I don't mind losing some points if our limit goes down.  I figure it's worth it to help establish her credit.

 

jonmyers


I posted a question about AU and reporting to CRAs, as I was under the impression that, without a DOB and/or SSN, they didn't have correlating data to do so.  Anecdotally, I've heard from members here who did add an AU to their Discover account (or the responder was an AU), and they DID report to the CRAs, the AU having a TL showing Discover.  The information I received indicated that, the AU's mailing address being the same as the primary cardholder, is what triggers the TL.    I guess I will have to just wait and see what actually does report, when the cards I ordered for my kids arrive and start getting used. 

Diners Club Premier MasterCard $50K / AMEX Gold NPSL / AMEX Zync NPSL / AMEX Blue Cash Preferred $14K / Bank of America Cash Rewards Signature Visa $15K / Merrill Lynch Plus Signature Visa $15K / Wells Fargo Propel 365 $15K / Chase Sapphire Preferred Signature Visa $10K / J P Morgan Select Signature Visa $10K / Chase Slate Visa $6K / CITI Diamond Preferred MasterCard $13.2K / Discover IT $10.5K / IberiaBank Select Visa $8K / 1st Command Bank Platinum Visa $7.5K // Home Depot $9.7K / Lowes $10K

EX = 799 EQ = 812 TU = 811 - 11/2014
Valued Contributor
ptr2593
Posts: 1,486
Registered: ‎08-14-2011
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Re: AU vs Secondary Member


jonmyers wrote:

The upside is that DC would report her usage.  AUs don't get that, nor the AAoA.

 

The don't report AUs because they are not responsible for debt incurred.  We haven't seen DC TL on her report yet, and they confirmed yesterday that they only do it when the person is liable for the debt.  We added her as an AU to establish a history with DC, even though it does little for her credit history.

 

I realize it would be a hard pull for her, but the way I see it, it would be a hard pull for her to app for her own card.  If we have a better chance at having her being approved for 2ndary user, I'd rather burn the hard that way.

 

Re: CLD, I don't mind losing some points if our limit goes down.  I figure it's worth it to help establish her credit.

 

jonmyers


 

I'm pretty sure AUs get everything reported exactly as the primary card holder except that it says "Authorized User" on your CR instead of "Primary" or whatever.

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Valued Contributor
ptr2593
Posts: 1,486
Registered: ‎08-14-2011
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Re: AU vs Secondary Member

I was an AU on my parents' Lowes card and I got the AAoA, all lates, all on-time payments, all usage, etc.  I never once used the card.

In My Wallet:
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New Contributor
jonmyers
Posts: 62
Registered: ‎12-04-2010
0

Re: AU vs Secondary Member

I've got an Equifax report of hers that was pulled this Jan. (through FICO) after we added her as an AU (she was added Feb. of 2010), and it is NOT showing.  I thought we pulled a TU this summer, but can't find it. 

 

I just called DC again, and the person on the phone told me that they do not report AU.  Even if they did, the information would be visible on the report (such as AAoA, payments, usage, ect), but would NOT factor into her scoring.

 

I can pull an EX tonight and report back, but everything I've been hearing is that an account doesn't affect their score unless they are actually responsible for the account.

 

Thank for the input!

We'll figure this out!

jonmyers

New Contributor
jonmyers
Posts: 62
Registered: ‎12-04-2010
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Re: AU vs Secondary Member

Alright, I just pulled Experian, and she shows up as an AU on it for DC.  I call BoA as we added her as an AU this August.  BoA isn't reporting her on EX, but when I talked to a credit analyst, she told me that an AU status DOES report and DOES affect the score.

 

So the CC that says they don't report is reporting, and the company that says they do... don't.

 

I was wandering through credit scoring 101, and noticed that there are two versions of FICO 08, and each treat AU's differently.  I wonder if this is why DC and BoA are telling me different things: they use different systems.

 

As a side note, the analyst for BoA suggested that I "go to myfico.com" to learn more.

 

I asked BoA to send me the docs for a joint account.  She told me they do a hard pull for both parties.  I'm still on the fence.

 

jonmyers

Valued Contributor
ptr2593
Posts: 1,486
Registered: ‎08-14-2011
0

Re: AU vs Secondary Member


jonmyers wrote:

Alright, I just pulled Experian, and she shows up as an AU on it for DC.  I call BoA as we added her as an AU this August.  BoA isn't reporting her on EX, but when I talked to a credit analyst, she told me that an AU status DOES report and DOES affect the score.

 

So the CC that says they don't report is reporting, and the company that says they do... don't.

 

I was wandering through credit scoring 101, and noticed that there are two versions of FICO 08, and each treat AU's differently.  I wonder if this is why DC and BoA are telling me different things: they use different systems.

 

As a side note, the analyst for BoA suggested that I "go to myfico.com" to learn more.

 

I asked BoA to send me the docs for a joint account.  She told me they do a hard pull for both parties.  I'm still on the fence.

 

jonmyers


Yea, or the person you talked to at DC doesn't know what they are talking about.  As far as I know, regardless of which version of FICO, AU accounts (if reported) are exactly the same when it comes to reporting/scoring except that on the AU's CR it says "Authorized User". 

 

I still don't see the upside to a joint account.  There's no added benefit in terms of reporting/scoring.

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