I did a lot of searching of the boards, trying to find info on whether authorized users of a Discover Card will have that usage reported to the various CRAs. Some of the search responses indicated that an AU, with NO DOB or SSN info, did in fact show the Discover Card as a TL on their report. Others indicated that they had not. Very confusing. I'm inclined to believe that the AU showed on the PRIMARY CARDMEMBER report, but not necessarily on the AU's report.
So I added my children as AU on my Discover account and sent a message to Discover to find out what their position was. Here is the response I received today:
Thank you for your message about adding someone to your Discover Card account. I appreciate your interest in adding your children to your account, and I am happy to explain how this process works.
You may add someone to your account either as an Authorized Buyer or as a Joint Cardmember. An Authorized Buyer can use your account but is not liable for the balance (does not report to the credit bureau). Authorized Buyers cannot request major changes to the account, and they may be removed from the account at any time.
On the other hand, a Joint Cardmember can make any changes or requests on the account that you can and is equally liable for the balance (reports to the credit bureau). A Joint Cardmember must qualify to be on your account through an application process by mail. After the person is added, neither Joint Cardmember may be removed from the account. You may also only have one Joint Cardmember on the account with you.
If you would like to add a Joint Cardmember, please reply to this message so I may send you the appropriate application to your billing address.
If you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to reply to this message.
So, from this message, it appears that my kiddos won't be receiving the benefit of being an AU AND having it report to the CRAs, unless I change their status to Joint Cardmember. And it appears that they have to QUALIFY to be on the account; I'm reading that to mean that there will be a hard pull on their data, but unfortunately, neither child has a FICO report, since they have no credit accounts at all.
As a sidebar to this, it would appear that with AMEX, the opposite is true, since they asked for DOB and SSN for both of the AUs and CLs can be set by the primary account holder (me) for their liability, meaning that AMEX WILL report to the CRAs.
Interesting. I was added to my partners Discover More card as an authorized user and have it reporting to all 3 credit reporting agencies.
Also, I did not have a hard inquiry on any of my three reports. This took place 4 months ago and I have been checking regularly.
DEFINITELY interesting! That's also what I found when I did a search here of the forums using DISCOVER and AU as my keywords to search. Saw several threads stating the same thing you stated here. Did Discover request your DOB or SSN? If not, how did they apply your AU status to your credit report? Did you see any sort of score increase? I'm hoping something similar will happen with my kiddos added as AU, so that they can establish the beginnings of a CR with a prime TL.
I have heard them say that they don't before... but they do..
I'm just trying to figure out how this can happen, without some numerical identifiers such as DOB or SSN. Neither of my kiddos have credit, hence the adds as AU, to help them get on their feet. I know AMEX does, because I asked them, and I can also establish a CL seperate from my own CL for my AMEX Clear card (a pretty darned good starting card for my kiddos!).
B U M P
Anyone have any knowledge/information as to how an AU can be added to an account without some sort of numerical information, ie, DOB or SSN?
I can't figure it out at all.
I remember hearing at one time that if the person who you are adding as an AU on the account has the same street/mailing address as you, they are able to make the connection that way.
It would make sense, but I don't remember where/when I heard this, or if this is outdated information.
This was my experience with Discover:
I was an AU on my husband's acct in 2009, not a joint cardholder and there was never a hard pull on my report. As an AU, it reported to all three CRAs for me as a TL with no indication that I was an AU. I was able to set up my own Discover.com ID and password, make charges and also payments to the acct through my own personal bank acct not our joint acct. Actually, he never used the card, it was more like my card since all charges and payments were made by me. Unfortunately, even though I was the one that kept the account in perfect shape, got automatic $400 CLIs every 3 months, it didn't help me get in with Discover on my own. The first time I applied, I was declined and on recon when I explained that if they checked the history of payments with the card for the last year, they'd see that all payments were made by me from my bank account, she said it couldn't be taken into consideration because I was an AU. I eventually got in though...thank goodness!
Edited: My name was added on as an AU when DH applied.