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Couples - Whether to AU or not

Senior Contributor

Couples - Whether to AU or not

How do you decide whether to have one partner be an AU on the other partner's card? 

Is it bi-directional? (sometimes you're an AU on theirs, sometimes they're an AU on yours)

Has this changed since you've become 'interested' in credit? 

 

Here's my story: 

For the first many years of our relationship, my credit was better than DH's. I've also got an overall longer history and was working at my career for longer. Thus, he was often an AU and I was primary. This is also because I've the numbers/bills/money person 99% of the time (I think we tried a few months with him in charge, or maybe it was just a dream/nightmare). There was a short stretch where his credit was better and he was primary and I was secondary and we've got one or two cards that way. It never dawned on me NOT to add him and vice versa. 

 

Then I found this site. For the first few cards we got (BCP, SM, A+, Discover) we still added each other without a lot of thought. But by the time a few months had passed, I realized that this is a decision to be made on each new tradeline individually. I also became hesitant to add him once the Chase 5/24 rule started floating around on the chance that we want a CSP (still not 100% if AU's do or don't count, most recently I read they don't). After that epiphany, we've done this:

 

Cash+ - Didn't add him mostly because he's not great with rotating categories and remembering what to use. I've usually kept categories where I spend or where if he wants something, it's not a hassle for me to buy the whateveritis for him or with him. I'll probably be adding him because I never carry a balance and it'll be a util pad for him and alleviate that hassle if he does want something.

 

RC and Hyatt - Didn't add him because I don't see him using the cards alone. Again, thinking of adding him since I don't carry a balance. Util padding. And if AU's don't count for 5/24 there's no reason not to. 

 

DCU Visa - It was pre-approved on my account. I accepted it thinking that I'll use it to move 0% stuff that expires before I get it paid off if necessary and THAT's a really good thing to only be on one of our CRs. 

 

Nasa PLOC - Didn't add him. Same reasoning as DCU Visa. 

 

Plat (His) - Not going to pay for me to be AU. He got the 100k offer. It's not a 'spending' card. 

 

EDP - He IS an AU - Groceries, his gas, and much non-cat spend. His go to card. 

 

PRG - Haven't added him. Not a real reason to. I use it or RC for restaurants, but I don't stress over the extra .5MR above him using the EDP. 

 

Somewhere in here I removed him as an AU from my Slate (no reason to have an AU on a BT card) and me from his Discover (same reason...we spend on my Discover). 

 

As I have several 0% things ending this year and all will not be paid off, I'm trying to position things so that for a while, my credit will carry the load and he'll apply for something for 0% to take it back. 

Entered the Garden 6/11/18
Message 1 of 24
23 REPLIES
Super Contributor

Re: Couples - Whether to AU or not


TortoiseWins wrote:

How do you decide whether to have one partner be an AU on the other partner's card? 

Is it bi-directional? (sometimes you're an AU on theirs, sometimes they're an AU on yours)

Has this changed since you've become 'interested' in credit? 

 

Here's my story: 

For the first many years of our relationship, my credit was better than DH's. I've also got an overall longer history and was working at my career for longer. Thus, he was often an AU and I was primary. This is also because I've the numbers/bills/money person 99% of the time (I think we tried a few months with him in charge, or maybe it was just a dream/nightmare). There was a short stretch where his credit was better and he was primary and I was secondary and we've got one or two cards that way. It never dawned on me NOT to add him and vice versa. 

 

Then I found this site. For the first few cards we got (BCP, SM, A+, Discover) we still added each other without a lot of thought. But by the time a few months had passed, I realized that this is a decision to be made on each new tradeline individually. I also became hesitant to add him once the Chase 5/24 rule started floating around on the chance that we want a CSP (still not 100% if AU's do or don't count, most recently I read they don't). After that epiphany, we've done this:

 

Cash+ - Didn't add him mostly because he's not great with rotating categories and remembering what to use. I've usually kept categories where I spend or where if he wants something, it's not a hassle for me to buy the whateveritis for him or with him. I'll probably be adding him because I never carry a balance and it'll be a util pad for him and alleviate that hassle if he does want something.

 

RC and Hyatt - Didn't add him because I don't see him using the cards alone. Again, thinking of adding him since I don't carry a balance. Util padding. And if AU's don't count for 5/24 there's no reason not to. 

 

DCU Visa - It was pre-approved on my account. I accepted it thinking that I'll use it to move 0% stuff that expires before I get it paid off if necessary and THAT's a really good thing to only be on one of our CRs. 

 

Nasa PLOC - Didn't add him. Same reasoning as DCU Visa. 

 

Plat (His) - Not going to pay for me to be AU. He got the 100k offer. It's not a 'spending' card. 

 

EDP - He IS an AU - Groceries, his gas, and much non-cat spend. His go to card. 

 

PRG - Haven't added him. Not a real reason to. I use it or RC for restaurants, but I don't stress over the extra .5MR above him using the EDP. 

 

Somewhere in here I removed him as an AU from my Slate (no reason to have an AU on a BT card) and me from his Discover (same reason...we spend on my Discover). 

 

As I have several 0% things ending this year and all will not be paid off, I'm trying to position things so that for a while, my credit will carry the load and he'll apply for something for 0% to take it back. 


From a relationship standpoint, I think it's best not to. Could lead to unwelcome discussions, animosity. People otherwise compatible often have different attitudes & problems on the subject of credit.

 

From a credit standpoint, I also think it's best not to. If one person's credit gets into trouble why drag down the other's? You may need that good credit.


FICO8 EQ 743 TU 777 EX 752 Total revolving limits 618800 (508800 reporting)
Message 2 of 24
Regular Contributor

Re: Couples - Whether to AU or not

Different couples will have different reasons.  My wife has her own cards (Amex PRG, CSP, BoA Cash Rewards, a few store cards) and she is AU on my Marriott and Citi Prestige.  In both cases, it allows us to maximize the benefits.  She stays in hotels for work without me, and the card gives us silver status with the 20% bump in points plus an extra 5 points; usually works out to 17 Marriott points per dollar, and it's pretty much all that card is used for.  Also allows us to consolidate our Marriott points in my account, rather than in two separate accounts.  The Citi Prestige gives her Priority Pass for $50 and allows us to maximize TY point earnings when looking to buy AA tix.

 

My 15 y.o. daughter is an authorized user on my CSP.  My text alerts are set at $1 transactions, and my daughter knows this.  She has never failed to ask to use it.

 

I am not AU on any cards.

 

I think there are certainly couples who shouldn't share credit cards, e.g., if one is responsible and one isn't.  No sense in the responsible partner having his/her credit trashed by the other partner.  Some folks just shouldn't have credit cards.

 

FICO Scores (MARCH 2016): EQ 829; EX 825; TU 828
AmEx BCP $25,000; AmEx Platinum (NPSL); Barclaycard JetBlue Rewards $5,000; Bank of America Cash Rewards $27,500; Chase Sapphire Preferred $33,700; Chase Marriott Rewards Premier $15,000; Chase Freedom $12,000; Citi Prestige $30,500; Virgin America Premium $25,000; The Home Depot Card $20,500; Capital One Platinum $15,000
Message 3 of 24
Frequent Contributor

Re: Couples - Whether to AU or not

 

Wow, you guys put A LOT of thought on these AU issues.  DH and I have our own credit cards for our frivolous spending and we share two:  one with 2% cash back for everyday household expenses, one with no foreign transaction fees when we travel.  For these two, I am an AU because my reports are frozen and I don't want to hassle with lifting a freeze to get new cards.  We also use DH's card with 3% back on restaurants so he's the one who pays when we eat out (which is fine with me Smiley Wink). 

 

Message 4 of 24
Epic Contributor

Re: Couples - Whether to AU or not

I think you story is similar to my partner and I and now with both of us having more credit than we really need we tend not to add each other to cards we get any more unless it's going to be our daily use card... but I have actually removed myself and him from MANY cards... I even ordered additional gas cards for a 2nd car vs adding him to the account because i don't want that small limit on his report or a new account for a gas card!

Message 5 of 24
Senior Contributor

Re: Couples - Whether to AU or not


Creditaddict wrote:

I think you story is similar to my partner and I and now with both of us having more credit than we really need we tend not to add each other to cards we get any more unless it's going to be our daily use card... but I have actually removed myself and him from MANY cards... I even ordered additional gas cards for a 2nd car vs adding him to the account because i don't want that small limit on his report or a new account for a gas card!


The first part is the short version of my story, yes. The second/bolded part - very interesting idea! Maybe that would be a good way to get DH to know what gas card to use at any given time without worrying about the cards in his wallet. Just stash whichever card he should use in his car.  Thanks! 

Entered the Garden 6/11/18
Message 6 of 24
Epic Contributor

Re: Couples - Whether to AU or not

Yeah our gas cards stay in the cars and we use them because we are in a place that charges cash vs credit pricing and it's about $.10 cent difference per gallon and the gas cad counts as cash price play usually another $.5 cents or so like 76 gas.
Message 7 of 24
Senior Contributor

Re: Couples - Whether to AU or not


Creditaddict wrote:
Yeah our gas cards stay in the cars and we use them because we are in a place that charges cash vs credit pricing and it's about $.10 cent difference per gallon and the gas cad counts as cash price play usually another $.5 cents or so like 76 gas.

We've got a Chevron card (where we usually get gas when not Costco) but with the price of gas in CA, the category cards for gas pretty much are always a better deal even when there's a .10 gallon CC surcharge : whether rotating (now discover with double cash) or SM and even EDP (depending on how one values MR). It's close enough at 5% to have DH use the EDP, but at 10%, I'd REALLY like him using Discover. 

Entered the Garden 6/11/18
Message 8 of 24
Moderator

Re: Couples - Whether to AU or not

I think this really depends on the individual situation, including both the accounts involved and the attitudes and histories of the people involved.

 

There are people in my own family who have everything 'combined' as much as possible, and it has worked quite well for many years (even decades).  I also have other people in my family where it would be disastrous to combine finances any more than absolutely required.

 

Based on what TortoiseWins' has told us, it would seem she has her own situation fine-tuned to near perfection for her circumstances.  That would be my own goal as well... to take my own specifics into account and have everything optimized as much as possible.

 

I'll add that once you get older, having a spouse on your accounts as an AU makes it a bit easier for them to help out with the accounts in the event you become unable to handle things yourself (severe loss of hearing, hospitalization, etc.)  It's not a substitute for a POA, but it's better than having a relative of the same sex as your spouse have to call in their place, which some of my own relatives have resorted to in the past (yes, I'm aware there are serious issues with this, but at the time it was the simplest way, and it was effective). 

Message 9 of 24
Senior Contributor

Re: Couples - Whether to AU or not


UncleB wrote:

I think this really depends on the individual situation, including both the accounts involved and the attitudes and histories of the people involved.

 

There are people in my own family who have everything 'combined' as much as possible, and it has worked quite well for many years (even decades).  I also have other people in my family where it would be disastrous to combine finances any more than absolutely required.

 

Based on what TortoiseWins' has told us, it would seem she has her own situation fine-tuned to near perfection for her circumstances.  That would be my own goal as well... to take my own specifics into account and have everything optimized as much as possible.

 

I'll add that once you get older, having a spouse on your accounts as an AU makes it a bit easier for them to help out with the accounts in the event you become unable to handle things yourself (severe loss of hearing, hospitalization, etc.)  It's not a substitute for a POA, but it's better than having a relative of the same sex as your spouse have to call in their place, which some of my own relatives have resorted to in the past (yes, I'm aware there are serious issues with this, but at the time it was the simplest way, and it was effective). 


Yeah, it's another (related) reason I prefer DH to get cards with certain lenders: those with robust chat. Much easier to chat on his accounts than to get him to call. If Barclay had chat, I'd probably be less down on SM. I can chat to get things done with Amex and Discover. It's one reason I haven't pushed for him to open any Chase accounts. 

Entered the Garden 6/11/18
Message 10 of 24