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Get Added As An Authorized User

A "piggybacker," more commonly known as an "authorized user," is a person permitted to use a credit card by a primary cardholder who maintains responsibility for all debt on the card, regardless of who makes the charged. Authorized users are typically -- though not always, as you'll see -- a spouse, partner, child, relative or friend of the primary account holder.

The term "piggybacking" refers to the way in which the entire credit history of an account is not only included in the primary cardholder's credit report and score, but also becomes part of the authorized user's report and score. This happens whether the card is actually used by the authorized user or not.

In recent years, piggybacking has become one of the more popular, and at the same time controversial, ways of building credit for someone who is either new to credit or recovering from financial setbacks. Popular, due to the ease with which an authorized user can be added to an account no credit requirements and the immediate scoring benefit that can be realized from the primary cardholder's (hopefully) positive credit history. Controversial, in that someone who has not used, not managed, or has even misused credit in the past, can reap the scoring benefit of a seasoned and well-managed card without having truly don't anything to earn the additional scoring points that can accompany the account.

For example, a young person piggybacking on a parent's long-held and well maintained card can, without having any credit of her own, achieve a very good credit score based on a credit history older that she!

But, the piggybacking picture is not all win-win for authorized users.

Since the card history -- good or bad -- is included in the authorized user's credit report and credit score, it behooves the authorized user to make sure the card is always paid on time and maintains low credit utilization (card balance/limit percentage). Otherwise, piggybacking could backfire and result in a worse credit score that you'd have without being an authorized user on the card.

Fortunately, should you discover that the primary account holder is not managing the account to your liking, you can have yourself removed from the account -- preferably by having the primary account holder contact the lender -- and have it removed from your credit report by disputing it as "not mine" with the credit bureaus.

in an attempt to head off such piggybacking abuse, the FICO 8 credit score, launched in 2009, initially excluded accounts held as an authorized user from scoring. FICO quickly reversed course, however, and went back to allowing piggybacking in scores -- but with an adjustment to generate fewer points for accounts held as an authorized user than as a primary account holder. It had become apparent to FICO that the price for discouraging piggybacking abuse by a relative few would be the denial of honestly-earned credit history for millions of legitimate authorized users --most often the spouses of primary cardholders who use and manage these accounts no differently than those in the primary role.

If your parents or anyone else you know has good credit have them add you to the card.

You consider the authorized user option as an easy-implement, minimal risk way to build or rebuild credit

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