Can I Get An Authorized User Removed From My Credit Report?

Screen shot 2013-05-14 at 1.45.07 PMI’ve written often about the benefit of being an authorized user on a parent or loved one’s credit card as a strategy for building or rebuilding credit reports and credit scores. Despite what some pretend financial experts suggest, being an authorized user on a credit card is a GREAT (Yes, I wrote “GREAT”) way for you to build credit. Here’s a question I received about getting off of a credit card as an authorized user if the primary cardholder starts to mismanage the account.

“John, I added my son as an authorized user on a Visa many years ago so he would have a credit card to use at college. I lost my job last year and had to stop making payments on some loans. I also stopped paying the credit card. Is there any way to get the card off my son’s credit reports?”

The answer is yes, you can get that credit card off your son’s credit reports. That’s one of the primary benefits of the authorized user strategy. It’s like having a credit card with training wheels.

Do you have an authorized user account that needs to be removed? Click here to see your updated credit report and check for yourself.

First off, the primary cardholder needs to contact the credit card issuer and remove the authorized user from the account. Once he or she has been removed the process of removing the card from their credit reports has begun. The next step is for the authorized user to contact the credit reporting agencies and let them know that they have been removed from the card and to please have the account removed from the credit report.

Give them 30 days to complete their work and they’ll send you a letter summarizing their actions.

logoRemember, and this is important, once the account is removed you will lose ALL benefit of ever being an authorized user. Credit scores do not have a memory so whatever it looked like when it was still on your credit reports will be forgotten. Obviously, if the account is delinquent or heavily leveraged then it could be hurting your credit scores. Having it removed could result in an increase in your credit scores but that’s not a guarantee. The payment history of an account is extremely important in both your FICO and VantageScore credit scores, as is the debt-to-limit ratio measurements.

If you’re removing one bad account and there are still negative items left behind then don’t bank on a better credit score. Negative information doesn’t have discreet value so you won’t “get” X number of points just because you had something bad removed from your credit reports. Be reasonable and realistic.

Do you have an authorized user account that needs to be removed? Click here to see your updated credit report and check for yourself.

JRU on 60 Mins SetCredit Reporting Expert, John Ulzheimer, is the President of Consumer Education at SmartCredit.com, the credit blogger for Mint.com, founder of www.creditexpertwitness.com and a Contributor for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.  He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. Formerly of FICO, Equifax and Credit.com, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry.  You can follow John on Twitter here

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