The Pros and Cons of a Joint Credit Card

Learn all the pros and cons of having a joint credit card.

Updated: May 18, 2024
Matt Crabtree

Written By

Matt Crabtree

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You may consider getting a joint credit card with your partner or another household member; a joint account can make household spending much more accessible.

There are many elements to having a joint account and plenty of benefits, such as improving your own credit history and theirs.

If you're in the UK, you should know that only one person can be the primary cardholder of a credit card account. You and the person you want to open a joint credit card account must choose one account holder.

You can get multiple cards issued so you both can use the credit balance. So naturally, sharing a credit card account comes with a lot of trust with the person you want to share credit with. 

In this article, you'll learn all about joint credit cards, the pros and cons and other joint financial products available.

What is a Joint Credit Card?

Joint credit cards work in the same way as traditional credit cards. However, the account is shared by two people. Both the primary cardholder and the second person on the account get their own card attached to the credit account.

In the UK, credit card companies only allow one individual to own credit card accounts. However, once your account application is accepted, you can have additional cardholders and share the credit limit and responsibility for spending and repaying the balance on time.

It's important to note that since the second cardholder isn't officially on any documents, there isn't equal responsibility. The cardholder on the account is legally responsible for monthly repayments and any charges.

Suppose you're anywhere else in the world. In that case, you may still be able to apply for joint credit cards to which you'll have equal access and responsibility. Both individual credit scores and credit histories determine credit limits on joint credit cards.

Pros and Cons of Joint Credit Card Account

Like any line of credit, there are pros and cons, and joint credit cards are no different. This section explores all the pros and cons so you know what you’re getting into before searching for a credit card. 

Pros

✔️ Access to a higher credit rating: If you or the person you want to have a joint credit card with has a poor credit history or a lower credit score and the other has a more positive credit file, you can choose the person with the better credit history to be the main cardholder with the account in their name. Having someone with a good credit score means you'll be more likely to be accepted for the credit card, and you may be offered higher credit limits.

✔️ Consolidated rewards: Most credit cards offer rewards for spending, and if there are multiple cardholders, you have more chances of earning double the rewards because there'll probably be double the spending.

✔️ Accessibility and convenience: Using a single credit card account to make your purchases is easier if you both have your own card. You don't have to be without your credit card so both cardholders can make purchases whenever.

✔️ Safety net for emergencies: A joint credit card is ideal if an emergency occurs; instead of applying for a loan, you can use a credit card to cover the cost.

✔️ Budgeting: Having one account where you make household purchases is excellent for budgeting. You can keep track of your spending habits on one card and stick to your monthly budget.

✔️ Improve credit scores: Using a credit card to make purchases and paying it back on time helps improve your credit rating. If you're outside the UK, a joint credit card will help improve both the primary cardholder and co-signer's credit scores.

Cons

❌️ Individual credit impact: The joint account holder is legally responsible for financial responsibility. So, if you both have a hard time making monthly payments and have missed payments, the person's name on the credit could fall into debt, negatively impacting their credit scores. In contrast, an additional cardholder's credit score will be unscathed.

❌️ Financial disputes or separation: To borrow money from another person takes a lot of trust, as whoever is the main cardholder, all the debt stays in their name. So, if you fight or break up with a person, there may be issues with both parties repaying any remaining balance.

❌️ Limited control: If you're the additional cardholder, you have little control over the overall joint credit card account. Only the authorised user can apply for a credit limit increase or change cardholders and agree to credit card terms. You need permission from the authorised user to access the card online account.

❌️ You may not be accepted: if you already have an existing credit card account, you may not be accepted for another credit card. If you don't pay off the balance on an existing credit card, you could build up debt, and getting another credit card may not be the best idea. Consider debt consolidation options if you’re considering getting a credit card to help reduce debt.

Other Joint Financial Products That are Available

Don't be disheartened about not being able to use both of your names on a joint credit card. There are other options available to you that allow you to open up accounts in both of your names.

Other joint finance options:

  • Mortgages: If you need money to finance buying a house, a mortgage usually requires two people to cosign the agreement. Although single people can get a mortgage, it's generally easier for couples.
  • Joint bank accounts: Joint bank accounts are common for roommates or partners who share a house. You can get a joint bank account to pay into and pay all your bills and household needs. A joint bank account is ideal for budgeting and tracking household spending.
  • Joint savings accounts: A joint savings account works in the same way a joint bank account does. Two or more people can pay into a savings account and withdraw the money whenever they want.

A Joint Credit Card: The Verdict

Although there can't be multiple account holders on a joint credit card, you can both own a credit card attached to the same credit card account. You can spend the credit balance and work together to make monthly payments.

Before you go, just remember if you’ve got a bad credit score, you may want to consider asking your partner or co-signer to apply for the credit card instead if they’ve got a good credit rating. The better your credit history, the more likely you will be accepted for a new credit card.

Related Guides:

FAQs

Can I Have a Joint Credit Card with My Partner?

Is Joint Credit Better Than Single?

Can a Credit Card Account Be in Joint Names?

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