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Added January 27, 2011 from: Beverly Blair Harzog
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Answered By Beverly Blair Harzog:
Once you're approved for a credit card, you can ask your card issuer to add your husband as an authorized user. Legally, as an authorized user, your husband will be allowed to use the card, but your actions won't affect his credit score. On the other hand, his actions will affect you. You will be legally responsible for paying all of his debts.

This scenario often works well when one of the spouses has a better credit rating than the other one. This appears to be the case in your situation. So you can be the one to apply for a credit card. Between the two of you, you'll get approved for a credit card that offers a better interest rate and terms. When you add your husband as an authorized user, you both benefit from the lower rate and from better terms.

Will this help your husband's credit rating? A few years ago, there was some controversy about whether authorized users should be allowed to improve their credit score if they were diligent cardholders. The controversy occurred because some people took advantage of this situation. FICO has tried to address the issue, but it's unclear if authorized users can always expect to enhance their FICO score. The best way to answer this question is to call your card issuer and ask if they report the credit history of authorized users.

To protect your relationship, set clear expectations from the start. Have a credit card budget in place so sharing the account won't have a negative impact on your marriage. But, hey, if it does affect your marriage, it's easier to cut off an authorized user than it is to get out of a joint account arrangement. When it's a joint account, you both remain legally responsible for paying the debt.

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