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Should I get a joint credit card to help my husband build his credit?

By , CardRatings contributor
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Question: I'm considering getting a joint credit card to help my husband build his credit. Any advice?

Answer: Before you commit to a joint account, there are some legal issues you need to be aware of. It's true that being a joint account holder can help build a credit history. Assuming you have a good credit history, your husband may be able to get a credit card at a lower interest rate than he'd be able to on his own. The credit card issuer will look at both of your incomes and both of your credit histories when you make a joint application.

But there's a potential downside. Having a joint account means that if your husband goes wild with his credit card and spends to the credit limit, you're both liable for the debt. If he can't make the payments, you'll have to pay the bills. Likewise, if you max out the card or make late payments. it will affect his credit score.

There's also the sticky issue of what happens if you split up. Hey, I'm not trying to start any trouble here! But you need to know that in the event of a divorce, you'll remain liable for any spending sprees you husband goes on with your joint card.

If your relationship is solid and you're sure that you'll both be responsible with the card, getting a joint credit card to help your husband might work. Another option is to suggest your husband get a secured card so he can get used to having credit. There are also unsecured credit cards available for those with limited or no credit history.

It's nice you want to help your husband build a credit history. Just be sure you know what you're getting into.

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