The Pros and Cons of Joint Credit Cards

The Pros and Cons of Joint Credit CardsWhat are the pros and cons of having joint credit cards? It may be a joint account with a spouse or partner, a sibling or a child. In these relationships, it seems normal or natural to share a credit card. Generally, there are two different scenarios of sharing a credit card.

A second person can be added to an existing account. This authorized user is not responsible for making payments on the account, but can make charges. The second way is making the person a joint account holder. In this scenario, the second account holder is liable for making payments on the account.

While merging accounts may seem natural in certain situations, there are several things to think about and discuss before making that decision. One thing to remember- if you’re not sure that you’re ready to take the leap into joint credit cards, you can always go the prepaid card route like the REACH card- it’s the safe way to share and transfer.

Pros

One of the main pros of a joint credit card is the consolidation of bills. Rather than having numerous credit card bills, you can receive a single bill for two cards. Consolidation of many bills such as utility, rent or mortgage bills makes sense and can help you maintain and even enhance your household budget.

You’ll be able to keep track of spending habits via a joint account. Each month’s bill can provide a snapshot picture of individual spending habits and enable you and the joint owner to discuss these expenditures. In addition, if spending limits and purchase agreements have been discussed and agreed upon, a joint account may alleviate having to contact the other individual when making a purchase. By not having to discuss splitting the cost of an item on each purchase, both individuals can feel comfortable making purchases.

Cons

On the other hand, there are several negative reasons against joint credit cards. For instance, if there has been no prior discussion about spending limits on the credit cards, one person may go over the credit limit of the card without realizing that this has occurred. This may happen when both people use the card without discussing a large purchase that brings the card to its spending limit.

Also, purchasing privacy with joint credit cards may be compromised. Since each individual will probably be able to view the monthly bill, all purchases can be scrutinized. While this may not seem too negative, perhaps one individual would like to purchase a special gift without his or her partner knowing, having a joint account could preclude such a surprise gift.

The most important to joint credit card accounts is that both parties discuss all the pros and cons and have an open and honest discussion before signing up for that joint account. This discussion will probably eliminate any negative harm—in credit ratings or relationship security.