Joint credit cards

From Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Primary cardholders

You’re the primary cardholder if you apply for a credit card and your name is on the credit card agreement. You must be the legal age of majority in your province or territory to be a primary cardholder.

As a primary cardholder, you:

  • may add and remove additional cardholders and authorized users to your card at any time
  • are responsible for paying your credit card balance, that is, the money you owe on your credit card

Any purchases made by an additional cardholder or authorized user will appear on your monthly statement. If you’re the primary cardholder, you’re ultimately responsible for paying for these purchases.

Additional cardholders and authorized users

If you’re an additional cardholder or authorized user on a credit card, you get a credit card that is linked to the primary cardholder’s account. This card allows you to make purchases and use the account like the primary cardholder. Some credit card issuer's will allow an authorized user to be under the age of majority.

If you’re an additional cardholder, keep in mind:

  • the credit card account belongs to the primary cardholder
  • you may not be responsible for paying back any money owing on the credit card account
  • any purchases you make using the card won't help you build your credit history

Co-borrowers or co-applicants

Some credit card issuers will allow you and another person to apply for a credit card together. Co-applicants are called co-borrowers in credit card agreements. Co-borrowers will have access to the credit card account and are equally responsible for any money owing on the account.

If you’re a co-borrower and you’re dealing with a federally regulated financial institution such as a bank, you must receive certain disclosure information about the account.

Guarantors

Someone who normally would not qualify for a credit card may be able to get one with the help of a guarantor.

A guarantor does not have access to the credit card account but is ultimately responsible for any unpaid debts on the account.

Guarantors are often the parent or guardian of a minor.

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