I am an authorized user on three credit cards with my partner of 10 years, however we are not married. I would like to assume this debt in full as my own. Each card is under $1,000 or just slightly over. We paid and were current until about a year ago when we both lost our jobs. I would like to know if this can be done and if so how I would go about doing it?
You have two options for assuming the exclusive liability for a credit card debt where you are one of several authorized users on the account.
Call a customer service representative at your credit card issuer and explain that you want to take all liability for the account. In other words, you want the account in your name alone. This is a common occurrence caused by authorized users parting ways, kids becoming old enough to take an account on their own, or other reasons. You will not be the first person the card issuer talks to that day about changing an account’s ownership.
One important note this process: If the account you are changing is your oldest, ask the customer service person if there is a way to tie the new account to the old account in the report the issuer makes to the consumer credit reporting agencies. Your oldest account is significant because it sets the starting point of your credit history, and the length of your credit history makes up 15% of your FICO score.
Your other option is to find a new credit card issuer that allows balance transfers from other accounts. Apply in your name alone, and if the card issuer approves, then transfer a balance or several balances from your joint accounts into your a solo account.
There are two advantages of a balance transfer. First, your opening a new account may boost your credit score over the medium and long term. This is because you expand the size of your overall available credit. Second, some card issuers offer a grace period on interest charges for transferred balances. Do not, however, become tempted to play the balance transfer game.
Call your card issuer and learn if you qualify for an account on your own. If you do, then at least you have that option available to you. If you do not qualify, it may be due to a low credit score. If your score is problematic, see the Bills.com article 7 Steps to Improve Your Credit Score.
If you don’t qualify because you do not have an income, then you and the other authorized user are stuck in your existing credit card contracts until you do. If do not qualify because your debt-t0-income ratio is too high, then you should consider your debt resolution options.
I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.