Be Careful Giving Credit Piggyback Rides

Physician's Money Digest, November 2006, Volume 13, Issue 11

Washington Post

Physicians are used to being sympathetictoward their patients. But where moneyis concerned, sympathy can land you in anuncomfortable situation. According to anarticle in the , piggybackingrefers to letting someone who is incredit trouble sign on as an authorized useron one of your credit cards so they canrebuild their credit by using your goodcredit history. If someone wants to helpimprove their own credit history, thenbecoming an authorized user on a wisely-usedcard (ie, one that has a long record ofbeing paid on time and with a low balance)can help their credit score considerably.Also, the authorized user's bad credit historyhas no impact on the credit reports ofthe cardholder. However, helping someoneout by signing them as an authorized useron your card can put you at risk if they runup charges and fail to pay their debt. If thathappens, you're ultimately liable for thecharges as the primary cardholder. To avoidthis, have the authorized user piggybackonto a card with a low credit limit, sospending doesn't get out of control andbecome a problem.