Joint Credit Card Question - Talk About Marriage
Financial Problems in Marriage When financial times are tough, it adds to the stress we deal with on a daily basis. This section is for talking about how financial problems affect our relationships and ways to cope.

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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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Joint Credit Card Question

Is there a way to find out any joint credit cards that I might have forgotten I have with my significant other?

What's the best way to close joint credit card accounts? Should I just have the joint accounts closed, or should I just call the credit card company and ask for my name to be removed?

Will my credit score be hurt if I have my name removed from a joint credit card account? In addition, will my credit card score be hurt if I have the accounts closed?

Thanks

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 12:24 PM
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Re: Joint Credit Card Question

A credit report will show all of your accounts, active or not. You cannot close an account if you are not the primary cardholder, but you can request that you be removed from the account. If you are primary, you can remove your spouse if you want to keep the account - I think you'd have to retrieve any cards she has, though, unless the number is different and can be shut off separately. Closing accounts can sometimes be a negative for credit scores, as it reduces the amount of credit available to you, which can be seen as a lack of credit-worthiness and make getting new accounts harder. It is better to have multiple accounts but very low usage and no late payments. It is better to just remove your spouse, take yourself off any accounts where she is primary, and then not use accounts you don't need.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 12:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Joint Credit Card Question

@Married but Happy thanks.
I am sure my W is the primary credit card holder. Perhaps I will have to tell her I want my name taken off the joint accounts... then she will ask me why... what the heck am I going to say? lol
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 12:29 PM
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 12:32 PM
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Re: Joint Credit Card Question

You don't have to ask her or tell her anything - just call the company and tell them to remove you. If they have specific requirements or procedures, they will let you know. Removing you from the account may not remove you from liability for paying for any debts on the card - most states will consider this a joint responsibility, and your liability may only end for new charges once you file for divorce (but you'll need an attorney to advise you because state laws vary).

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Joint Credit Card Question

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@blueinbr thank you.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Joint Credit Card Question

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Originally Posted by Married but Happy View Post
You don't have to ask her or tell her anything - just call the company and tell them to remove you. If they have specific requirements or procedures, they will let you know. Removing you from the account may not remove you from liability for paying for any debts on the card - most states will consider this a joint responsibility, and your liability may only end for new charges once you file for divorce (but you'll need an attorney to advise you because state laws vary).
Thanks. I'm the spender in the family so she should be relieved I want the accounts separated.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 01:20 PM
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Re: Joint Credit Card Question

You can open your own account anytime so that you can start building a credit history. You will need it for an apartment.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Joint Credit Card Question

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You can open your own account anytime so that you can start building a credit history. You will need it for an apartment.
I have excellent credit. My credit score is higher than my wife's.

And I also have my own accounts. I just opened another personal credit card account. I am going to do all my spending on that account from now on.

I'm going to have to tell my wife I want our joint credit cards either closed or have my name taken off the accounts.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 01:43 PM
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Re: Joint Credit Card Question

If you have a joint account, either can close the account. I suppose it may differ from bank to bank. I did this many months ago. Ex opened and I was the joint account holder. I was able to completely close the account.

If you are an authorized user, then only the the main account holder can close the account. However, you can call and have your name removed.

It may or may not hurt your credit score. It depends on the ages of the credit cards and your balance to available credit ratio.

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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Joint Credit Card Question

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If you have a joint account, either can close the account. I suppose it may differ from bank to bank. I did this many months ago. Ex opened and I was the joint account holder. I was able to completely close the account.

If you are an authorized user, then only the the main account holder can close the account. However, you can call and have your name removed.

It may or may not hurt your credit score. It depends on the ages of the credit cards and your balance to available credit ratio.
@prunus That's good to know. That's exactly what I wanted to know. Thanks.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-15-2017, 05:56 PM
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Re: Joint Credit Card Question

If you are concerned your wife may be suspicious or hurt by you coming off the accounts, approach it as part of an overall simplification process. Tell her you want to get rid of old accounts you don't use, reduce the number of credit cards you have, and since you are a spender you want to reduce your temptations.

Get a credit report for you and another for your wife. Those will show all your accounts including closed accounts (going back a few years or so, not forever). Use this as the template for deciding which accounts to close or take your name off of.

Your credit score depends on a lot of factors, and I'm not sure it is made public how they do it. In general though my understanding is they do look at how much unused credit you have out there. This is a potential negative because you could run up all those accounts to the max and be in trouble. If you have, for example, $50k of credit available on credit cards but keep a zero balance, it could hurt your ability to get a car loan because they worry you could then max out the $50k on the credit cards, too! Even though you are responsible and have a zero balance, it can hurt to have all that credit available.

On the other hand, if you have a small amount of total credit available, say $4000, and you are maxed out then it looks like you are perhaps not so responsible. So they may not want to give you more credit. There is some balance of how much credit you have available vs how much you are using, all of which is referenced against your income and your payment history.

On top of all that, you may or may not have any credit score impact if you are an approved user on your wife's credit cards. If the cards are on her own account, and if that account is not in your name at all, it may not reflect on you at all. So taking your name off of your wife's cards probably won't impact your credit score at all.

If cards are in a joint account then yes both of you will see it on your credit report and it will affect your credit score.

As far as disentangling yourself from your wife financially, it really doesn't do anything to take your name off of her credit cards. As long as you don't use those cards then you have no obligation to reimburse her for whatever you bought. However, from a legal standpoint you may both be fully liable for each other's debts (depends on the state you live in). So if one of you runs up big debt, both of you may be responsible to pay it. But your name on her card doesn't affect that at all.

However, if she is on some of your cards which are on accounts in only your name, she can run up your credit card and harm you. It would be more important to get her removed as an authorized user of your cards than to get you removed from her cards. But that move would signal perhaps a plan to divorce or separate. If you are ready to file for separation or divorce, just be ready to go to the bank and get your current cards changed and her name taken off. They can issue you a new card on your existing account with a new number, making the old card she has in her wallet unusable.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 02-10-2017, 06:40 PM
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Re: Joint Credit Card Question

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