Joint credit cards and other such shenanigans

Ah, credit cards. Love ’em or hate ’em, there are times when they are just an outright necessity.

Before we left on our big RTW trip, getting a credit card organised for T was one of the many annoying things we had to do. He’s the driver in our pairing (I hate driving and don’t have my full licence) but had never had a credit card of his own. He didn’t go to uni, so he never had banks offering him sweet deals on overdrafts and credit cards on campus during orientation.

Ironically, as it turned out, he didn’t even need it. Yes, car rental companies require you to show a credit card in the name of the driver when you turn up, but we prebooked through CarHirePlanet, which took a small deposit early on and then charged the full amount a couple of weeks before pickup, strangely. I had used my credit card to make the booking, so at no point was any part of the rental charged to his. And of course, when we picked up the car there was no balance owing, and the terms of the booking meant we were fully insured with a zero excess so even if we had an accident there would be nothing to pay.

When we popped over to Australia last week, although I booked through the same site, things were categorically different with this particular Cairns rental company. The excess would be $3300 (yikes) and payment was to be made on pickup using a card in the driver’s name. Debit cards incurred an extra fee and of course require you to actually have the full amount available in your account. It’s one thing to have a few grand of credit placed on hold; another entirely when it’s a few grand of your own cash being held hostage.

We’d cancelled his credit card when we got back to NZ, and with so little time before we actually left for Australia (last minute trip!) and the fact he’s currently between jobs, the odds of him getting a credit card with a high enough limit were not looking good.

The solution: an additional credit card for him linked to my Visa. This is different from a joint credit card – this means as the primary card holder I remain responsible for the account. The process was relatively quick and easy and his card arrived just in time a couple of days before we departed.

While I’m not loving the idea of paying another $12 in annual fees for his card, you never know when you might need it – and I reckon it’s easier to have one on hand than to find yourself scrambling for one. We’ll probably keep this one this time around.

Do you have a shared or joint credit card with your partner?

7 thoughts on “Joint credit cards and other such shenanigans

  • Reply Sweet Mama M April 28, 2014 at 07:22

    We have exactly the same thing here. When Papa M swapped banks when we merged finances, it just made more sense for us to share a card than for him to establish one of his own. We pay it off in full every month and he has his own account for discretionary spending (with Visa Debit) so it works fine.

  • Reply Kara April 28, 2014 at 07:22

    I’m the secondary user on Kyle’s Visa – a decision we made after a lot of thinking. I’ve yet to cancel my personal card, but all of our purchases are now on one bill. The only frustrating thing is when we do birthday or holiday shopping – it’s hard to hide presents when your SO looks at the statement!

  • Reply save. spend. splurge. April 28, 2014 at 08:42

    You have to pay for credit cards!? Or additional users!?!?

    I tried to get BF to be an additional user on my card so that he would collect rewards when buying joint items but he hates using cards so I ended up canceling him as a user.

  • Reply Nell @ The Million Dollar Diva April 28, 2014 at 21:08

    I’m currently trying to work out whether I should let my boyfriend get a spare card for my credit card when we travel overseas. He currently doesn’t have a credit card, or even a savings account and as he’s out of work right now I’m not sure if he’d get approved for one.

    I didn’t even think about needing one for car hire too – that’s a good tip.

  • Reply Kassandra April 29, 2014 at 08:11

    Both the DH and I have our own credit cards and we have the other as an additional card user.
    We use one of the cards as our main one for monthly spending and to earn serious reward points. We each have another card that we use for our own personal spending/gifts.

  • Reply SP April 30, 2014 at 07:56

    Yes. All of ours use the authorized user model, for no real reason other than simplicity. I’m not sure that you can get one where both parties are responsible. You probably can, I guess, but I don’t think it is as common. We had 2 joint cards, with each of us being an authorized user on the other. We’ve changed things recently, but we both have established good credit, so it isn’t as important.

  • Reply Newlyweds on a Budget May 1, 2014 at 04:31

    I’ve found joint credit cards to be a hassle to apply for. So eric has a card in his name where I’m an authorized user, and I have a card in my name where he’s an authorized user. It works for us.

    We have super high limits on both of them though (well, super high for us). We’ve never even gotten close to the limit, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

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