Yes and no. You certainly don’t want to use a stranger’s credit card, as that’s a crime. And you technically aren’t allowed to use a credit card that isn’t your own under any circumstances. Practically speaking, however, you shouldn’t run into any problems if you’re using a friend or family member’s plastic with their permission – as long as you’re the same gender.
Most merchants simply do not check customers’ IDs to verify that they match the name on the credit card. The one exception to this is when a credit card is unsigned or reads, “See ID,” on the signature panel. This might spur the merchant to request identification. They are not allowed to decline transactions due to a lack of ID when the card is signed, though.
So, as long as you exercise good judgment in choosing who to lend your card to and regularly monitor your account, you should be fine if you ask your child or a friend to run into a store and make a small purchase while you’re waiting in the car, for example.
Doing so doesn’t break the law; it just violates card network rules. And there’s a reason for that. Anytime your credit card is out of your direct control, it is theoretically more susceptible to fraud since you don’t 100% know how it’s handled while out of your sight. If potential fraud ever crops up on your account, it will be more difficult to determine if the charge was authorized and you may effectively have to lie to the card issuer.
With that being said, there’s a viable, above-board alternative to sharing your physical credit card – though it applies more to family members than friends. Making a relative an authorized user on your credit card will give them spending privileges for when they need it as well as help them build credit.