You certainly can’t use someone else’s credit card without permission. That’s fraud, which is a crime. And you technically aren’t allowed to use a credit card that isn’t your own under any circumstances. But in reality, you shouldn’t run into any problems if you’re using a friend’s or family member’s credit card with their permission. That’s especially true if you’re the same gender.
Most merchants simply don’t compare the names on their customers’ IDs and credit cards to confirm they match. A credit card whose signature panel is unsigned or reads, “See ID,” might arouse some suspicion, though. And the merchant could request identification as a result. But merchants are not allowed to decline transactions due to a lack of ID when the card is signed.
It’s a similar story for a child using a parent’s credit card with permission. Many children have credit cards, as issuers generally don’t have minimum age requirements for authorized users. And it’s fairly common for a parent to send their child into a store or restaurant to pay for a purchase with their credit card. So merchants can’t be too suspicious. But context matters in this case, too. If a merchant has reason to believe a youth is using a credit card without permission, they might ask for ID.
You also have to remember that letting someone else use your credit card could wind up being pretty costly. Since you’re giving that person permission to make purchases, you’re on the hook for what they spend. But you should be fine as long as you choose whom to lend your card to wisely, establish firm ground rules and regularly monitor your account.
At the end of the day, it’s not illegal to use someone else’s credit card with permission. But doing so does violate card network rules. Anytime your credit card is out of your direct control, it is theoretically more susceptible to fraud. You don’t absolutely know how it’s being used. And the credit card company didn’t approve your friend or family member for an account. They approved you. Plus, if fraud ever crops up on your account, it will be more difficult to determine whether the charge was authorized.
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 as well as help them build credit.