We all know that you can transfer a balance from one credit card to another, but what about transferring credit card ownership to another person?
To answer that specific question: No, you can’t simply put a credit card that you applied for individually in someone else’s name like you would if you were selling your car. After all, the issuer approved YOU for the account based on YOUR credit history and disposable income. The card’s spending limit and terms are therefore tailored to your particular financial situation, and another party would have to submit their own application in order to see if they qualify for the same offer.
Balance Transfers: The Closest You’ll Get to Transferring Ownership
While you can’t just put your entire credit card account in someone else’s name, it is possible to give them your debt. Credit card companies offer the ability to transfer balances from one card to another, even if they’re not held by the same person, as long as both parties agree on the transaction.
As such, you can indeed shift your liability for the amount you owe on a credit card to someone else if that person is willing to do a balance transfer on either a new credit card or one of their existing credit cards, using your account number as the source of the transfer. You just can’t ensure that their card will offer the same terms as yours. However, if they have better credit standing than you, they might be able to garner superior terms and thereby lessen the burden imposed by the transferred debt in the process.
Joint Accounts & Authorized Users
The idea of transferring credit card ownership brings up another important point as well: how to handle a joint account or a card that has an authorized user if you no longer want the other party to have access to your finances.
Even the most promising relationships don’t always end up being permanent, after all, and figuring out how to handle shared credit card accounts can be almost as messy as determining who gets the dog (which is why it’s typically best not to share such things with a roommate, a boyfriend, or a girlfriend).
Nevertheless, if you do find yourself in the unfortunate situation of sharing a credit card with someone who is no longer in your life, it’s important to know what your options are. They include:
- Removing an Authorized User: Being an authorized user on a credit card account merely enables you to make purchases by tapping into the account’s credit line. In other words, control of the account (and liability for it) is under the account owner’s control. As the main accountholder, you can therefore choose to add or remove authorized users as you see fit.
- Canceling a Joint Account: If you have a joint credit card account with someone, either party can cancel the account as long as it is in good standing and there is no unpaid balance. You can typically do so over the phone or through your online account.
Now, things do get a bit trickier if your joint account has an unpaid balance.
Technically, both parties are responsible for the debt and it has to get paid one way or another. The credit card company isn’t going to care about your relationship problems. Interest will continue to accrue, and missed payments will be reflected on both parties’ credit reports. Who pays what is also typically something that you and the other involved party will have to figure out amongst yourselves because credit card companies aren’t even beholden to divorce agreements that dictate responsibility for various types of debt.
So, unless one person steps up to pay the entire bill or you can arrange to send separate checks for the full amount, making a pair of balance transfers is probably going to be your best bet. More specifically, you can each apply for a 0% balance transfer credit card in your own name and then transfer half the balance to each before closing the original account.
While this type of financial finagling isn’t likely to save your relationship, you’ll at least have credit card autonomy.