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Piggybacking Credit | The strategy of being added as an authorized user to someone else’s credit card to improve your score

Does piggybacking still work?  

Piggybacking credit is still an effective technique to raise your credit score quicklyThe fastest way to raise your credit score is by becoming an authorized user under somebody else’s account.

There are some pros and cons and some misconceptions about doing this so let us get them out of the way first.

This method is called piggybacking.

The idea is for you to become an authorized user under somebody else’s account.

This could be virtually anyone.

It could be your parents, it can be your sister, it could be a boyfriend, or girlfriend, an acquaintance, your brother, coworker maybe even one of your kids.

The ideal candidate would have a long credit history and a very good credit score a good credit.

The account you being added to should also have a high credit limit with a low balance. For optimal results you want your debt to credit ratio to be somewhere around 10%.

So if the person that you are piggybacking off of has an account with the credit limit of $10,000 and they are utilizing $1,000 (meaning they have a balance of $1000 on it), that would be 10% and that would be an ideal card to be added to.

Again ideally, the person that you are getting added as an authorized user should have as good of a credit score as possible.

If there anywhere in the 732 the 800 range that is optimal.

So now what happens is when they add you as an authorized user you will get a credit card with your name on but is under their account.

One of the downsides for the person that is letting you piggyback is that they’re actually legally liable to pay off any debt that you accrue on this card.

But the idea here is for you to not actually use the card. Let them hold onto the car just so you can’t be tempted to use it! 😊

This method works because you to get the extra utilization by having more credit available to you.

You are some common questions that we often hear about the piggybacking strategy:

If I let somebody piggyback on me will my credit be affected? 

Letting someone piggyback off of your credit will not hurt your scoreOne of the biggest questions that we hear is that if I was the person who was the one that was letting somebody become an authorized user on my account will their poor credit history affect mine?

The answer to this is no.

It’s perfectly okay for you to help somebody by adding them to one or more of your credit cards as an authorized user without any of ill effects on your credit rating.

This is of course assuming that when the new card comes you don’t give it to them and let them charge on the card and potentially run the card up.

We’ve heard stories where parents have given their child a card that they made an authorized user on, thinking in good faith that they would not use the card, but the child actually runs up the card and destroys the debt to the amount of credit available ratio.

That scenario would affect your score in a negative fashion.

So if you are the one that needs help and you want to piggyback off of say family member or friend, make sure that you enlighten them with the fact that their helping you will not hurt them in any way shape, or form whatsoever.

This will make it a little easier to convince somebody to have them add you to the credit card as an authorized user.

How to add authorized user 

This is relatively very easy. There are two ways to do this.

1. The quickest and easiest way for you to add somebody as an authorized user is to call your creditor and tell them over the phone you would like to add somebody as an authorized user.

You can also request them to expedite your request by sending out a card as soon as possible.

This will ensure that you will get added and get your card in the quickest fashion possible.

2. The second way is still extremely easy. Simply access your account online and look for a tab that says “add authorized users.”

In most cases when doing this online they will just want some general information about the person.

But in some cases, they will need additional information like their address and Social Security number.

How long does it take for an authorized user to show on my credit report?

Image of a calendar depicting the length of time which is usually around 30 days of how long it takes for an authorized user to show up on your credit reportThe short answer is that it usually takes about one month (30 days) on average for the new account to show up on your credit report.

Assuming that the person that is adding you as an authorized user called their creditor on the phone and expedited the process of sending the cards out to you, and assuming that the average amount of time for a credit card company to report a new user takes anywhere from 30 to 60 days, it typically takes up to two months for to show up on your credit report.

There are rare exceptions, however.

Let’s say a creditor typically reports updates to the major credit bureaus around the 15th of every month, and you were added via phone an authorized user around the fifth of the month, it could be reported in as little as two weeks on your credit report.

But it can take anywhere from two weeks to 60 days.

How much can expect my score to go up when piggybacking?

This depends on 4 main variables

How much can your credit score go up if you are piggybacking as an authorized user off of someone else's credit.

1. It depends on what the credit limit is on the card of the person who has added you as an authorized user.

Of course the higher the credit limit, and low usage of the credit limit (debt), the more impact it will have on your score.

2. How much of the credit limit is being used.

Ideally, you would like to get a credit limit of at least $10,000 while keeping the utilization of less than 10%. Which means they would have a $1000 balance are lower.

3. What the current credit score is of the person is that is letting you piggyback.

Of course the longer the history and higher the score they have, the more of that “juice” and authority will flow down and be figured into the algorithm when the FICO model figures out your score.

4. It depends on your current state of credit and the number of negative items that are appearing on your reports, as well as the severity of the negative items.

So what all of the above being said, assuming that the scenario is similar to above, you can expect to see an increase anywhere from 50 points up to even maybe 100 points.

Tip on how to effectively use the piggybacking strategy to help you to raise your score quicklyA good goal would be:

To try to get around $30,000 of instant piggyback available credit added to your profile, by being added to three or four cards, with the total debt on all those cards under $3,000.

We have seen jumps in credit scores of up to 200 points in some cases within a small amount of time in this scenario.

Again remember there are variables to consider at this is not an exact science.

Your results may vary.

We just like to keep it real with expectation levels.

We understand the goal.

You want to raise your score you want to raise it quickly.

So before you move on and before we forget, here are some more of our very constructive resources free to check out.

Find 13 more really clever actionable tips on how to raise your credit score fast.

And here is a cool roadmap on how to get a how to get an 800 score as quickly as possible!

Do you have some bad credit and negative items appearing on your reports?

If so, consider using one of our recommended partners, Sky Blue to help get negative items removed while you are in the process of piggybacking!


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Is piggybacking still an effective strategy to improve my score?

The short answer is yes.

However, due to the learning algorithms that FICO uses, it is not as effective as a strategy that it used to be.

Thanks to the subprime mortgage crisis around 2007, FICO actually started to look at piggybacking and authorized users a little bit differently.

They decided to give a little bit less weight to the authorized user than before.

They didn’t think that it was a fair true assessment of your creditworthiness if you are able to use other people’s credit histories and profiles to improve your own.

Which makes sense.

The other downside is that most banks and creditors are privy to the strategy of piggybacking.

They can scan a credit report and see what is yours and what you’ve earned and what you are utilizing on a piggyback level.

They can say “hey, you never actually had a real credit card that you have paid off in a responsible manner, you are just an authorized user”.

So even though the method of piggybacking actually score, sometimes it does not help you with certain creditors to get the loans, credit cards or credit lines that you might be needing.

So yes some creditors are getting a lot smarter and giving less weight to the piggybacking method.

The good news is that a lot of creditors still just look at that FICO score and don’t take that deep into your history.

So yes piggybacking is still an effective method to raise your score quickly even in the 2020s.

Closing Thoughts

Piggybacking as an authorized user can absolutely help you raise your score and improve your overall creditworthiness very quickly,

If you have moderate to really bad credit and have been having difficulties with getting approved for any type of loans are cards, you can open up a secure line of credit or credit card to help your efforts.

Make sure to utilize some of these effective strategies on how how to raise your credit score fast in conjunction with piggybacking.

Lastly, to expedite your overall credit picture, have one of our hand-picked trusted credit repair companies to help you to improve your score even quicker.

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