Household Credit Cards

Written by Jared Vincenti
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While most credit card companies are international entities, the different states and countries that use their cards are all governed by different sets of laws. One example of the ways in which laws vary from state to state are laws pertaining to families and credit. While many states allow a married couple to apply for loans using the credit of whichever spouse has a better score. However, every state has its own specific policies.

To avoid the hassle of giving family credit cards in some states and not in others, most credit card companies issue household credit cards. One person applies for a credit card account, but gets multiple cards. These are given to the applicant's spouse, and any children over a certain age. Any member of the family may use the credit card, and one bill comes for all of their combined purchases.

Applying for a Household Card

When applying for a household card, choose whichever household member has the best credit score to apply--this will get you the best APR on your shared account. Then, check on the exact rules of each institution as to how household credit cards are issued. Some companies require applicants to be married to each other; others acknowledge gay and lesbian couples, as well as other unions that haven't been formalized as marriage.

When you get your household card, you should be sure that everyone knows the rules regarding use of the card--especially any teenagers on the account. Each card has the user's name on it, so you can know who is making which purchases, but it's easier to just set rules from the beginning. Usually, it's best to get a student credit card or a secured credit card for first-time cardholders, so that the user builds his own credit.

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