You already know that your on-time Wells Fargo credit card payments boost your credit score. But did you know that your payments could also help increase the credit score of a family member or friend with a lower score? Or that your payments could help your children build their own credit scores?
Itâs true. This can all happen if you add friends or family membersâ or anyone else â as authorized users to your Wells Fargo credit card account.
Just be careful: While adding authorized users can help others build or repair credit, it could leave you with some financial pain if your authorized users donât follow your spending rules.
What is an authorized user?
An authorized user is someone who has access to your credit card account. When you add an authorized user to your account, that person receives a credit card in the mail with its own unique number. But when they make purchases with this card, the charges go onto your account.
Youâd add an authorized user to your Wells Fargo credit card to help that user build or repair credit. Every time you make an on-time payment on your card, itâs reported to the three national credit bureaus of Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
These on-time payments steadily improve the credit score of both you and your authorized users.Â This is why parents might add their children to help them build a score or a friend or family member with a low score that needs a boost.
There is a risk here for you: Authorized users arenât responsible for paying off any of the charges they make. When they make a purchase, the primary account holder is responsible for paying it off. If you donât, that charge will carry over past your credit cardâs due date, triggering your cardâs interest rate. If your authorized users make a lot of charges and donât pay them off in full? You could face unexpectedly higher credit card bills each month.
Thatâs why itâs so important to come to an agreement with your authorized users, spelling out exactly how much they can charge each month and when they must pay you for their purchases. If they donât follow this agreement? You can remove them from your account.
Itâs not all risk when you add an authorized user, though. If you have a Wells Fargo-branded rewards card â such as the Wells Fargo Propel American ExpressÂ® card* or the Wells Fargo Cash Wise VisaÂ® card* â your authorized users will rack up rewards points and cash back bonuses when they use your card to make purchases, helping you earn rewards and cash back at a faster pace.
Authorized user eligibility requirements
You can add anyone as an authorized user to your Wells Fargo credit card account. This includes family members, of course, but can also include friends, employees or anyone else youâd like to add.
To add authorized users, you must provide their name, address, date of birth and Social Security number.
How to add an authorized user to your Wells Fargo account
You can easily add an authorized user to your account by first logging onto Wells Fargo Online Banking. After logging in, click on the “Account Services” tab and then click “Credit Card Service Center.” Next, click on the “Request credit card features” heading. You can then click the “Additional cardholders for your account” link, which will allow you to add authorized users.
Fee for adding an authorized user
There are no fees for adding an authorized user to your Wells Fargo credit card.
Managing authorized user access
You canât set limits on how much your authorized users spend each month. Thatâs why itâs important to only add authorized users whom you trust to follow whatever spending rules you set up with them.
Fortunately, itâs easy to remove authorized users from your Wells Fargo account if they are not following your limits.
Again, log into your Wells Fargo account. Click on âAccount Servicesâ and then on âCredit Card Service Center.â Next, choose the âRequest credit card featuresâ heading. You can then click âAdditional cardholders for your accountâ to remove any of the authorized users on your account. You can also call the 800-number on the back of your Wells Fargo credit card to remove users.
Pros and cons of adding an authorized user
There are both risks and rewards for adding an authorized user to your Wells Fargo card.
- Credit score boost: When you add authorized users, you can help them repair damaged credit. When you make an on-time payment on your Wells Fargo card, that payment is reported to the national credit bureaus, which will provide a boost to your credit score and the scores of any authorized users.
- Building credit scores: Some people donât have enough of a history to have a credit score. This often happens with young adults who havenât yet applied for their own credit cards or taken out any loans. You can help these consumers build their credit scores by adding them as authorized users. Theyâll get the benefits of positive credit history without having to qualify for a card themselves.
- A boost to your rewards: When authorized users make purchases with their Wells Fargo card, those charges go onto your account. This can help you earn rewards and cash back bonuses at a faster rate.
- Overspending: You are responsible for any charges made by your authorized users. If they refuse to pay you for their charges? Youâll have to make the payments â something that could bust your monthly budget.
- A higher credit-utilization ratio: Your credit utilization ratio â a measure of how much of your available credit you are using â can help or hurt your credit score. If that ratio is high, your score will take a dip. If authorized users run up your credit card balance and then donât pay you back for your charges? Your credit utilization ratio could rise, and your credit score could fall.
- You could hurt your authorized usersâ scores, too: If you make a payment 30 days or more past your due date, your credit score could fall by 100 points or more. And if you have authorized users on your account? Their scores will fall, too. Only add authorized users if youâre certain that youâll always make your credit card payments on time.
Should you add an authorized user to your Wells Fargo card?
Adding an authorized user to your Wells Fargo credit card could improve the credit of your spouse, children or friends. But donât ignore the risks. If authorized users run up charges on your account, youâre the one responsible for paying them off.
The key? Only add authorized users whom you trust. And be sure to reach an agreement on how much these authorized users can charge and when they must pay you back for their charges.
*Information about the Wells Fargo Propel and Cash Wise Visa has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Sometimes a credit card purchase that seemed like a great idea when you made it turns out to be a huge mistake.
While you may be able to return a product or cancel a service and get a refund, make sure you understand the refund process, or your credit could take a hit.
There are many reasons why you may want to return a purchase. You may have splurged on a new table only to find it is slightly too large for your space. Perhaps the necklace you bought online arrived with a broken clasp. Or maybe you just changed your mind and decided you didn’t want to spend $999 on an online course so you took the retailer up on its money-back guarantee.
Regardless of why you decide to return an item, “make sure you understand the return policy,” says Rod Griffin, senior director of consumer education and awareness for Experian.
The steps you take after you request a refund to your credit card could hurt your credit or protect it.
See related: What is a credit card chargeback, and how does it work?
How credit card refunds work
When you make a purchase with cash, the transaction involves two parties – you and the retailer. If you get a refund after making a cash purchase, the retailer can simply give you back the cash from the purchase.
However, when you make a purchase with a credit card, the credit card issuer is involved in the transaction as well. In fact, the credit card issuer extends the payment to the retailer with the understanding that you will pay the card issuer back when you pay your credit card bill. Since the card issuer serves as something of a middleman in the original transaction, the card issuer must serve as a middleman again when you are issued a refund.
That means if you ask for a refund, the retailer must refund the party that paid them, which is the credit card company. The credit card company would then issue the refund to you in the form of a credit on your credit card statement.
Unfortunately, there is no universal rule that determines how long it takes to get a refund. For one thing, retailer policies differ. One retailer may take 15 days to issue a refund while another may take 30 or 45.
“In many if not most states retailers are required to post their refund policies,” says Linda Sherry, director of national priorities for San Francisco-based advocacy organization Consumer Action.
However, “not all these laws require online merchants to do the same,” Sherry adds. Therefore, some merchants may not be obligated to tell you when you can expect a refund at all.
It may take even longer to get a refund if you have to return an item purchased online via mail. For example, according to Amazon’s refund policy, “it can take up to 25 days for an item to reach us once you return it.” It’s not until after the item is received that Amazon would process the refund.
Once the retailer issues the refund to the credit card company, it may take a couple more days for your card issuer to apply your credit.
See related: How do credit cards work?
Can a credit card refund affect your credit?
The way you handle a credit card refund can have implications for your credit score.
If you’re waiting for a refund, you may be tempted to hold onto your money rather than pay your credit card bill since you know the refund is coming. However that would be a mistake, says Griffin.
“If you’re waiting for a refund and you’re not sure if it’s going to be there before the payment is due, make at least the minimum payment,” he said. That way you avoid a late payment, which could not only hurt your credit score but leave you on the hook for a late fee.
Another mistake that could hurt your credit score is believing the refund counts as a credit card payment. Say you are carrying a balance on your credit card and the minimum credit card payment due is $25. Before you make your payment, you see that a refund of $30 is applied to your account for a product you returned.
You may believe you don’t have to pay your bill that month because the credit is for more than the minimum payment due. But that’s not necessarily the case. You could still be obligated to pay the bill because the refund does not count as a payment, Griffin says.
credit utilization ratio – the balance on your credit card in relation to the credit line – goes up. A higher credit utilization ratio can hurt your credit. On the other hand, once a refund is applied, the utilization ratio goes down, which can boost your score.
quickest ways to improve your score, since credit card balances typically get reported to credit bureaus on a monthly basis.
Refunds, negative balances and rewards
Say a refund comes late and you pay your credit card bill to avoid making a late payment. If you paid for part or all of the refunded item when you paid the credit card bill, you may end up with a negative balance on your credit card once the credit is applied.
That simply means your card issuer owes you money. They may either apply the credit the next time you buy something using the card or they may issue you a check if you request it. From a credit standpoint, a negative balance on your credit card won’t hurt you, Griffin says. Rather, the account would be reported to credit bureaus as having a zero balance.
While getting a refund for a purchase you no longer want can be a relief, there could be a downside. If you have a rewards card and you earned rewards on that purchase, those rewards are forfeited if you get a refund on the purchase, according to a Chase spokesman. That means the card issuer will take the rewards back, or if you have already cashed them in, you will have a negative value in your reward balance.
See related: When should I redeem my rewards?
If you’re confused in any way about an expected refund, it doesn’t hurt to give your card issuer a call to let them know you’re expecting a refund as soon as you request it from the retailer, Griffin says. That way you are less likely to run into any surprises, and you can ask directly what they expect from you.