Do You Share Your Credit Card With Family And Friends?

by Mike Holman

Welcome to Money Smarts! If you're new here, please read the "About" page to find out more about this site. If you would like to receive updates by email then sign up here or you can subscribe to the RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

My wife got a marketing letter from TD Visa recently which has the headline

“Share the value and convenience of your TD Visa Account with family and friends…

No approval required”

The idea is that you can apply for extra credit cards which you can give to friends/family/neighbours/shifty guy at bus stop etc.  We got a bit of a laugh from the letter since the idea of getting a credit card for your friends seems a bit silly.   I can see maybe lending your card in an emergency but actually getting a card for them?

Obviously they are just trying to expand their business and getting their existing customers to use more products is a pretty good way to do this.  I did this for my wife (got her a second Visa card) but I feel at this point in time that she is fairly trustworthy.  :)

Other than for a spouse or child (maybe) I just can’t see ever, ever doing this – can you?

Be Sociable, Share!

Want to learn more about RESPs? Buy The Book:

Resp-Book

The RESP Book: The Simple Guide to Registered Education Savings Plans

Everything you need to know about RESPs.

See it on Amazon now

Welcome to Money Smarts! If you're new here, please read the "About" page to find out more about this site. If you would like to receive updates by email then sign up here or you can subscribe to the RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Emily

When I was a 17 & 18, my parents would leave me one of their own CCs when they’d go out of town – for emergencies. I think I had a food emergency or two :) My hubby’s parents both gave him and his sisters their own CCs with each of their names that were linked to his parents’ accounts when they each turned 14. It got ugly. Hubby has always been responsible with money and never used his but his sisters abused them badly. I think it’s a terrible idea because unless they are part of paying the bill and seeing how it all works with the interest and payments, it’s a step in the opposite direction from teaching financial responsibility.

Oh and no, I would never get a credit card for a friend. :)

2 Four Pillars

Emily – the kids got cards at 14? That sounds a bit nuts to me.

3 ObliviousInvestor

Goodness, giving a friend a copy of our credit card? Forget it.

As to giving your card to your kids though, my siblings and I each got a copy of our parents’ credit card before we could drive (ie, prior to age 16). It came with a rather lengthy discussion–that I remember to this day–about precisely how it was and wasn’t supposed to be used.

None of the three of us ever carried any balance on our credit cards once we ended up with our own. I’m pretty sure it has at least something to do with receiving an explicit lesson on how to use them.

4 Philippa

A cc for a friend? I wouldn’t even get one for our children!

5 Tom

No credit card to my friends or family, even my spouse. Not that i don’t trust them (well maybe a few) but if they have such good credit they should be able to get their own card and have their own credit at risk.

Besides, when they have their own card it will help build thier credit rating provided they are responsible with it. Before i got my wife a card under my name. Later we found out she had no credit rating; which is worse than having bad credit. So she applied for one on her own and got it. This way she can establish her own credit rating so she can go get loans, mortgages etc… on her own.

6 Jordan

It’s a stupid idea and it’s really just a marketing tactic the credit card companies use to take advantage of the kind, ignorant and vulnerable. There are so many bad situations this could create. People will give a card to someone they think they can trust, and destroy a friendship or bond. They will either be taken advantage of on purpose by someone who feels they’ve just been given the keys to the cookie jar, or by someone naive like a child who doesn’t understand money. Suggesting that it’s so easy to give a family member or friend direct access to your finances (and also your credit score) also promotes poor money values.

If someone can’t get their own credit card there is probably a good reason.

7 tom

We need to consider this as business and even if you share your cards with others, there needs to be some rules and restrictions in place.

Not only do you have to watch how you spend on it, but now you have the task of watching someone else, if not babysitting them to make sure they don’t abuse the card.

I say you need to cut the umbilical cord early on and make them work to improve their credit or whatever it is that they have an issue with.

Another point to consider is knowing the habits of the person, if they have good money habits, you can considering helping them but put a contract with restrictions in case something goes wrong.

8 guinness416

It sounds daft, but I know some immigrants who do help newly-landed friends and more distant family out in this way, people who haven’t got credit ratings yet. I wouldn’t (I’m cold hearted like that) but it’s the sort of thing my husband and his friends would do for sure.

As for the kids talk above, I got my first credit card when I was 22-ish and well out of college. It was an additional card on my now-husband’s account now that I think about it. My parents would have laughed their asses off and told me to get another job at the idea of giving me one, and the banks in Ireland didn’t trust students. I ‘ve turned out okay.

9 Julie

My sister has a Visa card in her name on my account. I set it up when I went traveling a couple of years ago so that she could pay for some of my expenses (mainly vet and food for my cat). We’ve kept the card active and I’ve found that it comes in handy and saves us having to figure out how much I owe her. She is absolutely trustworthy so that helps obviously!!

10 Charles in Vancouver

My Dad gave me a secondary VISA in his name and my Mom gave one to my sister, when we were each teens. The card showed up on my online banking so I could see the charges. Dad and I had an understanding that the card was only to be used for medical expenses, emergencies, or anything else that they specifically asked me to put on the card. Also, I’m not much of a clothing shopper and they never knew what to buy me, so I was allowed to buy some clothes on it within reason.

Of course, it was understood that if I used the VISA for anything unapproved, without a good explanation or a payback, then I would no longer get to keep the card. It all worked out pretty well.

At age 19 when I had my first significant job, I was able to get my own CC; but at 27 I still have a card on Dad’s account too, for those occasions when they want to pay for an expense (e.g. flights home, or taking relatives out for a fancy meal).

11 Jerry Hung

Sorry, my CC stays with me, and my brother only, regardless of how much rewards I am getting

Well, maybe one would convince the boyfriend/girlfriend as well, but I wouldn’t do it as it may get ugly

12 MoneyEnergy

The credit card still may not be safe in my own hands, let alone a friends’!:)

I can see where it might apply, though, in the case of immigrants coming in and trying to help out family or very close friends. But in general I think lending the card to a friend is a bad idea. A certain family member or spouse, maybe. That said I have had a credit line under my parent’s name, but I never needed to draw on it.

13 ME

I have been thinking about doing this.

We have a nanny and it would be easier to give her a CC instead of having cash handy. This would help her develop a credit history in Canada. I wouldn’t be too worried cause I would have a pretty low limit on it… and besides, I am the one who writes a cheque for her each month to pay her.

besides…. I trust her in our house, with our kids

14 kate

I can’t believe this is for real! If lending cash to friend can make things more complicated, can you imagine what sharing a credit card would be like? I actually had a friend whose ex-boyfriend convinced her to add him as a user on a store credit card in her name. After buying furniture, a flat screen tv, and who knows what else on her card, he skipped town… leaving her with $5,000 in debt! That small decision had an enormous negative impact on her life for over a year. It’s a true example of the power of small in action. Never underestimate the little things!

15 LOR

Think twice about being a secondary card holder.
I was given one to help purchase goods for a business partner/ He was the primary card holder.
Im now being sued for the entire amount of the credit card even though I didn’t sign anything and used a fraction of the amount.
– barkrupt in Canada

Leave a Comment

Current day month ye@r *

Previous post:

Next post: