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Debt liability as a second user on another person's credit card

Illinois residents who share credit card accounts may have questions about who is liable for the credit card debt. The answer may depend on how the credit card issuer determined credit worthiness, or how the various users applied for the credit card.

When a new user is authorized to use another person's credit card, that second person is generally not liable for the consumer debt charged on the card. This authorization can be as simple as a phone call by the primary user to the credit card company. The secondary user then gets their own card, with their own name on it and has free reign to use the card. The account even shows up on their credit report in some cases. However, because the credit card company did not base the extension of credit on the secondary user's credit history, they are not personally liable for the debt. This liability stays with the primary user.

If, however, the second user was a co-signer or joint account holder on the credit card account, they probably will be liable for the debt. This is because the credit card company used the secondary account holder's credit worthiness as part of the reason for issuing the card. If a secondary user is unsure of their status and liability for credit card debt, they can check their credit report or call the credit card company to see if the account is jointly held.

Credit card debt can be an overwhelming and heavy weight on a person's finances and personal well being. An attorney familiar with credit card debt cases may be able to help end creditor harassment, assist with delinquent payments or enable filing for bankruptcy. This may help ease the burden that debt can cause.

Source: Fox Business, "Is Daughter Liable for Shared Card Debt with Mom?", Erica Sandberg, August 08, 2013

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