One of the more practical benefits of marriage is you and your spouse combine things; you’re no longer operating two sets of households with the requisite expenses. Another area you can combine and save time and money is with your finances. Maybe you’ve done that already, but what about your credit cards?

You probably both have your own credit cards from before you said “I do,” but getting a joint credit card might be worth considering if you and your spouse share the same money mindset and approach to finances.

What to consider before getting a joint credit card account

Those who are on the same page with their finances and communicate regularly about spending are prime candidates for joint credit cards because of the convenience they offer. By having one joint account for their purchases, couples will lower the risk of late or missed payments. They will also accumulate rewards faster, making it easier to meet any sign-up rewards spending requirements.

A joint credit card can be excellent if one spouse was previously financially irresponsible to some degree or had no credit. The ability to piggyback on their spouse’s existing credit to get the card will be an asset to them. As an added bonus, they will have the built-in accountability of their spouse to ensure the minimum payments are sent in on time. Over the first year of use, their credit score should rise. This change in score will come in helpful when they want to do something needing a credit check, like renting a new apartment, taking out a mortgage or switching auto insurance providers.

Not all couples combine their finances, and for many reasons. A common one is one partner is irresponsible with money. If you find yourself in this situation, a joint credit card is probably not the best idea for you. You have worked hard to build up an excellent credit score, but a single missed payment on an otherwise great credit history can cause a significant drop in your credit score. Another negative aspect of having a joint credit card is in the event of divorce or death, both parties are responsible for the debt, regardless of who actually accumulated it.

Best joint credit cards for married couples

These days, there are not many options for getting a true joint credit card. Here are two of the best credit cards for married couples to offer nice benefits:

  • Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card currently offers a sign-up bonus of $200 after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days. Choose from one of six categories to net your 3% cash back, plus 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (for the first $2,500 in combined purchases) and 1% on all other purchases. There’s a 0% intro APR for the first 15 billing cycles on purchases (ongoing APR 13.99% to 23.99% variable) and no annual fee.
  • Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 15 months (ongoing APR 15.49% to 25.49%). This card makes it a great choice for those who have a large purchase they can pay off before the APR increases. All purchases are eligible for 1.5% cash back. There’s a bonus opportunity of $150 after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months and no annual fee.

Most banks do not offer joint credit cards anymore, so adding your spouse as an authorized user is a way to share a credit card with them. The main difference is it will not help or hinder, the authorized user’s credit. Both of you will find all purchases on the same statement at the end of your fiscal month, and if necessary, you can remove them from the card whenever you’d like. In an untimely circumstance, the authorized user will not be legally liable for purchases on the card.

How to get a joint credit card

Now that you’ve decided to get a joint credit card and picked the one you want, it’s time to apply. The application is nearly identical to what you would do if you were applying for your own personal card.

Make sure you have all of the information you need for the application handy. When applying online, sometimes the websites of financial institutions will time out. You don’t want to get halfway finished only to have it all vanish because you took too long looking for your employer’s address.

Generally, you need the following information for each person when you apply for a joint credit card with your spouse:

  • Full names.
  • Date of birth.
  • Address and phone number.
  • Employer name, address and phone number.
  • Annual income.

Online credit card applications generally only allow one applicant. After approval, you can call them to add the other partner as a co-applicant. Following the credit check, the other person will be added to the card.

Once you do get your new credit cards, be mindful about closing your old ones. Too many credit cards harm your credit, but so does closing out your oldest one. Consider keeping that one open and using it once a year to keep it active, and your score high.

How joint credit cards affect credit scores

Applying for a new credit card may affect your credit score because the issuer should check your credit reports using a hard inquiry, and if you have multiple hard inquiries in a year, your score may drop. It’s best to only apply for the card you really want and are quite sure you will qualify for. If neither of you has good credit, try applying for a credit card to rebuild your credit.

Once approved for a joint account, your available credit limit will be larger than before. If you suddenly use up a large portion of your limit by maxing out a card to finance a home renovation, your credit score could drop. However, as long as you are not spending up to the limit each month and paying off your balance, your credit score should remain stable.

Conclusion

While getting married won’t change your credit score, having joint financial accounts like credit cards or mortgages will make an impact. Responsible use of the account will yield positive credit score results for both of you. Likewise, even one slip up will cause both of your scores to drop.

Those who have vastly different money habits might be better off adding each other as an authorized user on one person’s card if they want to keep their finances together but streamlined. Otherwise, keeping separate credit card accounts might be a better choice until both partners feel comfortable having a joint account.

Information regarding the Bank of America Cash Rewards and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card was prepared by NextAdvisor.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the writer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented on this page is accurate as of the date of the post.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.