Understanding your rights if you have a second card on your account
If you have two credit cards on the same account, make sure you know who's responsible for paying the bill

If you have a credit card account, you may be able to have a second card on the account for your husband, wife or partner. It's sometimes called a 'secondary' card. If you have a second account, it's the person who has the credit card account who's still responsible for paying the bill. Make sure you know how it works.

One account, two cards

If you have a credit card account and you want to add your partner to it, it’s relatively straightforward to do.

• You’ll normally either have to ring the credit card provider or download and fill in a form online.

• Having two cards on one account is useful because it means you can spend money on joint purchases (holidays, household items etc) and keep track of joint spending easily.

Who pays the bill?

• If you’re the principal card holder: you’re responsible for money that’s spent on the card by you and your partner. That means you're the person who originally signed the credit card agreement.

• If you’re the secondary card holder: you’re able to spend money on the card but you’re not responsible for paying the bills.

Consumer protection and secondary cardholders

Credit cards give you good consumer protection if you buy something costing between £100 and £30,000 under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. It's useful consumer protection (I've written an article that explains your rights under Section 75). If you are the secondary cardholder, you may be able to claim using this legislation.

Here are the golden rules:

• The person who has the account in their name must claim against the credit card company, if they want a refund under Section 75.

• They will be able to claim for purchases made by the second card holder, if the purchases were for both of them. Some cards may let them claim for purchases that were purely for the second card holder's use - but the Financial Ombudsman Service takes the view that you can only claim for purchases made for BOTH account holders, if they were made by the second card holder.

Credit checking
If you want to add a second card holder to your account, there shouldn't be any further credit checks.

• If you’ve got a bad credit record and you don't qualify for a credit card in your own right, your partner can add you as a secondary card holder and no checks will be made on your credit history.

• The flip side is that if you’ve got a good credit record and you want to give a card to your partner whose record is less than perfect, your credit details won’t be linked to theirs on the basis of a second card, because they won't have to sign a credit agreement.

Account problems if you split up
Having two cards from one account works well if you’re both quite responsible with money, but if one of you decides to go on a spending spree, there could be serious consequences.

• If you’re the principal account holder and your partner decides to max out the card, you’ll be the one left with the bill.

• If you’re the secondary card holder and your relationship breaks up, your partner can easily block your card (without telling you).

SAVVY TIP: Make sure you sort out the ground rules of your credit card account if you’re getting a second card – and preferably before the first bill arrives! Is it to be used for joint purchases only, such as holidays or things for your home, or are you happy if you both the account for your personal spending as well?

Related articles:

Are there advantages to keeping your money separate?

Credit card protection; understanding credit card rules

How joint debts can affect your credit rating

SavvyWoman email newsletters: If you found this information useful why not sign up now to receive free fortnightly email newsletters with money saving tips and help? You can sign up at the top of any page on the website and your details won’t be passed to any other company for marketing purposes.

21-09-2009
19-09-2014
2
 
 

 
 
Validate: What are HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest and Barclays?
 
Finish:

Posted by Kurst dated 2012-02-05 00:54:37
As a secondary card holder of an HSBC credit card I purchased a holiday stay at a hotel advertised by Fleetway Travel to have a gym and spa but upon arrival at the hotel the gym and spa had not been built causing me disappointment as gym exercise is important to me for health reasons. Fleetway Travel admits to misrepresentation of the hotel by advertisement causing me disappointment but won't provide a refund - can I claim under the CCA section 75 and/or chargeback for a refund on the credit card - any suggestions of what to do?
Posted by Sarah Pennells dated 2012-02-06 09:14:02
Hi Kurst,
Thanks for your question. First of all, have Fleetway Travel said why they can't give you a refund or part refund if they have admitted to misrepresentation? In terms of whether you can claim against the credit card company, first of all, it's the primary cardholder who has to make the claim, secondly, you may be able to claim under Section 75 if you could demonstrate misrepresentation but it would depend on how you booked the holiday. Sometimes, if there's a third party involved (such as a travel website), it can break the chain of cardholder (including secondary cardholders)-card company - supplier. Chargeback is useful if the purchase was for less than £100 but there are some tight time limits for making your claim. I'd suggest that the primary cardholder makes a claim. The credit card company may decide to use chargeback rather than Section 75 (or it may reject your claim). If you're turned down, consider complaining to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

 
The material provided on this website is general information that is intended for general guidance and is not suitable for professional advice.
You should always obtain independent financial advice.