Advertiser Disclosure

Can I Use My Wife’s Credit Score to Get a Credit Card?

Dec. 6, 2013
Credit Cards
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

I’m in my mid-sixties and earning about $150,000 a year. I’ve had my own business since the early 1990’s and I have about $1.5 million in savings. I paid off my home 7 years ago and other than that I never borrowed money – always paid cash.

My wife takes care of all finances for my business and household. She spends a few hours a month doing this chore. I take care of all operations of my two corporations. I’ve never had a credit card in my name directly. She applied for an American Airlines AAdvantage MasterCard years ago with me having an employee card. We traveled a lot and used lots of miles. Currently, we have about 400,000 miles and really don’t need more travel miles. I’d like to get a card in my name that earns cash back.

It doesn’t seem quite right that she has no income and has a better credit rating than me. We will charge around $5,000-$10,000 every month. I’d like to have a card in my name that could handle these amounts. Is there any advice you could give me to accomplish this painlessly?

Hi P,

You can sign up for a card and have your wife co-sign for you, or have her apply and add you as an authorized user. That way, you can leverage her credit score to get your own card, but still build up your own credit history.

If you plan to use the card for business spending, I’d recommend the Ink Business Cash℠ Credit Card. It earns 5% cash back on office supplies and cable/telecom services up to $25,000 in purchases per year, 2% on gas and dining up to $25,000 in purchases per year, and 1% elsewhere. It also features a $0 annual fee, and a signup incentive: Earn $500 bonus cash back after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Otherwise, the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business has an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95 — but it earns a full 2% cash back on every $1 spent with no annual bonus caps.