Which Banks Issue Unique Credit Card Numbers to Authorized Users?
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"Reader Questions" are answered three days a week — Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.
Practically every major bank allows credit card holders to add authorized users to their account in order to provide separate cards to family members or acquaintances. But once in a while that can turn into a headache, as TPG reader Marc explained in an email...
[pullquote source="TPG Reader Marc"]We have 4 cards in the family from my own Chase Sapphire Preferred account, but unfortunately they all have the same number, which means if one card is lost or has a fraudulent charge they all need to be replaced. Do you know who offers multiple cards on one bill with different account numbers?[/pullquote]
It certainly is inconvenient to have to replace multiple authorized user cards when there's an issue with just one of them, and the problem is compounded if those other cardholders have any automatic bill payments set up for various regular monthly expenses on their cards. It'd be ideal to only have to reissue one card without having to change them all.
As Marc has discovered, Chase provides the identical account number on all authorized cards issued from a single personal credit card account, and most banks tend to do the same thing. But there are a few exceptions.
For one, American Express will issue a brand-new number for every authorized user card you request, regardless of whether there's an extra fee to add the additional cardholder. That means any Amex card, from the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express to the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, will have unique numbers for all authorized users. You can even create a separate online login for each user if you wish.
Barclaycard — which issues cards such as the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard and the JetBlue Plus Card — also provides distinct card numbers for each authorized user. The bank notes on its website that this feature makes it convenient to track purchases from each card on your monthly statement.
Capital One used to provide the same number on authorized user cards, but has changed its policy in recent years and now issues a different number for each cardholder. So if you add a user to your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, that person will get his or her own account number.
One important note: While there are few issuers that provide different account numbers for authorized users on personal credit cards, the situation is very different on business cards. In most cases, employee cards issued from a business credit card account come with their own separate numbers, even at banks that don't do the same for personal cards. So even though a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card will have the identical number across all cards from one account, additional cards issued from a single Ink Business Preferred Credit Card account will be different.
So if you're looking to save the family from future inconvenience, Marc, you might consider making them authorized users on one of your Amex, Barclaycard or Capital One accounts. Thanks for the question, and if you're a TPG reader who'd like us to answer a question of your own, tweet us at @thepointsguy, message us on Facebook or email us at email@example.com.