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“Reader Questions” are answered twice a week — Mondays and Fridays — by TPG Senior Writer Julian Mark Kheel.

If you haven’t had many credit cards in your life and your credit report is a little thin, one way to improve it is by having others add you as an authorized user on their existing cards. But does that create issues in getting your own Chase cards down the line? That’s what TPG reader Nick asked us in a Facebook message…

Does having authorized user credit cards count against Chase’s 5/24 rule?

TPG Reader Nick

For those who don’t know about Chase’s dreaded 5/24 rule, it’s the bank’s attempt to cut down on serial credit card churners. Basically, if you’ve opened 5 or more credit card accounts in the past 24 months — not just at Chase, but at all banks combined — Chase will deny your applications for most of their cards.

Because of this rule, we often tell people who are just starting out with credit cards to focus mostly on Chase cards first, since it’ll be tough to get them after you’ve opened more than five accounts (though remember that’s within a two-year period).

But that brings us back to Nick’s question: If someone adds you as an authorized user to their card in order to enhance your credit report — or for any other reason — will Chase count those accounts against your limit of five?

The answer is yes… and no.

First, the “yes” part. When you apply for a Chase credit card, Chase’s computers will count all the credit card accounts on your credit report that have been opened in the last 24 months, and it doesn’t make exceptions for authorized user accounts. So if you have over five new accounts in that time period — including any authorized user cards — you’ll get denied for most Chase cards under the 5/24 rule.

credit cards keyboard
Chase’s computers count authorized user cards toward its 5/24 rule. Photo by DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images.

But if you’re under 5/24 with your own accounts and the authorized user accounts are the only reason you’re over 5/24, some Chase agents will reconsider your application if you call and request it. Keep in mind this is not guaranteed to work, but it certainly is worth a try as others have reported success in the past. Make sure you let the agent know that you have no financial responsibility for the authorized user accounts on your report.

There’s also another option, which is to try and delete any authorized user accounts from your report before applying for a Chase card. Some banks will do this and some won’t, and in all cases you’ll need to close the authorized user card before trying to get it deleted from your report. You can also attempt to dispute the account with the credit bureaus after closing the account, but it’s hit and miss and more time consuming than asking the issuer directly, so contacting the bank should be your first choice.

Of course, deleting the authorized user account will affect your credit score, so if the entire point of becoming an authorized user was to build credit, you might want to think twice about deleting it. On the other hand, people add authorized user cards for all sorts of other reasons, including getting lounge access, earning extra bonus points and even just giving someone access to their credit line. So as always, you’ll need to strike a balance between having a robust and healthy credit report, and sporting an unreasonable number of recent accounts.

In the end, the easiest way to handle 5/24 and authorized user cards is to keep them to a minimum, only adding the ones you absolutely need, because it’s always easier if you can get an automatic approval than worrying about having to turn around a denial. Thanks for the question, Nick, 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 info@thepointsguy.com.

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