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What's the difference between an authorized user and an employee card?

April 18, 2021
3 min read
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.


Whether you're a parent looking to help pay for your children's living expenses or a business owner trying to streamline your company's spending patterns, you may want to add an additional user to your credit card account. TPG reader Kevin wants to know what the difference is between an authorized user and an employee card...

[pullquote source="TPG READER KEVIN"]I'm trying to add additional cardholders on my small-business credit card and it says "request employee cards." Is that the same as adding an authorized user?[/pullquote]

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Kevin's right -- while the terminology is different between business and personal credit cards, there isn't a huge difference between adding an authorized user on your personal credit card account or an employee card on your business account. In both cases, you'll ultimately be responsible for any charges made on the card, so make sure you only give it to someone you trust. Also, consider putting a spending limit on the card if your issuer allows you to do so.

Beyond that, the only real differences are what you'd normally find between personal and business credit cards. Most business cards (including employee cards) don't report to your personal credit report, so these cards won't affect your credit score. Meanwhile, adding a friend or family member as an authorized user on your personal credit cards is one of the fastest ways to help them boost their credit score. Additionally, most business cards include expense-management tools that can help you better manage your employees' spending on their cards.

Related: Credit cards with the greatest value for authorized users

Bottom line

At the end of the day, there isn't much of a difference between employee cards and authorized user cards. If you have a personal credit card, you'll add authorized users, and if you have a business card you'll add additional employee cards. Just make sure to do so thoughtfully, as you, the primary account holder, will be on the hook for all charges made.

Thanks for the question, Kevin, 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.

Additional reporting by Stella Shon

Featured photo by Hero Images/Getty Images

Featured image by Getty Images/Hero Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases