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

Apr 18, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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…

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?


Want more credit card news and advice from TPG? Sign up for our daily newsletter!

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

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
Regular APR
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.